Friday, August 22, 2008

Radio and the Windows Media Player

Select a Preset Station

Windows Media Player for Windows XP features preset Web radio stations that make listening a snap. It's an easy way to get started and a great introduction to the music capabilities of Windows XP. Once you're on the Internet, you can tune in Web radio.

To listen to Internet radio

Click Start, point to All Programs, and then click Windows Media Player. 
Click Radio Tuner. 
Double-click a preset Web radio station from the list of featured presets. 
That’s all there is to it. Loading a station usually takes a few seconds, after which playing begins automatically. 

Create Your Own Presets
Of course, you’re not limited to listening only to preset stations. After all, Internet radio is all about choice. It’s easy to find interesting new stations and create your own presets.

To create preset radio stations

Click Start, and then click Windows Media Player. 
Click Radio Tuner. 
Click Find More Stations. 
Search for stations by keyword or zip code (U.S. only), or browse through editor's selections in genres from Jazz & Blues to Modern Rock to New Age to Sports Radio and more. 
Click Use Advanced Search to search for stations based on genre, language, country, and more criteria. 
If you find a station that looks interesting, you can click it for more information. To create a preset, click Add to My Stations. 
When you are finished, click Return to My Stations. 
Click any station in My Stations to play it. 
Note Because Radio Tuner contains a live Web page that is hosted by WindowsMedia.com, the process for adding radio stations may change without notice.

Streaming Audio

Web radio is broadcast by a method called streaming. Instead of sending out a constant signal, the station sends out audio in batches, or packets, across the Internet to reach your computer. Each packet is separately numbered, and the data it contains is compressed (reduced in size) for speedier delivery. When the computer receives packets, it decompresses (reconstitutes) their data and plays them in their proper order. The effect is the same as if the information was delivered by means of a continuous signal.

Packets might travel by separate routes to reach your computer and might arrive out of order. To allow for delays, your computer initially stores packets instead of playing them until enough have arrived to fill the time it takes to receive any missing packets before it is their turn to play. The storing process is called buffering. Without streaming audio Web radio would not be possible, and full-length media files would take ages to download.

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