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Homemade Dot Mac: Home Web Radio

by Alan Graham

If you've been paying attention to what's happened with the deregulation of the airwaves, you may have noticed that most of the dial is owned by a few media conglomerates which control most of what you hear. Many of us turned to the internet to find a tasteful alternative to all of the FM noise. And while the future of webcasting is currently tied up in the muck of figuring out fair music licensing fees, there is no doubt in my mind that the internet is the last bastion for music.

If the idea of having your own radio webcast, for fun or profit, intrigues you, then you've come to the right place. Even if you don't plan on sharing your musical tastes with the world, you can have a lot of fun creating private playlists you can stream 24/7, to almost any web device in your home. Or maybe you just want to be able to tune into your music anywhere, anytime, on any machine. Well guess what? You've probably got most of what you'll need sitting on your home machine. Moreover, setting up your own station is easy to do and costs nothing to get running.

What You'll Need:

  • A working Homemade Dot Mac server (see previous articles)
  • A DSL or Cable Connection
  • Music (MP3)
  • QuickTime Streaming Server (free from Apple's web site)
  • Promo Music & Microphone
  • iMovie
  • iTunes

Step 1: Calculate Bandwidth

Related Reading

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By David Pogue

First thing you need to do is calculate the adequate server bandwidth for your station. If you figure to provide your stream at the same rate to all visitors, the basic calculation for this (via Apple's Knowledge Base) is to multiply the maximum number of users you expect by the bit rate you plan to stream. So, for your own private use, if you plan on serving up to three connections at 128Kbps over the Internet, you need an upload connection speed greater than 384Kbps to keep a "stutter free" connection. If you plan to run your station over a LAN connection (streaming playlists to multiple terminals in your home), you could probably sustain as many as 50 to 60 connections on a 10Mbps network (not taking network traffic into consideration). As you can see, if you plan on running a commercial or non-profit station for the public, you'll need a fat pipe.

A DSL or cable connection isn't fast enough to support a lot of visitors but is usually adequate for serving your personal use. Before you start streaming be sure that it doesn't violate the service agreement with your ISP.

Step 2: Install/Configure QuickTime Streaming Server

The next thing you need to do is download the QT Streaming Server from Apple's site and install it. Once the install is complete you'll find the installer placed an icon in your Applications folder that looks like this:

Screen shot.
Apple's QTSS Icon.

Since the server can be configured and controlled through a web browser, this icon will always take you there. Go ahead and configure the server for the first time with the defaults in place. You may need to make some adjustment based on your own network settings or personal preferences.

Screen shot.
Your admin username and password...

Screen shot.
Your MP3 password...

Screen shot.
For most people a SSL connection won't be necessary.

The QTSS requires that you use one folder as the main source of your media. Most people use iTunes and the music is located in the Music folder. You may wish to change the default location because moving all your media isn't practical. The path to your iTunes folder should resemble this: /Users/yourusername/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music

Screen shot.
This screen is for the location of your music files.

Screen shot.
Streaming on port 80 could interfere with Apache or other web servers running on your machine.

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