August 4th, 2002

Radio around the network

A while back marypcb and I acquired a Psion Wavefinder digital radio. Designed to work with Digital Audio Broadcasting transmissions, the Wavefinder plugs into the USB port of a PC, and uses a software decoder to play the digital radio signals. It's a neat solution, but is let down by two things: Psion's software and no Windows XP support.

I'd just about managed to get it working on my main XP box, when in a fit of insanity, I decided to move it to a different USB port. At which point it stopped working. Completely. It even wouldn't load the drivers from the CD-ROM... So I decided to move it to the main home Windows 2000 server and use it as a central source for all the house PCs. I could do this thanks to the development work of the Wavefinder community, which, frustrated by lack of support from Psion, has developed its own decoder applications.

Two of these third-party tools, WinDAB and DABbar, can be used to stream audio across a local network. Acting as Shoutcast servers, and with web pages that tune the radio, you can use these tools to share radio signals between PCs on a local network. So with an appropriate player (like iTunes, MusicMatch JUkebox or WinAmp), and a web browser, we can now listen to digital radio anywhere in the house.

After a bit of experimentation I've ended up using WinDAB as my radio server. Not only does it allow PCs to listen to different stations within the same DAB multiplex, it also allows you to control recording from the web interface... Now to find the best skin for WinAmp...
  • Current Music
    BBC Radio 4 - BBC National DAB