The british BBC not only produces am excellent TV program (Top Gear anyone?) but also a very good radio lineup. So, if you’re fed up with utterly crappy local radio stations, just like me (rant about the total shitty radio stations in Munich coming up soon, probably), you might want to listen to the BBC’s online radio streams.
Unfortunately, and most probably due to stupid music industry license problems, the BBS does not “broadcast” their programming to the “whole internet”. Yeah, I know, I know, this sounds funny… Of course again the internet shows it’s nicer sides, because it lets you listen to good radio programs nevertheless. Here’s how:
BBC offers it’s radio programs in various streaming formats. One is unfortunately Realmedia, which is, as we all know a total shitty company, whose “player” (aka. crappy malware) will never get on my computers. VLC implements Realmedia, but at least at my place the playback stops after a while and then comes back sounding like rubbish. Making the playback buffer larger helps a little but after a while the problem comes back…
The good thing is, that the Realmedia stream seems to be available from outside the UK. So, if you are insane and have the scrappy Real Player on your computer, you might just use one of the streams from this list: http://support.bbc.co.uk/multicast/streams.html
But of course we want to listen to BBC using VLC, because we want to record the brilliant saturday night’s Essential Mix. So when crappy Real crap (I really hate this stuff) doesn’t work correctly, we need to look at the other streams offered by the BBC. One is a WMV Windows Media Stream, which has also a higher bitrate. These streams can only be accessed from within the UK.
What you got to do is use a Proxy server located in the UK, when opening this stream. You can use this list to discover free proxy servers in the UK: http://www.xroxy.com/proxylist.php. Just enter one of these proxys into the the “Input&Codecs” tab of VLC’s preferences. Don’t forget to set the port number as well. Then, just open the stream’s URL (should end with .asx) from the “Open Network” menu entry and after a while the program should begin playing.
You can also start VLC with the correct proxy and stream URL from the command line:
VLC mms://wmlive-acl.bbc.co.uk/wms/bbc_ami/radio1/radio1_bb_live_ep1_sl0?BBC-UID=242934ec303114dd438f3944e0e064f950d2343050209104644fd6af1214acab&SSO2-UID= --http-proxy=188.8.131.52:3128