Paul Makepeace ;-)

October 26, 2004

Hitchhiker's Guide Radio 4 direct link

Posted in: Drivel

BBC Radio 4 has produced a new series Tertiary Phase of H2G2 which has run for five episodes so far.

Here's the direct link to the archived stream (copy to clipboard and open with the player):

The rest of this entry is a whinge about Real Player and the BBC website; ignore at leisure.

You can listen to the last week's episode online: great; it's in Real Player format: sucks; it just doesn't work: sucks harder. Why do people broadcast in Real? It requires an annoying proprietary player, costs the broadcaster money to license, the sound quality is not great, often just does not work, and is piloted by a truly loathed and deceptive company.

The Beeb's own site is broken: in Firefox (considered by many the best browser currently available for any platform) on Mac OS X clicking the "Radio Player" for this week's episode produces a pop-up player. Which doesn't work. Even with Real Player installed. Attempting to click the empty player buttons auto-downloads a Windows version of Real Player. Useless. After I manually searched out a Mac version and got it to install the pop-up player still doesn't work. Still useless.

The only way forward was to dig around in the HTML source code of the page and extract the URL of the stream, then load that via Real Player itself ("Open Location", Apple-L).

Save yourself from crappy players and poorly tested websites, here's the link: (live stream is

I encourage you to leave feedback for the BBC here.

Posted by Paul Makepeace at October 26, 2004 17:32 | TrackBack

Yeah it sucks. But MP3 isn't streaming and Windows Media is arguably more proprietary. Personally I think they should use streamed Vorbis or Speex (OGG).

In the meantime, you can try RealAlternative, a hacked version of the Real codec without the bloated player and adware:

Posted by: Dave at November 3, 2004 19:02

Hey I never suggested WMA or MP3 instead! MP3 is streamable but it's still proprietary too.

Definitely better with OGG/Vorbis. The Beeb even did stream with OGG for a while but ran out of resources. Shame.

Posted by: Paul M at November 4, 2004 10:57
Post a comment

Remember personal info?