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Support for BBC Radio HLS Streams



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I think the stations are a vast improvement. No dropouts all day and good sound quality. Hopefuly they can fix the "listen again" issues soon.
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All still good and re-created alarms working well. Thanks to jgatie for clarifying situation re Listen Again - sometimes at my age it's not easy to remember what's been said or read!
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The last official word on Listen Again 5 days ago from John M at Sonos said "What's not changing over the current version is archived listen again content. This programming will continue to use the current mp3 implementation (not HLS) until a future Sonos release, currently targeted for 2016."
Listen again programs are showing up in the program search but now instead of playing as mp3 I am getting a "file not found" message in Sonos. No mention of wrong format. Seems to indicate some disconnect with the lists from tunein where it plays with no problem.
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Does sound like an issue. Would probably be good to post here what stream your trying to play so Sonos can look into it specifically or call them.
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Chris. Thanks. The problem isnt with a aprticular stream bit with any of the BBC archived programs. I have tried programs listed on BBC 4xtra, and BBC 4. They play in tunein. They show up in the Sonos desktop search but aren't found when selected. Is there a specific place to provide feedback on the beta version?
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There is under account beta feedback. Since its public beta they have said it is ok to ask questions here too. Can you cite a specific steam
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submitting beta feedback
https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/2978/~/sonos-beta-programs#var_4
To keep everything clean and easy to read we've created a new thread for this issue. We are working to get the BBC HLS streams playing on your Sonos systems and we’ll update you when we have news to share.

John recently posted the below official update on a different thread:

There has been a lot of discussion lately around BBC Radio streams and we thought it might be helpful to summarize everything that's happened recently in case you are new to the topic.

Following the decision to move away from using WMA last year, the BBC has recently begun the process of switching to a new streaming method called chunked HTTP streaming,* one of many newly emerging options for providing audio and video content online.

There are several different options for how to implement chunked HTTP streaming, including offerings from Apple, Adobe, Microsoft, and MPEG.  The BBC has chosen to use an Apple-developed format commonly referred to as HLS and tell us they will add the MPEG version at a later date.

Chunked HTTP transfer is beneficial for both listeners and providers in terms of scalability and reliability, but it lacks a unified and agreed-upon industry standard. Many hardware devices (including Sonos) have yet to implement full support for each of these emerging formats.  The scenario presents a challenge for manufacturers. Which of the many formats do you choose to develop and support first? It’s a bit like Betamax vs. VHS or HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray.

In the meantime - to maintain compatibility with a wide range of manufacturers, services, and operating systems - the BBC has chosen to also provide MP3 versions.  Our partner, the internet radio aggregator TuneIn, is currently serving these streams to Sonos in lieu of the HLS versions.  However, there are two issues with the existing MP3 streams:

  • The MP3 streams are available in 128Kbps quality for all services including local radio.
  • Some sports and other live events are only available within the UK due to streaming rights, and the MP3 streams presented to Sonos only include international versions which blank out this content.  Note: the BBC has informed us they intend to address this issue separately and do not yet have an available time frame.  
Sonos is in the early planning stages for adding support for HLS, which will address these issues and restore a better experience for BBC Radio on Sonos moving forward. Timing will be shared once we have a realistic idea of when it will be ready.

If you have a BBC station saved in your Sonos favorites, it will still point to the non-functional WMA stream and you may receive an error when attempting to play the stream.  You can correct this by removing the old favorite, searching for the station again, and then creating a new favorite with the working version.

*You can read about chunked HTTP, HLS, and the other competing formats in more detail in this post on the BBC blog.

___

Please keep the discussion on topic and avoid attacking other users.
Look forward to Software version 6 when it looks like the problem is solved
https://sonos.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/3462
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It is in public beta currently available to everyone.
If I follow the link to the version 6 I note at the bottom it says "Beginning with Sonos software version 6.0, only devices running the following OS versions are supported... I have an Ipad 1 and a mac running 10.6.8 & run Sonos off s cr200 controllers. Does this mean Sonos will stop running altogether for me once this update arrives or just that I can't access the features including BBC

does anyone know
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It means if you don't have those os levels don't update those devices. Should still access hls stream as long as update the hardware via a supported os.
thanks Chris, when you say "as long as update the hardware via a supported os." i can update the hardware using my installed 10.6.8. ok?
Finally support for HLS streams 😉 Now I can listen to BBC Radio in HQ! One question: what is the default HLS stream selection? I presume it is 128kbps AAC. I ask as i've manually entered the HQ 320kbps AAC Stream links for BBC R1,2,3,6 and 1X, but I can get rid of them is the default is 320kbps. It'd be nice if the Sonos controller displayed bitrates on the controller.

It's a bit pitty our national DAB service (for the car) doesn't offer such HQ.
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. It'd be nice if the Sonos controller displayed bitrates on the controller..

Agree, and the streaming format. There is currently no way of knowing (without delving into player diagnostics, or trusting your ears) which version of a particulatr radio stream is playing, It *should* be the HLS stream, and one would hope it would be the highest bit-rate stream, but we don't know that for sure.

Tunein is a directory service, that gives the Sonos player a URL to stream from when you select a particular station (BBC Radio 1 for instance). Certainly in the past, it was a lottery as to which stream url Tunein sent; for example, it regularly served up the 48kbps Shoutcast stream of Radio 1 instead of the superior and perfectly functioning 128k stream. This lottery drove me to setting up and using custom stations with hard-coded URLs for all my regular stations (in the process having to do without the station graphic and "now playing" info that Tunein serves up).

How do we know the same isn't happening with Tunein now? Is the lottery still in place? Will Tunein, on a whim, serve the low-bit rate HLS stream instead of the 320kbps stream?? Or even the legacy mp3 stream? I would hope not, but again, how do we know?

Two steps to a solution:
1. Fix the way Tunein serves up URLs (if not done already) so that it always returns the highest bit rate stream that's available and that will play without problem; and
2. Display the stream format and bit rate in the controller. The Deezer Elite implementation shows the best way to do this - it shows "Track Format" in the ... menu behind the "Now playing" screen. Doesn't clutter anything up, but the info is there if needed.
Userlevel 7
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If you are in the UK you should be linked to the high quality streams
Userlevel 7
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I can't confirm as I'm not in the UK. But if you know how to type in the url to bring up the Sonos network matrix it shows there under recent radio streams the link used.
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The support url is


http://:1400/support/review

Replace with one of the ip addresses of a Sonos unit (can find under settings ..about my Sonos)

Screen takes a few minutes to collect data and come up. Then chose the Sonos unit you played the bbc station on. If memory serves me correctly then the about half way down says something like radio stream history. Click there and look to see which bbc stream it is playing.
The support url is


http://:1400/support/review

Replace with one of the ip addresses of a Sonos unit (can find under settings ..about my Sonos)

Screen takes a few minutes to collect data and come up. Then chose the Sonos unit you played the bbc station on. If memory serves me correctly then the about half way down says something like radio stream history. Click there and look to see which bbc stream it is playing.


Wow, thanks for this!!

So here's what happens. when I select my manually entered 320kbps HLS stream for BBC Radio 3 I get the following under Radio log:

Timestamp Type URI
1888 playlist http://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_high/ak/bbc_radio_three.m3u8
1888 stream hls-radio://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_high/ak/bbc_radio_three.m3u8

which is to be expected. When I select the default BBC Radio 3 from tunein i get the following:

Timestamp Type URI
1923 playlist http://legato.radiotime.com/Tune.ashx?id=s24941&partnerId=Sonos&serial=00-0E-58-5C-E9-B8:2&version=31.3
1924 playlist http://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_high/llnw/bbc_radio_three.m3u8
1924 stream hls-radio://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_high/llnw/bbc_radio_three.m3u8
1924 playlist http://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_high/ak/bbc_radio_three.m3u8
1924 stream hls-radio://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_high/ak/bbc_radio_three.m3u8
1924 playlist http://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_med/ak/bbc_radio_three.m3u8
1924 stream hls-radio://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_med/ak/bbc_radio_three.m3u8
1924 playlist http://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_med/llnw/bbc_radio_three.m3u8
1924 stream hls-radio://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_med/llnw/bbc_radio_three.m3u8
1924 playlist http://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_low/llnw/bbc_radio_three.m3u8
1924 stream hls-radio://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_low/llnw/bbc_radio_three.m3u8
1924 playlist http://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_low/ak/bbc_radio_three.m3u8
1924 stream hls-radio://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_low/ak/bbc_radio_three.m3u8
1925 playlist http://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_vlow/ak/bbc_radio_three.m3u8
1925 stream hls-radio://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_vlow/ak/bbc_radio_three.m3u8
1925 playlist http://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_vlow/llnw/bbc_radio_three.m3u8
1925 stream hls-radio://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_vlow/llnw/bbc_radio_three.m3u8
1925 playlist http://open.live.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/5/select/version/2.0/mediaset/http-icy-aac-lc-a/format/pls/vpid/bbc_radio_three.pls
1925 stream aac://bbcmedia.ic.llnwd.net/stream/bbcmedia_lc1_radio3_p?s=1444389107&e=1444403507&h=4ae7c2ac5382cb142d4608dc318e0f7c
1925 stream aac://bbcmedia.ic.llnwd.net/stream/bbcmedia_lc1_radio3_q?s=1444389107&e=1444403507&h=0b70d77baa4c3a5b28110bf6e42c9b17

so who knows what stream is playing lol. As you can see the HQ, MQ and Low quality streams are selected. I've played these in VLC player and it would seem that MQ is 128kbps AAC and Low Quality is ~48kbps. As LQ is the last stream selected, could this bee what is being played by default??

Anyhow for now I'm just happy being able to play 320Kbps using the manual link.
Userlevel 4
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If you are in the UK you should be linked to the high quality streams
Hi Chris, Appreciate your response, but: "should be" is not the same as knowing for certain, which was the point I was trying to make.

Also, I'm aware we can find the info by delving into the player diagnostics, but that isn't exactly quick or user friendly, as Leono has found.

The Deezer Elite model is a good one (ie having the info available, but hidden in the ...more menu) - why not apply it to radio too? Of course there could be the side-effect that it would confirm if Tunein isn't always giving the url of the highest bit-rate stream, which might lead to more questions like Leono's...!

As an aside, and straying off-topic, I wish we could see the encoding type and bit-rate in the controller for every track, whatever the source. Oh, and including the source would be good to0 - I have many playlists where I can't tell/remember if the tracks are from my local library, Spotify , Napster or Deezer! I want to cancel a subscription or two, but don't know how big a hole it will leave in my playlists!! I shall put this in another thread.
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Hopefully someone from Sonos chimes in on how/what we can to better know.
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Take a look at "Performance Counters" in the Support/review screen.
Shows more details about the current stream (and all my stop/starts to confirm). So yes, you can confirm if your streaming the HQ version. Should be an easier way to view thoug...

currently: PLAYING x-sonosapi-stream:s24939?sid=254&flags=8224&sn=0
700876.814: state = PLAYING
700875.051: state = TRANSITIONING
700875.003: upnp = play() [192.168.0.80 Linux UPnP/1.0 Sonos/31.3-21291 (ZPS1)]
700850.383: state = STOPPED
700850.153: upnp = pause() [192.168.0.80 Linux UPnP/1.0 Sonos/31.3-21291 (ZPS1)]
700704.997: state = PLAYING
700703.780: state = TRANSITIONING
700703.750: upnp = play() [192.168.0.80 Linux UPnP/1.0 Sonos/31.3-21291 (ZPS1)]
694570.659: state = STOPPED
694570.585: upnp = pause() [192.168.0.80 Linux UPnP/1.0 Sonos/31.3-21291 (ZPS1)]
694565.139: state = PLAYING
694564.636: state = TRANSITIONING
694564.546: upnp = play() [192.168.0.80 Linux UPnP/1.0 Sonos/31.3-21291 (ZPS1)]
694237.283: state = STOPPED
694237.164: upnp = pause() [192.168.0.80 Linux UPnP/1.0 Sonos/31.3-21291 (ZPS1)]
693899.891: state = PLAYING
693885.943: upnp = play() [192.168.0.80 Linux UPnP/1.0 Sonos/31.3-21291 (ZPS1)]
691726.281: state = STOPPED
691722.804: upnp = pause() [192.168.0.80 Linux UPnP/1.0 Sonos/31.3-21291 (ZPS1)]
691444.717: state = PLAYING
691444.501: state = TRANSITIONING
691444.039: upnp = play() [192.168.0.72 Linux UPnP/1.0 Sonos/31.3-21291 (ICRU_iPad5,3)]
691443.929: track = hls-radio://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_high/llnw/bbc_radio_one.m3u
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This is fantastic news and I can confirm it works perfectly... lovely to have artwork and proper implementation of high quality BBC Radio Streams again. The annoying thing now is that TuneIn doesn't list the HLS streams for local radio even though they exist. I have spoken to their technical support and they said they would 'reach out' to the BBC for the streams and once they became available we could enjoy them. They annoyingly however did say that they can't add them untill the BBC personally supply them (i.e not me!) so it looks like we could be in for another long wait as it was the BBC that started all this and have been far from helpful throughout. For now we'll have to add them manually ourselves and they will play fine thanks to Sonos supporting HLS now but perhaps Sonos could also lean on the BBC to add the streams for local BBC stations to TuneIn as soon as possible?
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Hi, this is good news but how do I manually add the new bbc hls streams??

Thanks in advance.
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You only need to add the local stations manually as the others appear in TuneIn. You can find the streams here:

http://www.radiofeeds.co.uk

And then go to the Manage menu in the title bar on the desktop controller and add them there. This is only possible on the desktop controller.
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So to summarize
Main BBC stations are available through the beta.
Local station links can be added manually.
Listen again is not available in HLS until sometime in 2016. According to John M of Sonos it is still supposed to be available as mp3 but Whenever I try to play anything I get a "file not found" error. Havent had any response from Sonos on that. Anybody else able to play listen again?