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New USB radio driver developed

By Chris Williams. Published: 21st Feb 2006, 02:31:32 | Permalink | Printable

Do you README?

A USB radioMusically inclined RISC OS users now have a choice of supported USB radio receivers, thanks to a new driver by Dave Higton. The electronic engineer has created the necessary control software for the AVerMedia USB FM radio, allowing users of the Castle and Simtec USB solutions to tune into their favourite stations from their desktops.

Dave said third party applications, such as !Alarm, as well as people can control the radio. He said: "You can add and edit a list of stations, and tune to the stations by name, and you can mute and unmute the radio. There is a stereo indicator.

"The app will normally run whenever the radio is plugged in to the USB, or when the computer boots if the radio is already plugged in. You can, of course, stop this behaviour if you prefer."

The slim white gadget, measuring around 6cm by 16cm, looks like a mass storage pen drive, and yet is capable of picking up any good quality broadcast on the FM band - and we're talking signal strength here, not programming quality. Although there's an ocean of Internet based radio stations that'll stream audio content to you over the web, having a compact USB radio means you can enjoy music when offline, or alternatively, you can pick up emergency broadcasts in the event of a nuclear war. Use your imagination.

Audio output from the device is sent to a headphone socket on the gadget - it's not possible at the moment to stream the received sound from the USB radio to the host computer. The socket can feed into headphones, a hi-fi amplifier, or a sampler card.

Dave added: "Although !AverMedia is free, I would appreciate a gift of, say, £2 if you use it. This is because I was originally loaned one of these radios as a challenge: 'Here, see if you can write a driver for this'. Now that I have released the drivers, I have to buy a radio so that I can provide support for them. I would like to break roughly even over the project."

He bridged the gap between the two conflicting USB standards by making a version tailored for Simtec users, and another for Castle users. Dave previously developed a DRU-100 radio driver for Castle USB users. His latest driver is available under the open source GPL.

Links


AVerMedia USB FM radio drivers Review of said USB gadget

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Discussion

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When I bought my Iiyama 22" monitor to go with the Iyonix, I got a free USB radio, but I gave away last year because I though no one would write a driver for it. :(

Its great to see Dave now has, and I hope this is the first of many drivers for interesting USB gadgets. :)

 is a RISC OS Userdruck on 21/2/06 9:11AM
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Someone was telling me yesterday you can get USB devices with TV receivers built into them, now that could be an intresting project to write a driver for.

 is a RISC OS UserFuzzy on 21/2/06 10:23AM
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n.b. We have the radio in stock;-)

 is a RISC OS Userchrisevans on 21/2/06 11:33AM
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"The socket can feed into headphones, a hi-fi amplifier, or a sampler card."

What about active speakers? That would be the ideal solution for me.

In reply to Fuzzy:

Yes, those USB TV receivers look very good - it would be wonderful to use one on my Iyonix.

In reply to chrisevans:

How much? But please don't expect a quick sale - I was just congratulating myself on not overspending this month when I found out that tickets to see The Who go on sale this Friday - the USB radio may have to wait a month or two!

 is a RISC OS Usercables on 21/2/06 12:14PM
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Fuzzy: Yes, there are indeed TV receivers available with USB. One of them is the Plextor PX-TV402U (aka ConvertX PVR), which is able to convert analog audio/video into various MPEG variants ready for VCD, SVCD and DVD as well as a DivX variant.

Driver source for Linux is available. If someone wants to have a go, I would be interested in sponsoring the development.

Unfortunately, there is no variant available with a DVB receiver.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 21/2/06 1:09PM
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hubersn: [link]

 is a RISC OS Userbernie on 21/2/06 1:55PM
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Redirection don't work. Try the link >[link]

 is a RISC OS Userbernie on 21/2/06 1:58PM
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Again we go... h**p://www.datakits.co.uk/store/product_info.php/products_id/755

 is a RISC OS Userbernie on 21/2/06 1:59PM
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There are two kinds of USB TV available to my knowledge. Both receive analogue broadcasts, but one (as mentioned above) sends an MPEG stream to the host PC instead of raw frames. The one sending raw frames has very poor picture quality due to the limited bandwidth of USB 1.1 (all that was available when it was released) and the one sending MPEG requires the host PC to decode the data before displaying. In both cases, the computer's processor is put under load to display the image data on screen. Due to this, I would say that writing drivers for USB TV receivers solely for watching TV is pointless as the performance would be disappointing, but the task not impossible.

With a PCI TV card, the card itself writes the image data into screen memory, putting zero load on the processor.

I have the Plextor 402U here but I haven't started writing a driver for it yet. It would certainly be a great video acquisition tool for RISC OS.

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 21/2/06 2:32PM
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ksattic:Modern graphics cards have MPEG decoders built into them - what about the Nvidia card in the Iyonix? Also, there are the modern alternatives - DVD-T USB sticks, which are the same size as this radio. They output an MPEG stream, although it's likely to be packaged differently (in DVB format). I suppose there's potential!

 is a RISC OS UserSmiler on 21/2/06 7:41PM
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In reply to Chris Evans: Where and how much ? Try using search on CJE website and no match, eg radio, usb radio and avermedia. Regards.

 is a RISC OS UserHairy on 21/2/06 10:10PM
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The Radio will be on our website next upload. Price 30GBP + 2.5 GBP P&P

Now the bad news: Unfortunatly the Radio has now been discontinued. But the good news is we have stocks that should last some months:-)

 is a RISC OS Userchrisevans on 22/2/06 11:51AM
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I really do not see the point of this USB radio. If you could play via the computers own sound system, then fine. But as you have to plug external speakers into it, what is the point of this product? If you wanna listen to some music, use a decent hifi!

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 22/2/06 8:53PM
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In response to cables and sa110: The radio has a prefectly ordinary analogue output. This is suitable to feed into active speakers, or to feed in to the sound card's line input. Chris's statement "it's not possible at the moment to stream the received sound from the USB radio to the host computer" is misleading. There is no digital audio output, i.e. you can't stream via USB, but you can certainly input the analogue sugnal and get it digitised in the sound card.

I hope this is formatted OK...

 is a RISC OS Userdavehigton on 22/2/06 9:58PM
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In reply to smiler: Have you got access to one of these DVB-T USB sticks? If you have, can you tell me what type of endpoints it has?

 is a RISC OS Userdavehigton on 22/2/06 10:03PM
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Smiler: Modern NVidia and ATI graphics cards don't have complete MPEG decoders but will certainly accelerate some or nearly all of the decoding process, depending on which card you get. ATI cards are better in this respect. The NVidia card in the Iyonix does have the ability to perform iDCT (inverse discrete cosine transform) in hardware, according to many sources I have read, although this has not been harnessed yet.

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 23/2/06 5:30PM
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