What is Internet Radio?
Until recently, radio could be considered a rather old-fashioned medium. However the introduction of radio stations broadcasting over the Internet has provided a new opportunity for radio broadcasters to reach a global audience for very low set up cost. This has led to an explosion of new radio stations and new ways to access existing radio stations with new facilities.
Technically, Internet Radio is an audio broadcasting service that is transmitted via through the Internet as a continuous stream audio broadcast, leading to a listening experience similar to traditional radio broadcasting. The audio stream broadcast by Internet radio stations usually use modern audio codecs (coding/decoding algorithms), such as MP3, WMA and AAC/AAC+, similar to those used by iTunes. Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) aka Digital Radio uses the older MP2 audio codec and, because of this, Internet radio stations have the potential to offer higher audio quality than is provided on DAB. However, although many Internet radio stations use a bit rate of 128 kbps or higher, those using 64kbps may not sound so good if replayed through high quality equipment. Whilst there are over 4,000 stations using bit rates of 128kbps or higher, up to 75% of stations use the lower bit rates.
In some cases, you can listen to programmes for a period, usually a week afterwards, which is a great facility of you want to catch a specific programme which is broadcast at an inconvenient time.