True Flash Based Streaming Reaches iPhone! Finally!


iphoneI’m sure some of you out there are scratching your heads, wondering what the title of this post means.

Basically, if you are on a desktop or laptop computer running Mac OS, some flavor of windows, or even Linux, you receive your audio in most cases via Flash. (FYI: Flash is also what is used to encode videos on Google Video, Vimeo, and YouTube.) Until now, iPhones have been unable to stream audio from sources using the Flash Media Server. That cuts out a lot of listening opportunities.

Enter the Tuner2 Hi-Fi Radio app, bringing the ability to work with the same Flash servers that are increasingly responsible for our multimedia content delivery on the web.

This development  impacts a number of aspects of the overall situation. First, it eliminates the need for additional infrastructure in the form of servers. Second, there is no need for additional encoding for the iPhone; the same stream source works across platforms. The third effect is higher fidelity.

Here’s a snippet from the press release that Modulation Index, LLC sent out:

By supporting MPEG-4 HE AAC v2 audio delivered over Adobe Flash Media server protocol, the Tuner2 Hi-Fi Radio app enables a listening experience with more stability and higher audio quality than the more typical MP3 or HE AAC v1 over HTTP. The MPEG-4 HE AAC v2 audio codec provides up to 4x better sound per bit than MP3 and the Adobe Flash Media server protocol has less overhead than HTTP. For example, MP3 requires up to 128Kbps to match the quality of a 32Kbps HE AAC v2 stream. The solution also lets stations establish a single streaming source with interactivity and have that stream be fully experienced on Windows, Mac, and iPhone.

I’ve often said that one of my favorite aspects of radio in general is its ubiquity.  As the headlong dash from one technological breakthrough to another proceeds, that trait is being amplified in ways unforeseen and we get to watch the ubiquitous nature of broadcast firmly plant itself in the digital world of the 21st Century.

The application can be downloaded on the App Store now for $8.99, a hefty price tag for an iPhone app but it’s a start.

Oh, it integrates directly with Twitter as well!

Photo courtesy of Andy on Flickr, used under its Creative Commons license


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