BY BEN BLEVINS
|WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — IMG College is the nation’s leading collegiate sports marketing company, with national, regional and local offerings across various platforms. Our network includes more than 70 colleges and universities in addition to other collegiate sports properties. Targeting 190 million college sports fans, we produce 35,000 hours of radio programming annually. Delivering audio to large and diverse audiences is what we do, and we do it across several different media formats. While terrestrial radio is our primary platform, streaming has increasingly factored into how we deliver our product.
Known for its ability to deliver reliable point-to-point audio over IP, the BRIC-Link II also has some lesser-familiar attributes that have expanded our capabilities. Specifically, the HTTP streaming feature has been a surprise and a delight when unexpected projects pop up. BRIC-Link II is capable of acting as a source feed for icecast2, Shoutcast and other servers, which can require a bit finessing and the use of a customized profile. But the standalone streaming server function — very easy to set up — has really come through for us on a number of occasions for customers like Notre Dame, University of Texas and Central Michigan University among others.
To use a BRIC-Link unit in streaming server mode, just set the HTTP Settings in the System Settings tab to “accept incoming connections.” In our case, we needed to change the default IP port from 8000 to something that worked within our IT department’s firewall requirements. By providing the IP address and port in the correct format (one specific to the listener’s choice of player) in an HTTP link on a web page, commonly available media players such as VLC, WinAmp and Windows Media Player can pull the stream and play back audio directly from the BRIC-Link. Mono and stereo versions of AAC, HE-AAC v2 and Ogg FLAC are available at varying bitrates to accommodate your headend bandwidth availability and the quality demanded by listeners. Keep in mind that you will need enough available bandwidth to support the incoming requests at the bandwidth of the algorithm selected.
This application is a perfect solution for some of our schools that need to get a program feed using VLC or another media player. But it can also serve program content directly to web stream listeners on a modest scale.
Conservatively, up to 70 simultaneous streams can be supported using a lower-bitrate algorithm like HE-AAC v2 at 24 kbps stereo. However, we’ve had instances of up to 120 streams using HE-AAC v2 at 18 kbps mono. Again, making sure you have enough upload bandwidth is key to ensuring the stream will be heard on the other end. In our experience, the performance has been flawless.
BRIC-Link II has a well-deserved place in our equipment racks. While point-to-point audio transmission may be its most common use, BRIC-Link II was able to expand our offerings to our customers through its less-appreciated streaming capabilities.
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This user report is reposted from Radio World. To read the original article, click here.
Ben Blevins is Head of Technical Operations at IMG College.