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free radio streamsI don’t know about you, but I tend to listen to Internet radio streams quite a bit, enough to where I’ve got a subscription to one. It’s fairly easy to listen to them already, but it stinks that I have to use a full-fledged media player for it, especially when I move onto my netbook.

Thankfully, there’s a little application for Linux that can solve this problem by playing the Internet streams that I want in a very discreet way.

About Radio Tray

Radio Tray does this in a very user-friendly way. It plays your selected radio stream and hides itself in the system tray. It also offers a couple of options to customize your listening experience.

Installation

In order to install this in Ubuntu, you can go into the Ubuntu Software Center and choose Radio Tray. For other distributions, you should be able to find a Radio Tray package with a name like radio-tray or something similar. Once the installation completes, you can go ahead and launch the application.

First Run

free radio streams

The first time it runs, it’ll ask you where you’d like to place the tray icon. On Ubuntu, you must choose App Indicator or else it won’t show. For other operating systems, Icon in the Notification Area will work.

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If you choose an option and the tray icon does not appear, you’ll need to remove the /home/<user>/.local/share/radiotray folder and try again. Otherwise, you’ll see a tray icon that you can use to manipulate what Radio Tray does.

The Tray Icon

internet radio streams

When you click on the icon, you will see that there are already a few categories present along with some Internet streams inside of them to get you started. You can play around with these to try out how Radio Tray works, although don’t be surprised if some of these default stations don’t connect. It seems that the default station list isn’t updated very often. When a station isn’t playing, the icon will stay gray, but when something is playing the icon will turn blue.

Preferences

Under preferences, you’ll find a couple options that you can make use of. There are menu items for Volume Up and Volume Down, for a sleep timer, for reloading bookmarks, and for Configuring Radios. If you want the entire system to shut down at a certain time, you can go to the terminal, and do the following:

Type

sudo at 17:30

, then hit enter and type in your password, then type

shutdown -h now

 and hit Ctrl + D. You can replace 17:30 with the time you actually want it to turn off.

Configuring Radios

free radio streams

When you configure the radios, you can change the groups, stations inside the groups, add separators, move them all around to your preferred order, and plenty more. Radio Tray supports virtually any audio formats (as long as the codecs are installed), so it shouldn’t matter what kind of format the radio stream is.

Conclusion

Radio Tray is a very simplistic app that will play your radio streams simply and easily. With all of its functions and interface hidden in a little tray icon and its low memory usage, this little application does wonders for all music lovers.

What’s your favorite Internet stream player? Why do you like it the most? Let us know in the comments!

  1. Tom Jackson
    December 23, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Great blog entry!

    Some radio stations offer streaming in different formats. Can anyone suggest what is the optimal format for streaming sound?

    • Danny Stieben
      December 28, 2011 at 8:20 pm

      MP3 and AAC seem to be the best formats in streaming. MP3 is well recognized while AAC-HE is quite compact and conserves bandwidth for the same quality.

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