Earlier this year the BBC started a program to clear out some of the legacy in their radio network + introduce some content distribution quality. Primarily:
International feeds that were MP3 streams are being switched off rather soon. They are switching to 96kbit AAC streams in HLS containers.
UK, Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey streams require an agreement between the BBC and the 3rd party company distributing the streams. The streams require a rolling token to get access, that require server side logic to implement this dynamic token generation.
We rolled out 1) at the start of this year and 2) is now rolled out as well. If all is well then it ‘should just work’
There is no clear defined date when HLS streams without a token will stop working, but for Naim customers we wanted to get this implemented early so any issues can be resolved quickly.
If you do get an issue with a BBC preset failing to play, first thing to try is browse to the radio station in the directory, play it and then save the preset again. This change has introduced a few backwards compatibility issues and on a system that goes back soooo many years a few subtle compatibility issues are expected.
Any questions, do post below.
Naim Audio Ltd.
Ok. So, I have a 2010 Naim Uniti (Mark 1). I’m ex-UK in Dublin.
For the last couple of days, for the first time, I cannot listen to BBC Radio 2/3/4/5. (BBC World Service is still working.) Resetting (switching off/on) my Uniti makes no difference.
I have tried List/Directory on my Uniti for alternative URLs and there aren’t any.
So, I presume BBC have finally closed on their promise to stop broadcasting on these streams in mid-2023.
What can I do, if anything, to recover BBC radio on my Uniti?
Is your firmware up to date? If the new BBC streams are using HLS it will need to be on (I think) version 4.3 or later.
So, if that’s ok, how do I make my Uniti find the new streams? Or, have the new streams been released yet?
Good question, maybe Steve will have some suggestions. The latest firmware is 4.8 so while I don’t know if that will help, it’s always worth keeping up to date. I vaguely recall that 4.8 had an HLS radio update of some sort in it.
As expected, the BBC internet radio streams I had as presets have stopped working on my Uniti (Mark 1; streamer version 4.7).
I’ve tried to locate the new streams in the directory using the Focal & Naim app (iOS app version 6.2.0; build version 9153) but no iRadio stations (not even non-BBC stations) appear. The list remains empty. I can still listen to my preset Classic FM stream, even though it doesn’t appear in the iRadio stations list on the app.
Any help with getting BBC internet radio streams working again will be greatly appreciated.
I hadn’t thought of checking the app. I had just been trying via the remote control presets.
Would the app have a more up-to-date list than List on the Uniti screen?
Just go to iRadio on the app. You’ll see this screen.
Then go to BBC, choose the station you want, and save as a preset or favourite as you wish.
Quite a low bitrate on the new streams
Thanks for your feedback.
Uniti 1’s and old servers
If these are very first generation Uniti’s (2008-2012) then unfortunately these devices do not support HLS due to the sheer age of the processor, so BBC radio streams will no longer. If on the home internet radio menu there is no BBC then your unit cannot support it. The BBC have asked us to stop using the old MP3 stream and they are switching it off very very soon.
I’ve checked other non BBC stations and as long as they play in AAC or MP3 format, then they should play.
The only real option is use the FM/DAB module built into those products to get BBC Radio.
For reference the menus on the front display and Naim app are identical content wise. The app reads the menus from the product and formats then in a nicer way on the app.
As a side note the Unitiserve, HDX, NS01, NS02, NS03 also do not support HLS so will also loose BBC radio support. Due to the age of the platform and the tech company Digifi that made the platform back in 2006 closed down in 2015, we have no opportunity to add HLS support to them.
There should be nothing new to see for those based in the UK. It’s a backend server change and it should just play. Bit rates of either 320K (HD) or 128K (SD) are offered.
For those based outside of the UK BBC geozone, then the old MP3 stream is replaced with an HLS AAC 96kbit stream. Based on some packet overhead that reports on now playing as ~101-102kbit, but it’s the same stream. Based on the more efficient and superior audio codec sound quality wise its better than an MP3 at 128kbit.
I see someone posted some URL’s in this thread for BBC stations. The MP3 link posted will stop working very soon so this at most will be a very very short term life line. The HLS (m3u8) link are now legacy and that will also stop working later on this year. The new BBC URL’s take a rolling token parameter and each distribution channel has a unique private key after signing their distribution licence with the BBC.
Naim Audio Ltd.
Hi Steve, if these early units have had the 24/192 board upgrade does this limitation still apply?
24/192 ‘eDMP3’ are fine. If a unit has very old firmware in it then it may need to be upgraded to v4.8. There was a BBC/HLS compatibility patch on v4.6 (I think released around 2015) so that is the minimum version to have.
If in doubt, our helpdesk can advice on a personal basis based on device & serial number.
Time to sell my Uniti, it seems.
My NDS has stopped receiving BBC, i have tried reselecting stations.
Hi I live in Wexford (Irish Republic), and cant get any of BBC stations (except world) to play on my NDS streamer. At first I spoke to a UK dealer I used to buy from and he pointed me to a BBC R3 101 hls stream that worked from the directory. That was about 2 weeks ago. That has disappeared, and everything the app brings up for BBC seems to be 96Khz which would be fine if it worked. However, they all say ‘can’t play’ when you select them. Other broadcasters ‘conventional’ streams work fine. I have not updated my NDS to the very latest firmware, i.e. 4.8, as I am still using the previous 4.7 with no problem, and thought the update was principally needed for TIDAL which I don’t use… Am I wrong in this assumption, and is it needed to decode hls encoding in some way. I have resorted to using the BBC R3 URL in a computer using VLC, and then feeding that into a digital input of the NAS (just using it as a DAC). Any ideas what is occurring ? Steve O
Firmware 4.8 does include an HLS-related update. It is described as non-BBC, but that was then and might nevertheless still apply to the new BBC HLS situation. If you contact Naim support, they are likely to ask you to put the latest firmware on your NDS, so I suggest you should do that first now anyway.
We’ll check your use case here and get back to you shortly. I think this is a https tls1.3 issue, as v4.7 can’t handle all the very latest https cyphers, while v4.8 can.
If that is the case I’ll ask vtuner to use the non http streams to help smooth over compatibility.
Can you try playing International BBC Radio 2 (96kbit one) and see if it now plays. The play URL has been adjusted to http, rather than https.
Likewise my 24/192 NDX running latest 4.8 firmware
My 2019 272 is on 4.8 and I don’t see the BBC option in the iRadio menu.