got the streaming internet radio going in the car

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Audio and Electronics' started by prius123, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. prius123

    prius123 Junior Member

    Joined:
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    winnipeg
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    2008 Prius
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    Anybody listening to streaming internet radio stations in their car? I been testing it out the past couple weeks and wasn't too easy getting there.. thought i might not be able to pull it off. Here's how i wound up here.

    So this all started when i was walking thru a mall by this cell phone store and seen this poster ad saying, "rocket stick" you can plug it in your laptop and get internet wherever! I was there.. hmm.. thats kinda neat.

    Around that time i had been making this mega internet radio stations winamp playlist. Noticed the shoutcast site but you can only play one at a time. A few years ago i was manually able to go thru the whole site and add all of the stations. Too many now. Wondered how i could somehow get them all in there. Noticed each station had an ID and browsing around they seem to tap-out at around 1.5million. So i was there.. hmm.. is there any way i could somehow get them in a playlist without manually doing it. Thought of having a playlist with all the ids and then it would show which ones tuned in, then sort it by name and could weed out the bad ones. Well found this sequential number generator site but it would crap out after however many so couldnt do it all in one.. think i did like 100,000 per playlist and let it run while i was at work. After a couple weeks it went thru them all and wound up with a 50,000 stations playlist of all types of stuff. So i put that on random. Also just went thru their site and made one of just jazz with aac+. So i listen to those playlists at home but after seeing that internet stick, thought hmm.. if i had a laptop in the car and an fm transmitter i could listen to that in the car. The xm is limited in just the one station of one type of genre and thats it. Plus having to pay 180 every year.. bah.

    It was more of an idea in the future if i'd get a laptop.. but then a few weeks ago my brother in law who's a teacher had a box of old laptops from around 02.. he's there.. go thru them see if anything's good. They were in pretty rough shape so erased the hard drives and reinstalled windows xp. They had the geniune serials on the back so that was good.. but yeah.. wow there was a couple dell latitude d600. Awful.. one had a good old cranking hard drive and both were slow doing whatever. Then there was a couple toshiba te2100. Those at least didnt have a cranking hard drive like one of those dells. So i kept one of the toshibas and it works pretty good. think its 1.8ghz.. so good enough to get the job done without it being too much of a hassle.

    Then i went and got an fm transmitter and a cigarette plug to go in the laptop. Get in the car.. the damn plug was making it buzz when you'd have the transmitter on. Thought the whole idea was scrubbed but looked around online and seen if you had a regular house plug but use a dc to ac gizmo in the car then it wont buzz. So looked around for one of those. So that worked and wasnt buzzing.. plus was sounding ok. So then i was ready to go checkout about the wireless internet. There's only a couple places that'll do it around here and only one had unlimited. But its 75$/month. Still wasn't sure if it was able to stream without doing the buffer underrun. The only way i could find out was to go sign up. Would have to pay 200some for the stick but if i did a 2 year contract it'd be free for that. So really going in deep before i even find out if the damn thing 'll work. lol. Well it did.. gotta watch it though cause if its like huge bitrates it'll stop. Good thing i got the aac+ where its half sizes. Think it'll still do 128 but sorta depends where you are if the signal is less.

    And then i had my home internet.. figure i'd cancel my cable and just use this stick at home. I had the lite internet which was 115kb/sec so i was used to things not being all that fast. The stick going around town 'll get oh about on avg 75kb/sec. At home though its less because of the brick walls. I get about 50kb/sec. If you're wondering what thats like.. it can download about 200mb an hour. Like if i go to youtube, the default 360p will pause if you try and stream it. The 240p might work but best to press play and pause and come back later. Yes, the whole internet thing slowing down sucks but i'm not gonna pay double internet so it'll just have to do. Good enough. If you look back at how it was with 56k when i first got on the net in spring of 97.. well that'd be like 4.4kb/sec so this is like 10 times faster. What you'd need though is to just use the stick in the car and regular internet at home.

    So yeah.. i was able to pull it off and could play the internet radio in the car. But that first while i was like having the to keep the lid open and hitting the B key to go to the next song. BAH. That sucked. Plus the sound of a laptop is tin.. i was thinking, it needs like a soundcard or something. But how ya gonna do that. Looked it up and seen how you can get an external soundcard that plugs in the usb and your output in the little gizmo. I was thinking it'd be right on, to just have less tinnish sound, but when i get home i noticed it had this little remote. So now i could have my laptop lid closed and use this remote to change to the next track. That was a bonus.. cause i dont like having that thing open at night while i'm driving around doing my run and naw.. you want it dark in there otherwise people might get interested. So yeah, right on how got things going with that remote. To get that going in the winamp had it set to global hotkeys in the preferences.

    Then i had another thing where when i'd shut the car off i wanted it to keep going without having to re-enter in my password whenever i'd start it up. So bought a new battery for the laptop, 100 bucks.. and it goes for the whole run. Have it set to turn the screen off after 1min and disks off after 3.. but only hibernate after half an hour and shut off oh an hour. Just wanted it to keep going while i was out of the car. So the battery works but i think powering that sound card and stuff kinda wears that whole thing down cause even though i'm running.. like if i'll have a long nite and go do other stuff after, like grocery shopping.. by the end it'll crap out and whoops no power and it shuts down.

    Had looked into this UPS uninterruptable power supply you'd use on a home computer. But they're like batteries in there and you got watt-amp stuff and there's only a certain amount of amps you can power from your cigarette lighter. Just this running a house plug for the laptop, i was pretty much risking frying something.. like when i went to get that dc to ac, it said watts on it and the guy was saying oh thats enough to power a tv.. but they didnt have other kinds. Didnt really have a clue about stuff and it was more like oh, i'll risk frying stuff and find out later. But yeah, that ups thing it just seemed more for home computers so didnt look into that.

    Just this tinnish sound you get from laptop's.. i'd like to run a desktop in the car and have a ups. Not sure how it'd sound.. i think i was testing out thru the headphones in the laptop with that external soundcard and it was sounding like a desktop. But when i got it going in the car.. i dunno if its the fm transmitter but wow you can not add any sort of EQ or it clips. Its bad.. never seen anything like it. I try turning down the sound card main volume to like 70.. and anything more it'll distort and when people say S you get that clipping. Some stations are different than others. Could have to do with this bit-rate. Plus there's differences in volume levels of stations. Really a problem where some are really soft and others louder. I have this winamp DSP/effect plugin, sqrsoft compressor/limiter and its like a normalize where it'll boost low stations. So that really helps. But you can't use EQ at all. Sucks cause you want stuff boosted cause its too flat and tinnish.

    I wonder if i had a wire line-in if i'd have this problem. Looked around online and sounds like they have stuff for the prius where you'd hook up a ipod. I dont have one of those so dont know anything about that. But that was kind neat where you could still use the steering wheel tuner buttons. That'd be great if i could use that and it'd change stations on the winamp like how the little remote does. Probably cant do it though it'd be more of a rca line in. I wonder if the sound wouldn't have this clipping problem with the eq. Is that the fm transmitter doing that? I even got riled up and brough my home stereo EQ in the car and plugged it in the extra house plug.. haha.. but no.. you can't boost the sound at all or it clips.

    So the volume's a bit lower than if you'd change to regular stations. Goes to 60 and if you really want a station loud you can put it to 50 but its not the mega loud thing like the regular radio.. oh well.. good enough.

    Then i had this problem with all the wires and stuff and wow.. trying to get this setup quickly each time. Plus with the -20c temperatures a couple weeks back.. you cant really fiddle with wires cause in 5min you can not bend them. oh and then, you can't leave that dc to ac charger in the car if it's cold.. cause.. haha.. wow that fan in there was totally making noisy racket! nasty..

    So had to think of some way to make this convenient without a whole bunch of wires tangling up. Had this carboard box thats about a foot long by 3/4 foot wide. Plus there's not much room in the front when i'm loaded up so the box would have to tilt 90 degrees with the infrared soundcard receiver light still visible.. hmm.. so i used a bunch of twist ties and fastened the stuff in there. On the bottom is the ac to dc and beside that is the laptop plug. Then have a cardboard separator that i can slide open to unplug the laptop one and plug it into an extension to charge it in the house without taking it out of the box. So then i got a tray with the sound card tied down to it and on the other side a dc splitter to power the fm transmitter and the dc/ac. And the only thing i want coming out of the box is that main cigarette lighter plug and the fm transmitter.. then on the other side is my computer power with 2 usb cables, one for the sound card and another on an extension with the internet stick.

    Wow i had a mess of a hard time with the 2 usb ports and more things like the mouse and if i wanted to hook up this little thumb video camera i got. nope.. usb hubs dont like extensions. What a mess for a week trying to get that going. If you have a regular usb port you can use an extension, but even if the hub is ac powered, nope.. an extension, like on my 320gb external usb drive.. its got like a half foot wire.. if i plug an extension then into the hub, it'll make this buzzing noise and nope doesnt work. Same thing with the little camera. I was like wtf its got no power whats the problem. However.. the internet stick can work in the hub with an extension but that was the only thing.

    Had this idea of testing out being able to have that little camera clipped to the passenger visor and test out if it could stream live to ustream. Well that whole idea didnt go too far. lol.. technically that'd be kinda neat, ya know.. to be driving around and have people on ustream see what you're seeing at the moment. Well, i dont think it could pull it off. First of all, sure that little camera does 30fps if you just click record, but if it's hooked up as webcam it does 15fps.. so if you're moving around its pretty choppy. Tried the capture on it for it to record in the webcam mode and stream out a file but wasnt able to get it going. So could use a screenshot recorder program like camtasia recorder and select the webcam area. Plus have it record what i hear, like the tunes playing. Well, i test it out and start driving, and check it out later and oh the tunes playing at the same time it slows down the video frame rate.. seemed more like 10fps from just the processing.

    So if you'd want to stream internet radio while trying to record the little video camera.. naw it craps out.. nevermind being able to stream to ustream. Like just the bandwidth of the air card can just barely pull off being able to play internet radio.. so you might be able to just upload to ustream but wouldnt be able to tune in to internet radio as well... so bah.. that whole idea, the technology just isnt there yet. I think if it wasnt for this aac+ halving the bitrate, oh just a regular 128kbps fm quality song might have a hard time playing. Havent really checked that 50,000 playlist for mp3 type files.. i been listening to that aac jazz one. Been just a bit of a hassle trying to get this whole idea going.. wow i'm busy doing my run and have had ZERO time to like, pull over and oh i have this song in my head, let me go look it up on youtube eh.. naw.. there's NO TIME to horse around while i'm doing my work run.. so the laptop lid stays closed and just keep that jazz playlist going.

    But yeah, technically you could go look stuff up on youtube and play it in the car. But even at 240p, it'll sound like crap, so you gotta go for a higher quality and would take like 15min to get a song and you have all this video feed you dont need. And then lots of youtube songs are lower volume. You'd have to get something to normalize the youtube volume. One way i can pull it off is by saving the youtube video then opening the flv in media player classic and have the normalize option on. To save a youtube video, on the page you'd go to source and look for |http and you'll find them. Copy and paste that in an address bar and watch it has http:/\/\ so change it to // and it saves the file type as blank so rename it to .flv. But there's no time to "surf around the internet" while i'm working. lol..

    Oh, and then there's the not enough cigarette lighter plugs.. like i've got this cooler bag to keep stuff cold.. so that needs one. This week went around to go find a 3 in 1 dc thingy.. naw.. they only have 2 in 1.. found one at radio shack but it had these blue lights.. ok sure nifty having more attention to the parked car while i'm out and things are running in there. But lol.. at least those lights go off when i shut off the car. Looked around in other stores and was lucky to find a 3 in 1. So now i could fire up my gps going too and could power up my cell phone in the arm rest one. And then hope your amperage isnt going to fry the lot with all this stuff going. Yeah.. would be nice to go for a run out to the country and have fun with the gps but work 7 nites a week.. so not really any time. Maybe some day.

    Oh i went out to the country last weekend and wow when you get outside the city that internet stick bandwidth can really go down. I guess you'd have to test that out see how things stream. Oh, one thing though.. when i was checking those two internet service providers about their services.. wow if i leave the province and use it, i get charged 3 dollars for 1 megabyte! If you wouldnt notice and would download a 1gb movie it'd cost you 3000$!!! that is a major wtf.. like come on. Anybody on here ever get nailed with absolutely outrageous roaming fees like that? You'd think prices would go down by now.

    Works pretty good though.. i get in the car, open up the box, have this one set of wires i twist tied together with the laptop power and the 2 usb's.. pull that out.. then pull out the transmitter and the cigarette lighter plug.. close the box put that down by the passenger side feet. Power up the laptop and its good to go.

    Now one thing i notice while driving around is this damn fm transmitter.. had a hard time figuring things out cause you'll be in parts of town and meh.. gotta change the station. Tried the early part of the dial like 88 and stuff but if i'd move my hand around it'd do static. The end of the dial was better.. so had nothing playing and found a clear area in between two stations. Sometimes though seems like some buildings have something going on where its transmitting some type of interference signal and you gotta change it. I'd like to look into some type of hard wire in but sounds like it'd cost a couple hundred bucks. Can't afford that. Good enough for now. Plus not sure if i'll hand this car back when the lease is up mid 2012. We'll see..

    ok thats enough rambling on for now.. just uh, i dunno.. getting into details about the run-arounds i been dealing with the past few weeks trying to get this going. Anybody else listening to streaming internet radio in the car? I could send you that 50,000 stations m3u winamp playlist if you'd like. Its 4mb though. Plus every few months you have to re-run it cause http : numbers in there change. Still have the couple dozen playlists of all the id combinations though so could re-run it. Those are like 110mb so couldnt mail those. That main one 'll still play stuff for a while though, some stations dont change.

    Anyways.. thats whats up the past few weeks.. got it going and sounds like it'll work so sacked the xm and thats expiring in april. Gotta watch those guys when you cancel.. like last year it had expired and they kept it going for a couple months after then i had a collection agency totally hounding me for that.. wow.. this time i called them and said, no its gotta expire and if its not i'm gonna get a hold of you guys to shut 'er down. So watch out for those guys if you try and cancel.

    ok bye for now. lol :)
     
  2. FirstFlight

    FirstFlight Member

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  3. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human - Animal Hybrid

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    Longest. First. Post. Ever.
     
  4. FreydNot

    FreydNot Member

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    TL;DR

    Did you consider using a smart phone (Android or iPhone etc.) and pluging it into the Aux jack? I listen to Pandora this way and it is pretty much flawless.
     
  5. 10Prius

    10Prius Junior Member

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    Do you have cliffnotes of the above post? :)

    Sent from my Nexus One
     
  6. bretaz

    bretaz Member

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    I have a DroidX, and use Pandora all the time. I tried Sirius the other day, but like Pandora better, plus it just works better in the car. Hopefully Verizon leaves their data plans unlimited.
     
  7. stannc

    stannc Junior Member

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    Prius III with bluetooth, got the streaming going from the iPhone.