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Help & How To Listen

You need a computer with a sound card, speakers or headphones, a web browser and a connection to the internet. You also need a plugin or dedicated audio software. Users with either Flash Player or Windows Media Player will have the best experience with ABC streams.

Download Players

You will need a player plugin. In most cases this will already be installed on your computer. However, if you need to install or update your player, you may need to temporarily disable virus protection on your computer to complete the player installation. Make sure you re-enable it afterwards. For more help installing these players refer to the manual or help files for your computer, browser or device.

Some workplaces don't allow users to install media players including Flash or Windows, so you may need to contact your IT department to check if this applies to you.

Download the Flash Player or download the Windows Media Player.

Trouble Shooting

The most likely problem is that you don't have the player plugin installed (see above). However, the following solutions to faults may also help.

Congestion - dropouts or being unable to connect at all.

If you are having drop-outs (the audio stops and starts) and you are listening via our default stream or our windows streaming, the problem is most likely that you don't have fast enough internet to your computer. This may be a result of the speed of your internet plan, or the number of other users your ISP has in your local area. You will need to contact your ISP to get help with this.

If you are listening via our Shoutcast streams, it may be the problems listed above or it may be that we have too many users trying to listen at the time. In this case either try to connect to our default Flash stream, our Windows streams or try again later.

Player not appearing

You may need to enable javascript (see the help files for your browser on how to do this), or update your player. If you are using a device or platform that cannot install the Flash or Windows player, use our Shoutcast streams. Keep in mind that our Shoutcast streams have limited capacity so you may experience congestion.

Unable to listen behind a firewall

Some workplace networks block streaming. You will need to contact your IT department to check if this applies to you.

Bandwidth Usage

Flash streaming at AAC+ 64kbps (our default) uses 28.8MB/hour
Windows Streaming at 96kbps uses 43.2MB/hour
Shoutcast MP3 at 128kbps uses 57.6 MB/hour (These can only serve a limited number of people)
Shoutcast AAC+ at 48kbps uses 21.6 MB/hour (These can only serve a limited number of people)

Mac Users

The changes we've made will make listening much easier for Mac users. As stated above, you will need to have Flash installed to access our default streams. The best way to listen will be via the player windows launched above, or from the radio station websites. As a last resort you can use our Shoutcast streams, although the latter have limited capacity so you may not be able to connect during busy times.

International Use

At times, when the ABC does not hold the rights to stream content internationally we will be restricting access from people outside Australia. In this case we may provide alternative content on the streams, or international users may not be connect. This will happen frequently for sporting content, but may effect other content at times.

I use an iPhone/iPad App and the radio streams have stopped working.

For people using the official ABC applications, there's a free update in the iTunes store. It will connect to the new streams.

The ABC iPhone application update (iTunes App Store Link)
The ABC iPad application update (iTunes App Store Link)

If you're using an application that is made by someone other than the ABC, you need to get in touch with them. We've contacted the makers of the applications that we know about, but there may be more applications that link to our streams that we don't know of.

Be aware that data costs may be high when streaming on mobile networks.

I'm hearing an audio message telling me to update my bookmarks.

You've come to the right page. All the direct links are below, although we think you'll get the most reliable experience if you use either the default players above or the windows streams.

I want to use iTunes/WinAmp/Something else.

The Shoutcast streams below are widely compatible with a range of software, however we do only have limited capacity on those links, so if it is at all possible for you to use our default streams (above) or our Windows Media streams below you'll get a much better experience.

Shoutcast AAC+
Shoutcast MP3

How do I stream to my mobile phone?

Depending on the make of your phone, one of the formats we have available will work for you. Phones that can use our default Flash streaming (launched above), should have the most reliable, consistent service. Other phones may need to use one of the alternative formats.

Be aware that data costs may be high when streaming on mobile networks.

The old system worked, why bother changing it?

Our observations, confirmed by feedback from a number of users, is that many people couldn't connect to the streams, that there were frequent audio faults ranging from static to cross-talk to drop outs. Mac users had to go through a complex download and installation process if they wanted to use our streams.

Another problem with the old system was that it was quite inefficient in terms of download weight to audio quality. Unlike broadcast radio, online streaming also gets more expensive as the number of people listening increases. The new default listening format cuts - by half - the bandwidth cost per user while keeping the same audio quality. This is crucial for the ABC's sustainability.

A third factor is that a lot of the hardware that comprised our old system was past "end of life" and unsurprisingly it was starting to break. Circuit boards and hard drives were stopping and power supplies were failing.

That said, we know that changes are disruptive and we know they will inconvenience some people. However we hope that the information on these pages will help mitigate the inconvenience.

Contact For More Help

If you have read and acted on all of the information above, tried the links below and still can't listen please get in touch via the ABC's reception advice service.

We've Improved Our Streaming Systems

The ABC has upgraded our live radio streaming systems; all the way from our encoders to our servers to the player windows. The new system is easier to use, will have less interference and drop-outs, and is much easier for us to maintain.

New Formats

For each one of our streamed radio stations, we're using the same formats, which we believe will serve the greatest number of users, with the greatest efficiency, on widest variety of browsers and devices possible. We are also delivering a much better and more consistent experience. We hope that the improvements we've made will help you manage your bandwidth bill. The following details are for those who really want to know the nuts and bolts - we hope that for most users it should "just work".

Default Format: Flash streaming: AAC+ 64kbps

For most people, we think this will be what you'll use. It's the  default when you launch a radio player from an ABC page. The only plugin it needs is the Adobe Flash player version 10 or above - which is on more than 95% of desktop and laptop computers, including Macs.  It uses a very efficient form of audio compression (AAC+), gives high audio quality at relatively low bitrates, which is good for the ABC and also reduces our users' bandwidth costs.

This serving format (RTMP) allows us to use a CDN (content distribution network) which means we can serve many audiences at once. Using the flash player on player windows gives us a lot of control over the design of the radio players.

Download the latest version of the Flash Player

This format will use 28.8 MB/hour.

Windows Audio 96kbps

This format is also available from ABC Radio player windows. It too is served from our CDN, but we have less control over the design of the player windows.

It will cost users a little more bandwidth, and won't be as easily used on Macs or other platforms such as Linux.

This format will use 43.2 MB/hour

Shoutcast MP3

This is our fallback format. It is widely compatible but less efficient in balancing audio quality and bandwidth. A considerable disadvantage of this format is that we have very limited capacity. Because our Content Distribution Network (CDN) does not offer shoutcast streaming we are only able to serve a limited number of users across our services. If it is at all possible on your listening platform - be it laptop, desktop, mobile or wi-fi radio - please use either Flash or Windows streaming instead of Shoutcast MP3.

This format will use 57.6 MB/hour

Shoutcast AAC+

This is the format we use to reach a wide range of mobile users. It is slightly less compatible with devices than Shoutcast MP3, but it is more efficient in its use of bandwidth. Again however, our CDN does not offer Shoutcast streaming so we are only able to provide this format for a limited number of people at a time.  If it is at all possible on your listening platform - be it laptop, desktop, mobile or wi-fi radio - please use either Flash or Windows streaming instead of Shoutcast AAC+.

This format will use 21.6 MB/hour

Real Media is being discontinued

We are going to be switching off our live Real streaming. This listening format has fallen in popularity around the world, and the plugin is present on fewer and fewer people's computers. We believe that there will be very few people who cannot use either the Flash Player or Windows Player on desktops or laptops, or as a last resort use our Shoutcast streams.

Why We're Doing It

We believe that the changes we've made have a number of benefits. From higher audio quality to easier to use players.

Better Players

Using the Flash player gives users a simpler listening interface that is normally less intrusive. For those who do not want to use Flash there are other formats available.

Links To Alternate Formats

More Efficient Technology

The formats we've chosen meet a sweet spot between audio quality, compatibility and bandwidth costs for users and the ABC. Audio compression technology has advanced significantly in recent years, and these changes apply many of those improvements to the ABC's streaming system.

More Consistency

Most of the ABC's radio services are now available in all formats to all users, and the listening experience should be much more consistent across all the networks. At the moment, ABC Grandstand is not available in AAC+ or MP3.

More Browser Compatibility

By introducing Flash streaming, retaining Windows streaming and implementing Shoutcast streaming as a fallback, we believe that we will be available on as many browsers, platforms and devices as possible. Flash streaming will be of particular benefit to Mac users (although iOS users will need to use our Shoutcast streams - we strongly recommend the Shoutcast AAC+ streams for mobile users).