Audio Streaming with SHOUTcast and Roku


This Instant TV Channel walk-through applies only to Developer SDK Roku channels. Direct Publisher Roku channels do not support audio-only streams.

SHOUTcast is proprietary software that is used to stream audio content over the Internet. Many service providers offer hosted SHOUTcast accounts for creating Internet audio broadcasts. Google "shoutcast hosting" for more information.

Instant TV Channel includes built-in support for SHOUTcast streams by automatically obtaining and displaying the artist name, track title, album name, runtime, release date, genre, and cover artwork. You do not need to provide the SHOUTcast administrator name or password in order for your Roku channel to display this information.

• Your Instant TV Channel account Developer Mode must be set to Advanced in order to view or change SHOUTcast related settings. You can change the Developer Mode from the Instant TV Channel Account page.
• Your channel must either be newly created, or be at Update #236 or higher in order to use SHOUTcast metadata within your Roku channel.
• Any audio content items within your channel created prior to Update #236 will not have the SHOUTcast MetadataDelay parameter displayed, and will use a preset delay of about 20 seconds.

How to set up a SHOUTcast stream in your Roku channel:

  1. Log into your Instant TV Channel account.
  2. Click the "Content" link on the left side of the page to bring up the Content Editor page.
  3. Click on any yellow folder icon and select "New Video or Audio".
  4. Set the ContentType parameter to "audio".
  5. Set the Title parameter to the name of the radio station or live stream. This is displayed only if there is no metadata available for the currently playing track.
  6. Choose a setting for the DescriptionStyle parameter. Both "audio" or "movie" work well for SHOUTcast streams, and provide different screen layouts and metadata.

SHOUTcast stream with DescriptionStyle="audio"
    

SHOUTcast stream with DescriptionStyle="movie"
  1. Set the Live parameter to "True".
  2. Provide the URL for the PosterUrl parameter. This are the default posters that will be displayed if Last.fm cannot find any artwork for the album or the artist, or if you do not provide a Last.fm API key.
  3. Set the Stream Url parameter to the SHOUTcast URL. If the SHOUTcast URL ends in a number, be sure to add a slash "/" character to the end of the URL. In other words, URLs like
           http://radiostation.com:8000
    
    should be entered as
           http://radiostation.com:8000/     
    
  4. Set the StreamFormat parameter to "mp3".
  5. Erase the default year in the ReleaseDate parameter so that the actual release date for each track can be displayed.
  6. Enter values for the ShortDescriptionLine1, ShortDescriptionLine2, and ListPosterUrl parameters which will appear in the parent list containing the SHOUTcast content item. If the SHOUTcast content item is not contained in a parent list then these parameters can be blank.
  7. For now, do not change the MetadataDelay parameter. This is the number of seconds to delay the display of the metadata, and is used to synchronize the display of the metadata with the audio track being played. You'll need to test your stream within a Roku channel to determine whether or not to change this parameter.

    If the metadata is displayed several seconds too soon, and appears before the track starts to play in the Roku channel, then the value of the MetadataDelay parameter should be increased by the corresponding number of seconds.

    If the metadata is displayed several seconds too late, and appears after the track starts to play in the Roku channel, then the value of the MetadataDelay parameter should be decreased by the corresponding number of seconds.

  8. You'll usually want to leave the Content Editor's ReleaseDate, Artist, Album, and Categories parameters blank. If you populate ReleaseDate, Artist, Album, or Categories with anything, the text you provide will be displayed instead of the SHOUTcast or Last.fm metadata.

Optionally, you may provide your Roku channel with a Last.fm API Key which will allow your Roku channel to query Last.fm for information about the currently playing track, such as album name, runtime, release date, genre. Most importantly this allows the album artwork for the currently playing track to be displayed. There is no charge for a Last.fm API key.

Here's how to configure a Last.fm API key into your Roku channel:

  1. Go to http://www.last.fm/api/account/create.
  2. Complete the online form.
  3. Click the Create Account button.
  4. A new page will be displayed containing your Last.fm API information. Copy the API Key shown near the top of the page, you'll need it in a few minutes. You do not need the Secret key.
  5. Log into your Instant TV Channel account.
  6. Click the "Keys & CDNs" link on the left side of the page.
  7. Scroll down to the "SHOUTcast Live Audio Metadata" section.
  8. Enter the Last.fm API Key into the Last.fm API Key parameter.

Finally, there are several optional Instant TV Channel Theme Editor settings that are related to SHOUTcast streams:

  • If your channel consists of a single "New Video or Audio" content item containing the SHOUTcast stream, you should consider setting the Theme Editor SingleItemListBypass parameter to "True" in order to avoid an unnecessary screen and remote click.
  • The Theme Editor SpringboardReleaseDateLabel and SpringboardRuntimeLabel parameters can be used to add a label to the left of the track's runtime or release date. If SpringboardRuntimeLabel is used then the audio progress bar for the "default (audio)" poster style is not displayed.
At this point your SHOUTcast Roku Channel is ready for publication. Follow the normal procedure of creating a Pkg file and uploading to your Roku Developer Account that is described in this Quick Walk-through.

Still wondering how to build a Roku radio channel? For more information click the Help link on the left side of this page, or send an email with your questions to .

 

Instant TV Channel is a cloud-based tool for Roku developers and content providers that shortens development time and eases maintenance after deployment.



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