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Howard Stern Coming To the Net 334

Posted by kdawson
from the shock-and-aww dept.
theodp writes, "To promote an Internet radio service Sirius is launching this week, Howard Stern's 4+ hour program will be made available live online for free on October 25 and 26. The new Sirius service will offer 75+ channels of CD-quality programming for $12.95/month with no need to buy a Sirius satellite receiver."
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Howard Stern Coming To the Net

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 16, 2006 @07:10AM (#16450869)
    But not CD quality audio. I think the net stream is 32kbps.
  • by StateOfTheUnion (762194) on Monday October 16, 2006 @07:30AM (#16450967) Homepage
    So many places say "CD-quality programming" and offer compressed audio . . . like CD-Quality MP3's etc. Typically this kind of audio isn't CD quality by definition of lossy compression and streaming rate. In fact last I checked the compression algorthim and bitstream rate for satellite talk radio is different from that of the same service's music stations (the talk radio stream has a lower bitrate and more compression) . . . because the audio frequency band and dynamic range are typically narrower in talk radio.

    CD-quality should imply a real and quantifiable level of quality . . . not "it sounds like a CD to the casual listener (that doesn't know that analog FM radio music is typically compressed in dynamic range and frequency and that radio broadcasts are already equalized for cheap car stereos and boomboxes)."

  • Re:13 bucks a month? (Score:3, Informative)

    by thc69 (98798) on Monday October 16, 2006 @08:08AM (#16451187) Homepage Journal
    It would also seem logical to me that they could expand their web service by making it a cheap add on for their current subscribers.
    It is free for current subscribers -- whose subscription rate is the same as this new rate. The only benefit this offers is that you don't need to buy a Sirius receiver.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 16, 2006 @08:12AM (#16451213)
    Regular satellite-based Sirius is 64k. So even their bird isn't "CD-quality". That's just a tick above your average warbly / lossy internet radio station (that sounds like complete garbage on a decent stereo). I'd be very curious to hear the true bitrate of their web site.

    For now, it's Pandora.com for me. It's the best sounding internet radio / streaming music station I've heard.

  • XM has been offering this for years now for $7.95.
  • by Enry (630) <(enry) (at) (wayga.net)> on Monday October 16, 2006 @08:21AM (#16451277) Journal
    CD quality is generally 128kbps, regardless of the codec. That's what's used by just about all MP3 hardware vendors when they tell you how many songs you can put on their device, so that statement has been around for a while.

    Stern's broadcasts on Sirius as received by the hardware satellite receivers isn't at talk quality (~32kbps), but at the same quality as their music channels (~128kbps).

    The Internet service you get with Sirius that's standard is ~32kbps for all channels, which makes it sounds a little off. Doesn't matter to me all that much, but some people notice the difference. The new service that is being offered gives the channels at the higher quality bitrate.

    For those of you that think that now Stern is just 4-hours of 4-letter words, it's not. They're in there, and the discussions get a bit more frank than before, but it's like the terrestrial broadcast without the bleeps for the most part. At one point early on, Stern yelled at someone (Ronnie?) and told him to quit swearing all the time because it wasn't funny.

    Don't like Stern? That's fine. My dad hates him with a passion. A few months ago he asked me about my Sirius and a few weeks later he had his own radio in the car. He loves it. It's like cable TV - listen to what you want, there's a lot of variety. An unexpected gem is radio classics, playing radio shows from way back when. Jack Benny's humor still stands the test of time.
  • by bWareiWare.co.uk (660144) on Monday October 16, 2006 @08:30AM (#16451349) Homepage
    Given this is /. I think a plug for Virgin Radio's brilliant 160kpbs Ogg Vorbis stream is allowed:

    http://www.smgradio.com/core/audio/ogg/live.pls?se rvice=vrbb [smgradio.com]

    (Though they are a UK Ad supported pop music channel so the quality of the content is not guaranteed)
  • by Lordleppard (913427) on Monday October 16, 2006 @08:34AM (#16451379) Homepage
    Actually, you didn't post facts. The facts are Sirius has 5.1 Million subscribers, XM 7 Million. When Stern joined Sirius had 700,000.

    http://www.mediabuyerplanner.com/2006/10/04/sirius _subscribers_surpass_5/index.php [mediabuyerplanner.com]

    Seems you got it wrong bub.

  • by saberyo (38463) on Monday October 16, 2006 @08:54AM (#16451523)
    The new "Premium" stream is 129K bits/sec.
  • by achacha (139424) on Monday October 16, 2006 @08:59AM (#16451557) Homepage
    I listen to Sirius radio on the web daily (because I work in a valley between 2 mountains and no reception is possible). Honestly, the quality is great, better than FM radio. I also have a Sirius unit that unfortunately broadcasts via FM (since my car doesn't have a direct input and I am too lazy to rewire it) and the internet stream sounds better than FM I get in my car.

    As far as Howard, his show is quite amusing for the guests he has and the non-standard questions he asks them. Even though on satellite he is not censored, the language is not overused. Bubba is also quite interesting in a dirty sexist sort of way.

    Howard is a good reason to get Sirius, but I presonally like Hard Attack channel where I can listen to new death metal and interview for which I would have no access over coventional radio.

    I don't care about CD quaity, I grew up in the tape-swap 80s and scrambled premium channel over airwaves decade, so I think my brain is trained to smooth out and unscramble stuff I hear and see :)

    I also listened to XM with the dish I had and their channels are not very diverse, XM feels like their channels are part of some genre-based market study (and very generic feeling); but that's just me. All Sirius needs is a 24/7 Pink Floyd channel and I will be happy.

    I think over time the bitrates will improve and I am hoping 3rd party software will allow me to record shows so I could listen to them when I have time.
  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday October 16, 2006 @09:02AM (#16451577) Homepage
    129? WTF is that. Why not just use 128? Does extra 1000 bits really make that much of a difference. And besides, we all know 128 isn't really CD quality. They used to pretend it was back in 1998 when Napster was cool, but we know that you get a lot better sound out of 192 Kbps encoding, and probably a lot closer to actual CD quality.
  • by therealking (223121) on Monday October 16, 2006 @12:15PM (#16453829) Homepage
    You should do the math yourself, if he added 5 million subs at 12.95 a month thats $51 million a month attributable to him. 10 months and sterns paid for in full. The other 4 years and 2 months is profit. And that doesn't include the $49+ a radio every one of those subs bought to listen.

    Sirius knew what they were doing, and they made a good deal.
  • by electricmba (803872) on Monday October 16, 2006 @12:24PM (#16453981)
    Love him or hate him, it is impossible to claim he is not relevant in 2006. In his domain (entertainment), he was one of the top grossing performers last year, nudged out by only the likes of Steven Spielberg for total income. He's also considered one of the most powerful men in showbusiness, as evindenced by this article in Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/lists/2006/53/5S85.html [forbes.com] ...which places him in position "7" out of 100 of the most powerful Celebrities in the entertainment business. The news story about having a couple of free days on Sirius may be ho-hum, and there may be many of you that have an extreme dislike for his programming...but irrelevant he is not.
  • by Babbster (107076) <aaronbabb@gmail.cLISPom minus language> on Monday October 16, 2006 @01:59PM (#16455553) Homepage
    Rumor has it, Stern was paranoid that people would steal his show and rebroadcast it so that he wouldn't get as much money.

    Wow. Talk about bullshit. No, Stern wasn't "paranoid" about internet broadcasts (as long as they're paid for - this is a subscription-based business). He was talking about how they needed an Internet stream from virtually the day he arrived on the air.

    Stern and Sirius are no more "paranoid" that people will steal their shit than anyone else who has a service they're trying to tell - in other words, they don't want you to steal their shit.

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