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There are many ways to do that, so the biggest challenge is picking the approach that’s best for you. Here is an overview.
First, you need a content source – something to stream.
Depending on how you create content for your station, you might pull content one of several ways.
If you use a traditional mixing board to feed your transmitter you can take an audio output from the board. You can even use a radio tuned to your station as an audio source.
If you use automation, you can take audio from the sound card externally.
If you want to use the same PC for automation and streaming, you can route the audio threads with software.
Next, you need some way to encode the audio info for network distribution
You can use the Shoutcast/Icecast/Oddcast encoders available for free download and deliver an MP3 or OGG stream
You can use Windows Media Encoder, also available for free download, and deliver a WMA or ASX stream
You can use the Apple Quicktime family of products, some of which are free or that have free open source versions, to deliver an MOV or other Apple/Mac streams
You an buy a Real Media encoder, or one of the other proprietary platforms and deliver a RAM or RA or whatever format stream.
Next, you need a streaming content server platform of some kind
You can serve from your own PC if you have enough uplink connection bandwidth and if you don’t expect too many listeners. Most of the encoders offer some form of self-serve. Some ISPs will cut you off if you have too much upstream traffic, however
You can use a third party paid server like Live365 or one of its competitors like Elmo Nation. There are thousands of paid server sources, and a couple of free ones that inject advertising into your stream, sort of like those “free” web hosts who put their ads on your web site.
You can serve peer-to-peer using Streamerp2p or a similar product. Here, each listener takes a stream from the previous listener and serves a stream to the next listener. It’s cool, but it has some latency and drop-off draw-backs.
Finally, you need the patience of a saint to put it all together.
You get the audio source, at the right impedence, at the right level and as noise free as possible
Then you get the encoder up and running, which might require the coordination of both hardware and software settings and preferences you never knew existed
Then you get your stream on the internet, either by setting up your self serve approach, by sending a single uplink stream to your third party server or by starting your P2P stream.
Then, put a link to your stream on your website
When your server or P2P setup is complete, there will be a web link to use for your stream. Mine is mms://18.104.22.168:2345/, which means “go to the machine on the internet named 22.214.171.124 and look for a Microsoft Media Services stream on port 2345”
When listeners click that link on my station web page, a Windows Media Player client opens and, after about 12 seconds, starts playing my stream.
I dig that 🙂
It can be done, it’s really fun when it’s up and running, you will learn a LOT about hardware, software and networking, and you’ll make lots of new friends on the forums and blogs you’ll be visiting when you’re looking for help – like today 🙂
What does SCWIS do?
I use an old AM radio with a nice, high impedence headphone jack tuned to my station as an audio source. I plug that audio into the line-in on the sound card in an old 500MHz PIII PC as a stand-alone, self streaming server running Windows 98 and Windows Media Encoder 7 to deliver a very low bit rate stream. I have Comcast as an ISP who provides 384 kbps uplink bandwidth. I have been shoving low bit rate streaming stuff up Comcast since about 2001 and Comcast has never had a problem with it.
I did my first stream experiments in 1996 using 56 kbps dial-up, so it can be done! Geez, I just realized I’ve been streaming for a decade – damn!
Listeners can click HERE to listen to my awful stream 🙂
Experimental broadcasting for a better tomorrow!