Author Topic: I hate to say it, but ...  (Read 8048 times)

Alan E Hill

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I hate to say it, but ...
« on: 05:51:34 | 20 March, 2015 »
There are certain aspects of modern life I don't like.

Okay. There's a lot.

However, one of the things I most regret is the facility to listen to music together.

Many years ago, my interest in hi fi was awakened. I don't necessarily mean listening to hyper-expensive, esoteric machines running on panda blood and ground unicorn horn, but competent equipment and components which reproduce music - and speech -  in a manner pleasing to the ear.

In the sixties I was a shipwright apprentice in a naval dockyard in the SW of England. However, Plymouth wasn't a backwater when it came to music, not that anyone significant on the Plymouth scene ever emerged, but it had an important concert scene, thanks mainly to the Van Dike Organisation and, world-class, Pete Russell's Hot Record Store, significant enough to be mentioned in Charlie Gillett's influential book, "The Sound of the City".

Tuesday was always a good day. It was traditionally the day new records were released. So most Tuesdays, when I wasn't at evening class, involved catching the number 7 bus homewards through the centre of the 'Muff, stopping off at Pete's, checking the new releases and heading off home on the number 5.

The ritual was then to get around a mate's place, put the Dansette on repeat and play our new records then discuss how great/bad it was.

One of my friends was a bit different. He had a Thoren's turntable, Sugden pre-amp/amp and speakers which he'd made himself, maybe based on BBC LS3/5s (that's when the Beeb was a truly important technical innovator) or something like that. Anyway it sounded incredible.

But the real point was, we sat around, listened to King Crimson, Chicken Shack, Muddy Waters even, then shared the experience, then went to the pub.

Today, music is not such a social experience. Highly compressed audio files are squirted down people's phones and crammed through PoundStore/DollarStore earbuds so that you can zone out, or, in other words, totally ignore any other manifestation of humanity on your totally awful commute to your totally awful job.

My own daughters and son only ever listen to music in this manner. They sit there with their respective boy/girlfriends headphones on, occasionally leering at each other, but lost in their own specially curated, just for them, world, where they'll never listen to anything that either sounds good or make them say, "WTF was that?!!!"

Which brings me to the main point of my theme.

Maybe internet radio devices were only a side branch on the tree of life. Maybe just having the kitchen radio "tuned" to the BBC or NPR so that everyone shared in the morning news, had to listen to someone else's crappy music, but had the chance to say, "That was good. What is it?" or, "I remember when there used to be real music. We'd buy a record,  go 'round a mate's house ... ".

This BBC fiasco, important for me as a British ex-pat, has meant my collection of internet radios have been converted to museum pieces. A curious relic of better days, like that old Dansette.

For sure, my android phone and tablet will shortly be able to deal with whatever codec the BBC deigns is the future of broadcasting. It will play podcasts and, hopefully, Listen Again, through my pillow speaker or squirty earbuds, but it's departing further from when we all sat down and listened to the chart countdown, or the Proms, or Sputnik circling the Earth, or anything else for that matter. It will also wake me up in the morning too.

The point of this diatribe is this; where do we go from here?

The BBC situation is, I believe, the beginning of the end. Or possibly the end of the beginning.

Radio is moving from the days when, "nation shall speak peace unto nation" and just another commodity curated and delivered in http chunks just for you - and no-one else.

So. What is the future of internet audio?
Alan | That British Bloke Listening in Navarumsunk, NJ, USA, where all the women are strong, all the men good-looking, and all the children above average
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#6

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Re: I hate to say it, but ...
« Reply #1 on: 06:45:12 | 20 March, 2015 »
I share your view on music listening experiences.
What worries me about the future of internet radio (or any other internet experience/transaction) is that the foundation on which this is all built can be rendered useless either by accident, disaster or the actions of one or more governments.
Imagine a world without the internet for even just a few days. This could happen and would only need to be for a short while. Never mind internet radio, most people's supply of money and the basics of life, would cease to be, readily and legally, available.
The most basic human instincts would kick in. Forget terrorists, forget nuclear war, our total commitment to an internet based world could be our undoing.

And before you ask, NO, I do not walk around with an 'End of the World' sandwich board around me.  :) :)
I thought that I was wrong once, but I may have been mistaken :-)

shuttleman58

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Re: I hate to say it, but ...
« Reply #2 on: 08:58:56 | 20 March, 2015 »
Well said #6.

I have been an internet user since before it was called the internet (something about working for NASA and military contractors but we'll leave that for another time). It's been the technological innovation of the age. Remarkable in how it connects half the planet now. Like the giant oak though, if it falls, the landing will be umm, messy. That's a techy term.

More to Alan's point, our sense of community depends on shared experiences. The internet enhances some of those but definitely detracts from others. I grew up in the 60's and 70's and am definitely a child of the rock era. At home though, I was exposed to my father's love for classical music and opera. He had a console stereo he had built resistor by resistor and even built the cabinet to put it in. That music was a shared experience. When I was younger I could name a piece of well known classical music if you simply put the needle in the middle of the record and gave me 20 seconds. And it wasn't the music of my generation.

Big Bad Corp or not, I will go on using my internet radios as long as they are useful (which will be years not days!). I just won't be listening to the Beeb. Tragic that but so be it.
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Solo2

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Re: I hate to say it, but ...
« Reply #3 on: 09:33:37 | 20 March, 2015 »
While I don't share the thinking that equates the usefulness of internet radio with the ability to listen to the BBC, I can empathize with British ex-pats who do. Still, I think that the BBC fiasco is a single instance of disconnected technocrats who decided to look to the future by shoving their heads up their asses. I am hopeful that others won't repeat their experience.
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Keenite

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Re: I hate to say it, but ...
« Reply #4 on: 05:16:24 | 23 March, 2015 »
It is not a coincidence that most of us on this forum are ex-pats. Despite our many years abroad, for us, the introduction of stand-alone internet radios with acceptable audio quality was an innovation of enormous proportions. While much of the crap I can now receive from my home country is indeed just that, the idea that I can listen to live shows from my old stomping grounds still gives me much pleasure. Gone are the days of rigging up antennas in the attic, roof, hanging out windows etc, just to be able to improve a radio or TV signal coming from less than 100 miles away. I have DXing in my blood and will continue to 'fiddle' with all my radios until the day I kick the bucket. I have maintained some of that childish fascination with radio that I first felt when listening to an AM station on a crystal receiver attached to a water pipe via bakelite headphones.
In the long run I'm more worried about how access to stations may be limited by way of geoblocking or through the introduction of technologies that will prohibit access for whatever reasons. On the other hand, we should be grateful that we were able to be part of this transition from tube radios to HD quality internet radio - it's been a pretty exciting ride.
No matter how things turn out here -  Alan - I'd like to thank you personally for the effort you've put into this site and the information and fun we've been able to share - heaven knows there isn't much of that left for us aging white folk nowadays...

Alan E Hill

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Re: I hate to say it, but ...
« Reply #5 on: 06:33:44 | 23 March, 2015 »
Just wanted you to know. I have been assimulateded.

Alan | That British Bloke Listening in Navarumsunk, NJ, USA, where all the women are strong, all the men good-looking, and all the children above average
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Alan E Hill

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Re: I hate to say it, but ...
« Reply #6 on: 06:58:11 | 23 March, 2015 »
While I don't share the thinking that equates the usefulness of internet radio with the ability to listen to the BBC, I can empathize with British ex-pats who do.

I like living here. But it's nice to have some sort of contact with the Motherland.

I dare say there are 'Mer'kins who by some misfortune are condemned to live in Yuurp and would be devastated if they could no longer get their Nascar or Bubba The Sponge fix in living, un-geoblocked stereo on their internet radio device.

So it is with we Limeys.

I think most UK expats here on this forum see the BBC issue as a symptom of the dismantling of stuff which was important to us. Such as the NHS, education, welfare state, etc. In fact all that pinko, gay, death panel, namby-pamby state, Big Brother, social democratic stuff which somehow got us through the best years of our lives.

To me, it seems that Aunty is being lined up for dissection into handy byte size chunks for sale to the highest bidder.

Anyway. I'm just starting experimenting with cutting cable from Mrs Bloke's and my life. A simple membrane antenna/arial in the loft/attic is bringing us in nearly 40 digital/HD channels as HD as our current cable. Straight from the Empire State Building!

Just waiting for a couple more channels to go internet and we're off. Bye-bye Comcast Cable! At least, insofar as we can't get any other internet provider here other than Comcast - NJ state regulations demand we suffer a monopoly/cartel when it comes to provision here.

But still, who cares when we're living in our micro-home in the woods?
Alan | That British Bloke Listening in Navarumsunk, NJ, USA, where all the women are strong, all the men good-looking, and all the children above average
Listening to LiquidLounge
Sangean WFR-20 / RCR-8 | Grace IR2600 | Alexa
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Keenite

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Re: I hate to say it, but ...
« Reply #7 on: 07:18:21 | 23 March, 2015 »
Which channels are must-have for you? Most can be easily hacked via Kodi (ex XBMC) or similar.

Alan E Hill

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Re: I hate to say it, but ...
« Reply #8 on: 07:35:25 | 23 March, 2015 »
HBO, Showtime, BBCAmerica, Comedy Central, FX, AMC.

That would keep us going for a while.
Alan | That British Bloke Listening in Navarumsunk, NJ, USA, where all the women are strong, all the men good-looking, and all the children above average
Listening to LiquidLounge
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Solo2

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Re: I hate to say it, but ...
« Reply #9 on: 07:58:33 | 23 March, 2015 »
Just wanted you to know. I have been assimulateded.

It's nice that you find life here in the colonies suitable and good luck with the Mohu thingy.   No disrespect but, I don't think you're ever truly going to pass as a liberty-loving son of your adopted country. Thanks for paying us your taxes, though.

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Keenite

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Re: I hate to say it, but ...
« Reply #10 on: 08:47:07 | 23 March, 2015 »
HBO, Showtime, BBCAmerica, Comedy Central, FX, AMC.

That would keep us going for a while.

I assume you know about "HBO Go"? You can share an account with a full cable subscriber and watch most stuff on-demand on a Roku or similar. I'm sure lots of folks are now sharing accounts that way.
Do you need BBCAmerica if you have the various UK iPlayers and live streams using unblock-us?
Sling TV offers some form of AMC - do you already have a Roku, Fire, Apple TV or similar?
If you happen to have a Samsung smart TV you can change the country for apps to the UK and use their BBC/ITV/Channel4/BBC Sports apps (requires unblock-us). You can also run Plex and stream all sorts of content from your PC.
This setup is handy as it does not require an extra remote.
« Last Edit: 08:52:08 | 23 March, 2015 by Keenite »

shuttleman58

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Re: I hate to say it, but ...
« Reply #11 on: 14:45:08 | 23 March, 2015 »
HBO, Showtime, BBCAmerica, Comedy Central, FX, AMC.

That would keep us going for a while.

I have a Roku box and HBOGo but am now testing WowTV http://www.wowtv-live.com/ Modest cost and who knows long it survives but nice nontheless.
- Rob the Shuttleman
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Keenite

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Re: I hate to say it, but ...
« Reply #12 on: 07:01:21 | 24 March, 2015 »
HBO, Showtime, BBCAmerica, Comedy Central, FX, AMC.

That would keep us going for a while.

I have a Roku box and HBOGo but am now testing WowTV http://www.wowtv-live.com/ Modest cost and who knows long it survives but nice nontheless.

WowTV looks interesting, too bad they don't offer a free trial period.

Alan E Hill

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Re: I hate to say it, but ...
« Reply #13 on: 08:22:53 | 24 March, 2015 »
Currently we can log in to HBOGo using our ©ƍɱɔą5Ŧ account, but will be happy enough to independently subscribe when we can.

It's not the money. We don't want it free. We just want to be very selective and to get a quality service.

Just like the BBC for that matter, but they don't yet offer the option to pay.

The problem is, it's not the technology that's the issue, it's the whole rights', legal gobbledegook stuff. Regionalisation? Freedom of choice of supplier? Delivery? Access? It's freedom isn't it? It's what capitalism is all about (yeah! right!). That's what it's  all about. Isn't it?

Okay. I know the answer.

Bend your knee, doff your cap, tug your forelock, bow, curtsy, to Sky, Comcast, Dish, Direct, whoever, etc.

They're the ones who know what's best for us.



Alan | That British Bloke Listening in Navarumsunk, NJ, USA, where all the women are strong, all the men good-looking, and all the children above average
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Keenite

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Re: I hate to say it, but ...
« Reply #14 on: 11:05:20 | 24 March, 2015 »
So you're stuck with Comcast no matter what? Still, as long as you have a good fast internet connection, everything else can be taken care of. I may be wrong, but I don't think watching UK-based BBC channels in the US contravenes any American law. However, hacking BBCAmerica may incur legal wrath, as US copyright laws may apply for that channel.
Right now you can download the FilmOn app to a Roku and watch all main UK live TV channels. Roku is a stickler for immediately removing any channels that are in contravention of US law, so I'm assuming that the current legal situation is such that no real risk is involved with watching UK channels in the US, even if you use unblock.
Anyone running Roku in the US can download the FilmOn app here directly from their site:
http://www.filmon.com/download#roku
It's kind of a crumby app, but you can actually watch live TV from numerous countries.
« Last Edit: 11:10:38 | 24 March, 2015 by Keenite »