NEW BBC RADIO 3 FLAC LOSSLESS STREAMING


This pilot offers Radio 3 in the highest possible audio quality so that our audience experiences our output exactly as it left the studio.

Can you sum up the project?

For the duration of the pilot we are providing a simulcast of Radio 3’s live output compressed using FLAC, so it sounds every bit (no pun intended!) as good as when it left us.

How does it work?

We’re using FLAC and MPEG-DASH to deliver losslessly-compressed audio to your browser. This allows us to reduce the bit-rate required for transmission without any loss of information.

The browser handles the unpacking and decoding of the audio data natively and we use the BBC’s Standard Media Player to handle the streaming aspect, ensuring the same full-featured user experience as other BBC services.

We leverage the flexibility of the Audio Factory platform to source the uncompressed feeds in the same way as our other streaming services, then losslessly compress the audio using a cloud-based custom encoding and packaging platform built by BBC R&D.


Do I need any special equipment?

Because the specification for how to do this is so new, only Firefox (51 or greater) on desktop is able to play our stream, but in time we hope other browsers, mobile devices and internet radio manufacturers will follow suit, and we are actively engaging with vendors to make this happen.

You don’t need any special hardware to enjoy our lossless stream – whatever you normally use to enjoy Radio 3 will do.

Note that you’ll need a decent broadband connection – we’d recommend at least 2mbps to avoid buffering.