18th April 2021, updated 25th August 2021
David at megapico.co.uk
At the end of April 2021 the Reciva internet radio station
aggregator is due to close down. This leaves the radios either
useless, or dependent on streaming via a media server running on a
Building on the Sharpfin project
which gives access to the internal software of the radios it has
been possible to create a very tiny format media server that will
run on the radio itself. This makes it possible to stream radio
stations while also retaining the self-contained radio format.
Your favorite stations can be entered via a webpage on the radio
and then selected from the radio front panel almost like normal,
but going via the Media Player.
Version 1 of the media server will stream radio from MP3 format
station feeds (just like the original Reciva radio). It has been
tested with streams from 24 to 320 kps.
Quick start - after powering on the radio go to the Media Player,
select UPnP servers, and the rest should be obvious.
|Select Media player from the radio top level
||Choose UPnP Servers
|The Sharpfin media server running on the
radio is called "Browse radio"
|The folders here are those you have organised
through the radio web interface. Some example stations are
||Select the station you want.
If a station is already playing the new one will be queued up. Click the Fast Forward (>>) button to move to the new station.
|The radio will connect to your station.||When the station starts playing the duration you've been listening is displayed - the radio will behave like it's playing an everlasting track from the media server.|
If you change station the new station will be added to the
'queue' since the radio thinks you are queuing up individual
tracks to listen to. Just press the Fast Forward (>>) button
to jump to the new station.
You cannot pause and time shift stations. If you pause the
station it will pick up in real time when you restart (other than
a few seconds of buffered data).
From the Radio Home page of the Sharpfin web page look for the
Station Management entry.
Here you can upload lists of stations and create folders to
organise your stations. If you click the name of an existing m3u
stations list already on the radio it will download so you can see
the format and edit it to contain the stations you want.
The stations listed should be the actual stream addresses, not
m3u or pls addresses. If the station you want only lists a pls
file just open this in a browser and look inside it to find the
real stream address. It is this real stream address that needs to
be stored on the radio.
(1) If you change through lots of stations it can get confusing as
they are 'queued' by the radio. Use the Fast Forward (>>)
button to move to the next in the queue, or clear the whole queue
by going back up to the Media Player level and choosing Clear
(4) If you have multiple radios running on the same wi-fi network and more than one of them is running the media server they may interfere with each other. In this case they can display strange text instead of the stations you expect listed. I had configured the media servers to be self-contained within the radio, but somehow their presence is found by other radios (a consequence of UPNP media servers being designed to advertise themselves across the network!). The immediate solution is to only run one radio at a time on the same WiFi network if using the internal media server. Improving this will be something to look at in the future.
If you decide to remove the Media Server (e.g. to make space on the radio to try out other options) this can be done using the standard Sharpfin package manager "ipkg".
The internal media server is based on existing open source software adapted for use on the radio.
Cross-compilation for the Arm 920T processor used in the radios
is in 2021 quite difficult as this processor and the Linux 2.4
kernel running on the radios is ancient and very different to
modern Linux distributions. The original Sharpfin project gives details of how to do
it, but it won't work on a modern 64 bit computer. Current
compilers available from Arm no longer cover this very old
processor. The solution here was to run a Linux distribution of
similar vintage to the radios using a virtual machine (Slackware
9.1, released in 2003, running on Virtualbox) and use that to
cross-compile the Arm format binary files. With this system the original instructions
on cross-compilation can be followed.
Installation has been found to take up 112k of the main storage
area of the radio, and needs a little more than this during the
installation. This was found to be available ok on the radios
tested (see below) and they still had 200-300k spare after
installation. The station lists are stored on a separate area to
allow them to be updated via the radio web interface. There's
space to store in the low 100s of stations - the web interface
shows how much space you have left for this.
The installation and running of the media server has been tested
and works on the following radios and service packs:
As with any Sharpfin modifications to the radio the media server
comes with no warranty and you proceed at your own risk.