Ark v2 works properly on mobile devices

A new implementation of the archive system seems to be working properly on mobile devices. As of today you can try it out using the demo page https://spinitron.github.io/ark-player/. We haven’t deployed this yet on spinitron.com but hope to have that done soon. Try it and share your feedback here.

With this new version you don’t need to use our player. You can use any player that supports HLS. The URLs are formatted like this:

https://ark2.spinitron.com/ark2/WZBC-20211121T150000Z/index.m3u8

Change the station ID and the UTC timestamp to choose the stream and at what moment in the last two weeks to start playback.

For now there are no restrictions on using this. For example you can seek within the stream although the player on spinitron.com won’t offer controls for seek.

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Public Media Apps has incorporated this archive service in their native iOS and Android app. You can try that out at KBCS. The app also uses our API to get program information.

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We’ve been trying out the demo here at WOWD, using iPhone and Android phone. Seems to work fine, no cut-outs, no interruptions, it keeps on playing!

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You can now try the new player on spinitron.com. Add the query parameter arkplayer=2 to the URL of any public web page on Spinitron. For example

Please try it and report back how it goes, especially what the experience is like on phones and tablets.

Note: use of the new HLS server is not yet included in the Ark logs and stats that logged-in users can see in Spinitron.

Hey, I’m new here. I just discovered by accident that KRVM is being archived by Spinitron after the demise of RFA. Awesome! The station hasn’t announced it yet, presumably because some issues are still being worked out.

Question: I notice that some stations are archived in stereo, while KRVM is mono. Does a station have to pay more for a stereo archive at a higher bitrate than mono? Or is it because they gave you the mono link perhaps without considering that stereo is an option?

This is the link to their direct stream source in stereo:

https://krvm.org/stream/krvm-live.m3u

Thanks for reading. This is exciting!

-dave

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I’m using the “arkplayer=2” option to play a KRVM show archived on 11/29 using my iPhone 12, latest iOS, Safari. The phone is playing over a HomePod. I’m 20+ minutes into the show and it’s working perfectly so far. The phone’s screen shutting off hasn’t interrupted playback.

Hi @xdrguy, Idk what a home pod is but otherwise that sounds positive.

@xdrguy we just connect to a live webcast stream and copy the MP3 or AAC data to a file without any trans-coding. I’m a big fan of mono and personally think that stereo is worse than overrated, 90% of the time its positively harmful to the musical experience. I don’t win many arguments with my “Stereo is Evil” rant but I’m sticking with it.

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We updated Spinitron today so that the default archive player plays from the new HLS server described above.

Well, I was excited of course to hear about any improvements that you are working on. However, because we were totally involved in major year-end fundraising, I haven’t really had a chance to test it out or let the rest of the team know about it.

I do wonder if this transition lead to this listener reported bug:

Hi folks,

Just noticed this issue yesterday and it is continuing today.

While playing an archived KXCI show, after 10-15 minutes, the stream simply stops. The clock stops but the button still appears with the pause icon. I click on it, then click again to resume playing, and nothing happens. I reload the page and begin listening again from the top, and the same thing repeats at the same time point.

I’m running Chrome v. 96.0.4664.110 on a 2020 M1 Mac Mini running mac OS Big Sur v. 11.6

This has happened while attempting to listen to Roadhouse Social Club, Mystery Jukebox, Rosie’s Rhythm Room, Halftime at the Apocalypse, Al Perry’s Clambake.

Peace, KXCI member

Hi Amanda! I’ll need some specifics from that user in order to investigate. Would you be able to connect us?

Yes, of course. I think he also emailed Eva when he emailed us.

Here at WOWD/TakomaRadio I had a number of our DJs test out the new archives – this was during the last 2 or 3 days, after Tom’s announcement that the new system is fully operable.

First, the GOOD news – I’ve gotten positive reports from 5 iPhone users, saying it works like the dream and with no cutting out. Most were using Safari browser but at least one was using Chrome on their iPhone.

Now, the BAD news – Everyone who’s tried it on an Android phone reports that it’s still cutting out. One cut out after 6-7 minutes; one after 12 minutes; one lasted about 20 minutes before cutting out. These were all using Chrome as the web browser. (And one guy also tried Opera, same problem).

Finally, the INTERESTING news – I downloaded FIREFOX browser on my Android and got the Archives to play fine.

So that leaves me with the conclusion that there is some glitch involving Android phones (and of course, vast majority of those use Chrome), and likewise Android using Opera.

Sincerely, Steve/Program Director/WOWD/TakomaRadio

To complicate matters, another Android just reported that the archives cut out on his phone after 5 minutes when using Firefox browser, but played fine for 20 minutes with Chrome (after which he shut it down, so we don’t for sure if it would’ve kept playing beyond 20 minutes or not).

Don’t shoot the messenger, I’m just reporting our field-testing results.

Actually, it just happened to me! The sound just dropped out about 30 Minutes in: 20th Annual Sonic Solstice Mon Dec 20 with Matt Milner on KXCI 91.3FM Tucson AZ. Chrome browser, asus q547 computer. I was testing it out because I want to link back to the playlist for a newsletter and I didn’t want to hype it if it’s going to stop.

On another note, I just heard this, too: Recently, I was prompted to go to iOS 15.2 on my iPhone. It seems to have had an unfortunate consequence. All Spinatron past programs now play like a skipping record, no matter what browser I use on the phone. It sounds fine when I replay on my laptop, so I’m pretty sure it’s an issue with the iPhone. Have you heard from any other listeners about this issue?

Updates

A new player software was deployed Dec 23 2021 aimed at the problem of Google Chrome browser on Android turning off the stream after 5 minutes in background. It worked in my tests. Let us know what you find.

There is now a small indicator in the top right of the player. It shows the technology used to play HLS. H means using Hls.js and N means using native HLS support. See below.

The ?arkplayer=2 thing described above is obsolete. That was to allow testing the new player before we retired the old one. But the old one is gone now so there’s nothing for this URL query parameter to do now.

Technical stuff

In v4, the old player software has been removed from the player in Github and NPM. This is what we use in spinitron.com so it’s gone from there too. It created an AudioContext which caused console warnings in some browsers.

To fix the Google Chrome on Android 5 min halt we changed the priority of using Hls.js over native HLS. We had been using the “Alternative setup” which preferred native HLS on systems that could use both.

You can add ?arkdebug=1 to enable some debug messages in the JavaScript console.

The instructions in the player demo page are out of date and wrong. I need to fix that.

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Great to hear of the revised player software deployed yesterday! We will test it out eagerly on Android phones. Assuming all is good, this is a great Christmas present from Spinitron to its stations! (Come to think of it, you first announced beta version of the mobile-friendly archive player around Thanksgiving!)

Wishing everybody a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year – and stay safe from Covid, everybody!

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Hear here! etc…

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