Question about streaming audio

Forgive this sort of techie question. I have downloaded the “Real Player” which to me seems to be a bunch of worthless crap. Whenever I go to a site that has “real audio” and try to download, it says “buffering” at the bottom, and then after a while it quits on me telling me it couldn’t maintain a link to the server. Why on earth doesn’t “streaming” audio allow you to save the file to your player so that even if the connection is slow, you can play the file eventually? The way things are now, it’s all or nothing. You either get a good connection or no audio, period.

Is there something I’m missing? Is there a player that lets you “save” an audio file you’re downloading so that you can play it without having to “stream” again? I tried to play an NPR (national public radio) file, but I can only listen to it late at night when the net isn’t congested, but even then it skips and starts. I’d rather wait for the download and play the damn thing in it’s entirety without the interruptions and skips and starts.

This “streaming” technology is a needless waste of bandwidth, imho, especially since it doesn’t work half the time. I have a cable modem, so it’s not my modem speed btw.


I use a 56.6 modem and the streaming audio works pretty well most of the time unless it is a very popular site.

It helps not to have a lot of applications open that eat up memory or browse the web eating up bandwith.

The sound quality isn’t great, but it gets the job done. I mainly use it to listen to sporting events or things like old NPR stories.

Some files are only available for streaming, as a copyright kind of thing. They don’t want you to be able to have a copy on your hard drive, so you can only view it as their server sends it to you.

FYI: You can’t say that with any certainty. Cable modems have a huge potential bandwidth but if you call your cable company you will find that NOWHERE will they print or tell you a guaranteed minimum bandwidth. The more people in your neighborhood who have a cable modem and are using them the slower response you will get.

As soon as cable modems came available in my neighborhood I snapped one up. For the first few weeks I was FLYING! I got download speeds in excess of 350k/sec. That’s the fastest I’ve personally EVER seen ANYWHERE.

However, a few nights ago when Napster looked to be getting shut down I went online and my response times were miserable. I wasn’t going for Napster but I’m guessing plenty of people in my neighborhood were. Regardless of what was happening my speed was drastically reduced compared to my early experiences and this is an ongoing issue.

If you like there are places on the web that will test your throughput on your modem. I don’t recall off hand what it is but I’ll look it up if you like. I bet you’ll be surprised at how ‘fast’ your modem really is. They’re still good, almost always better than a dial-up modem, but they aren’t quite what the cable company would have you believe either.

Notice how clear the darn commercial they make you listen to sounds?

I’m not stupid. If my modem weren’t fast for other things. (like a regular download for example) I wouldn’t have mentioned the fact I had a cable modem. I knew someone was going to bring this up. The cable modem isn’t the problem, it’s the way real audio is set up and I’m just wondering if there’s a program that will save your download and then play it instead of relying on a steady “stream”.

Think about what you’re asking. If you want ‘live’ audio (i.e. realtime radio) then streaming is all you can get. There is no file to download as it’s created and broadcast on the fly.

If you want to save the file to your drive and then play it there are thousands of places you can do that. Want music? Try Napster and download as many files as you wish. Use WinAmp or another MP3 player, set a play list or tell it to randomly select and your done.

If you want a file that’s saved in the RealAudio format right click on the link and select ‘Save Target As’ from the menu to save to your drive for play later. If the site is savvy and has it copyrighted then this selection may not be available and all you can do is stream the audio.

There’s one such site. I’m sure there are others. And for the record I have cable as well. Thankfully my company didn’t put any sort of a cap on it so I get anywhere from 300K to 1meg dl’s depending on site traffic.

I have a slower modem and still get decent streaming audio. I do not think it has anything to do with the fact that it is streaming. It may depend on the site. If it can’t keep up with demand it doesn’t do you any good to have the fastest modem west of the Mississipi.

on a side note, i like your name Rusalka. how did you come up with it?