WWW broadcasting using RealAudio is a pretty neat application of UDP controlled by TCP. In this way, severe but short dropouts in UDP traffic can be accounted for while tolerating transient small packet drops in a smarter way. Sometimes however, you just don’t want to stream and listen at the same time, convenient as that might be sometimes. For technical content, you might want to rewind or fast forward to indexed times noted in the hosting webpage. News content is transient and doesn’t need to be repeated. Technical content might be reviewed for an exam or holiday refresher. General storytelling as well might want to be shared.
Let’s talk about bitrates. RealAudio 1.0 uses 8 kbps, while TrueSpeech 8.5 uses 8.5 kbps. TrueSpeech can playback on Internet Explorer and Netscape 2.0, and will fit into a 14.4 kbps connection. This is important because it means the typical 28.8 or 33.6 kbps connection will have room to spare–you can work while downloading a broadcast, or download the broadcast even faster while not working. If we assume a 20 minute broadcast, that’s 10.2 Mbit or 1.3 MByte.
Thus if we use the whole 33.6 kbps bandwidth (and that’s assuming the WWW could handle it, which often it can’t) it would take 5 minutes to download a 20 minute broadcast. Scale from there to see you can download in better than playback time, even in the background. You need proprietary server software to host streaming RealAudio, while any TCP/HTTP/FTP server can host TrueSpeech files. Yes TrueSpeech is no charge, but not open, but at this point it’s what’s available.
So I think I will try this TrueSpeech WWW broadcasting. I think I will start with some technical content mixed with tech stories. Having to self-teach myself so much, I think someone else like me would appreciate having such content. One could dub it to cassette tape for commute listening, making use of that lost exergy staring out the window.