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I'm one of today's best-selling computer book writers, with more than 15 million books in print.

This website keeps you up-to-date on my books, and your computers. Each week, I answer a reader's question on-line.

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Recording Internet radio stations

ShoutcastQ: Do all Internet radio stations broadcast using MP3 format at 128 Kbps bit rate? And how do I record Internet radio stations onto my computer’s hard drive?

A: Internet radio stations can broadcast (commonly known as “stream”) at any rate or file format they prefer. But many choose 128 Kbps because it strikes a good balance between sound quality and bandwidth. Plus, MP3 is so popular, nearly ever media player can handle it without problem. Still, some Internet radio stations also broadcast in formats other than MP3. One of my favorite Internet radio stations, SomaFM, for example, broadcasts in MP3, aacPlus (mostly for Mac owners), and WMA (for Windows Media Player).

If you’re interested in the technicalities of Internet broadcasting, check out the Setting Up Your Own Internet Radio Station page from SHOUTcast. SHOUTcast offers hundreds of Internet radio stations to choose from, in a wide variety of streams. You can even download programs that let you broadcast your own station. (Your ISP probably doesn’t give you enough bandwidth to do this, though.)

Recording Internet radio stations can be difficult, as many Internet radio stations don’t want you to record them. And Windows doesn’t come with a built-in method of capturing Internet radio. If you don’t mind downloading third-party programs, this Web page explains how to record some Internet radio stations.

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