Options to listen

In today’s world people use different operating systems and different browsers, Windows, Apple Lion os x, Linux, Google chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer etc. For this reason is very important to provide a variety of options to tune in to your listeners.

Options to Listen

The Most popular media players are:

  • Windows media player  (windows)
  • ITunes (Windows/Mac)
  • Real player (Windows/Mac)
  • Winamp (windows)
  • QuickTime (Windows/Mac)

Because you don’t know what operating system or media player your listeners will have you will need to be prepared so you don’t lose that listener.  Make sure you have options to listen on your website; at least the most popular players like Winamp (works for itunes), windows media player, Realplayer and Quicktime. This is a very simple task to accomplish; you just have to create links pointing to the right file for each media player. To create the file just open any text editor like notepad (windows) type your streaming address (shoutcast: http://ipaddress:port, icecast: http://ipaddress:port/mountpoint) and then save the file, after you save the file edit the extension from “.txt” to  the right extension for each media player:

tune-in

  • Winamp: playlist.pls (works for itunes)
  • Windows Media Player:  playlist.asx
  • Real Player:  playlist.ram
  • QuickTime:  playlist.qtl

Then just add a link pointing to those files. Using an image logo for that media player, will look better that having just a text link.

If you do a test after you place your links on your website and you notice the file does not open the right media player when you click the link and rather just downloads the file, do not freak out. This is normal; the link itself will not launch the media player automatically. This means your operating system does not have a file association with that file type and you will need to open the file manually. Unfortunately that is something you can’t control, it is something on your listener’s  computer.  After your listener downloads the file and opens it for the first time the operating system will associate the file with the right media player.

For more information about file association:

Allow listeners to tune in via browser

Another great option is to allow your listener to tune in using their browser.  In this case you will need to embed a player to your website and all the listener has to do is click on the play button. This has some pros and cons:

  • Pros:  easy to access
  • Cons:  not all browsers support all media players without the installation of some plug-in for that media player.

The best option for this situation will be a Flash Player. Most popular browsers support flash player, again the user has to install a plug-in to be able to use the Flash media player but who does not have that plug-in already installed?  Almost everything online runs on flash- websites, ads, videos, you name it. Like I said this will be a better option but do not replace the idea of having different types of options to tune in. HTML5 is the new thing, with a simple code you can embed a player and the user does not have to install anything. The down side, ONLY Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Safari support this type of new player. Firefox does not support HTML5 player yet, when all the browser support HTML5 I believe will be the best option.

Finally but not less important a pop-up player

A Pop-up window is a web browser window that is smaller than standard windows and without some of the standard features such as tool bars or status bars. The Pop-up window will pop out of the page automatically or manually. The best option is to set it manually, ¿why? Well most of the browsers today come with a Pop-up blocker enabled by default. A few years ago the Pop-up Windows were very popular but people abused them making the user experience a bad one when these annoying Pop-up windows started popping up all the time.

You are probably asking, ¿Why do I need a Pop-up Player? The short answer is to give a better listening experience to your listener while they see all the pages on your website.

Usually a lot of people embed a player to their website’s Home page or in the case of wordpress to the sidebar. The problem with this practice is when the visitors of your website want to see your site and listen to music or audio you are streaming at the same time, every time the visitor change to another page the streaming audio will cut out. Then the audio will start again when the listener lands on the next page. Unless you have your player set to auto playing, the listener will have to click the play button again and again.

That is why a Pop-up player is a good practice. The pop-up window will stay open playing the streaming audio without any interruption no matter how many times the visitor changes from one page to another on your site. Also another great advantage is if the visitor leaves your page the Pop-up player will stay open so he can surf online and still can listen your audio streaming.

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