Re: net questions for radio broadcast

Bob Hill (
Sun, 23 Jul 1995 10:24:28 -0400 (EDT)

On Thu, 20 Jul 1995, John D. Lauer wrote:

> Finally, CU-SeeMe simply does not have good broadcast quality audio. Just
> connect to internetRADIO and try to listen for more than 5
> minutes without getting annoyed by the s/n ratio and distortion. The best
> sound you'll get per kilobit is MPEG level III. You can have almost mono
> broadcast quality at 64 kbps. CD-Quality at 128 kbps. But for real-time
> compression you need expensive hardware and for decompression you'll need at
> least a Pentium class machine. This is when I see broadcast digital radio
> across the net a reality.

There are now huge numbers of Pentium-class machines in use around the
world. "Expensive" compression hardware need not be particularly
expensive when mass-produced, certainly not more than $200-$300 for an
appropriate card. Bonded ISDN lines can produce 128 kbps today (I
currently use single-channel ISDN to my apartment at 64 kbps, soon to
upgrade to 128).

This leaves us with the question of the burden on the Internet overall.
As I see it, this is a question not capable of an answer without making
some fundamental decisions about the future direction of the Internet.
It seems apparent to me that the existing Internet infrastructure is not
particularly well suited to large-scale use for audio and video.
However, such an infrastructure could be built; the question becomes at
what cost, and who is willing to pay for it. In light of what people pay
for existing media, e.g., cable tv (not to mention commercial Internet
accounts), there may well be sufficient $$ to justify this type of
high-capacity network; or maybe not. (I, for one, would pay the price of

My experience in listening to KJHK Kansas has been that the current
quality is comparable to AM radio in most cities. Lots of people listen
to AM radio. Unless this usage _actually_ creates such an overload on
the Internet today that it poses a problem (and at least as much of
problem as is caused by people downloading nude pictures from Playboy's
and Penthouse's www sites), I think it should be allowed, even
encouraged, as one of the more innovative experimental uses of the Internet.

Anybody from ISOC, IAB, IETF or other relevant organs having input on
whether and when a high-bandwidth media-type Internet might be available,
your input would be appreciated.

--Bob Hill