Ways to Listen to HPM Classical

There are many different ways to listen to HPM Classical, so we put together a few tutorials to guide you through the process.

On a Stand-Alone HD Radio

In Your Car

On Your Mobile Device

On Your Computer

On Your TV

Listen to Classical Over-the-Air

Digital HD Radio

HD Radio™ is a proprietary digital broadcasting format created by Ibiquity Digital Corporation that allows for broadcasters to send multiple compressed audio streams within one over-the-air signal.  To be able to receive HD Radio™ content, you will need to purchase an HD Radio™.  It is also recommended that you purchase a high quality antenna.

A variety of antennas can be purchased from these retailers:

Many HD-capable radios for both home and automobiles are available from these retailers:

Houston Public Media broadcasts its HD Radio™ content from KUHF 88.7FM.  This tower is 520 feet tall and located southwest of Downtown Houston, midway between Sugar Land and Pearland outside of Beltway 8.  Once your radio is connected, you can listen to one of our three HD channels:

  1. HD-1: A simulcast of KUHF News 88.7’s news and information programming
  2. HD-2: A simulcast of Houston Public Media Classical’s classical music and arts programming
  3. HD-3: KUHF Global, which features contemporary alternative rock from XPoNential Radio, a service of WXPN in Seattle

Though the transmission tower is the same as KUHF, our HD signal does not reach as far as our analog signal, due to FCC restrictions on HD Radio™ transmission power.  Currently, HD broadcasts are limited to 10% of the power of their analog brethren, meaning our HD signal is broadcast at 10,000 watts, as compared to KUHF’s 100,000 watt transmission.  The HD antenna is also located at 1,460 feet on the same tower, which is lower than the analog KUHF antenna.

KUHF HD Transmission Map

As you can see from the above map, while the area covered is fairly large, the transmission quality can drop greatly the further from the transmitter you are.  Unlike analog transmissions, digital broadcasts suffer from a phenomenon called the “Cliff Effect.”  Analog signals gradually degrade over distance, as signal strength decreases and more electromagnetic interference is introduced.  Digital signals represent data that is transferred in either a perfect, complete state or not at all.  That’s why you can receive HD Radio™ signals at roughly the same strength and quality to a point, and then not at all.

Analog versus Digital Signal Attenuation Over Distance (Note: this graph assumes that the analog and digital signals are being broadcast at the same power.)

Listen to Classical Online

Desktop

Listen Live Page

The Listen Live page uses javascript to verify what audio formats your browser supports natively, and attempts to serve the stream that best matches your browser’s capability.  If none of the streaming options are natively supported, the page will check for the availability of Adobe’s Flash plugin and attempt to serve audio that way.  We are reserving Flash as a last resort, because, while Flash is versatile, it still requires an extra plugin to be installed, and has been victim of many security flaws and issues of late.  The web in general is slowly dropping support for Flash, and we felt it necessary to do the same.

 

Outside Services

 Our streams are also available through several outside services that you can listen to using your browser.

 

Standalone Media Players

If the Listen Live page doesn’t work for you, or you simply don’t want to listen in a browser, our streams are also accessible through standalone media players.  We have tested our streams in the following players and can recommend them:

All of our available streams have been compiled into one playlist file that can be opened in your media player, or you can choose which stream is best for you.

AAC (short for Advanced Audio Codec) is an audio encoding format that provides a very high quality-to-bandwidth ratio, meaning you can receive a higher quality stream on a slower internet connection.  However, due to licensing and patent issues, not every player supports AAC.
Supported players: VLC, iTunes, Winamp, Nightingale, Windows Media Player (with plugin)

MP3 is an audio encoding format derived from the MPEG-1 video format.  As it is an older specification, it can’t deliver the quality-to-bandwidth ratio that AAC can.  However, it makes up for it by having near ubiquitous support across media players.
Supported players: VLC, iTunes, Winamp, Windows Media Player, Nightingale, Rhythmbox, Amarok

 

Listening in iTunes

One note about listening to our streams in iTunes.  If you wish to use the HLS stream in iTunes, please do not use the link above.  In iTunes, click File > Open Stream… (or use the shortcut Ctrl-U on Windows, Command-U on OS X), and paste in this link:

itals://playerservices.streamtheworld.com/api/livestream-redirect/KUHFFM_CLASSICAL_ADP.m3u8

If you use the HTTP link listed above in iTunes, it won’t work, so you have to provide this link with its iTunes-specific protocol at the front.

 

Troubleshooting

If you are experiencing intermittent interruptions in our streaming, there are a few things that you can check.  If you’re connected to Wifi, check your connection strength and try moving closer to your router.

If you live in an apartment or similar area and are connected to Wifi, you may need to check your router’s configuration.  Most modern Wifi routers broadcast in the 2.4GHz range by default.  This provides a good mix of range and bandwidth, but within a densely populated area like an apartment building, this slice of electromagnetic spectrum can become saturated, which can greatly decrease the strength of your connection.  Newer Wireless N and Wireless AC routers can also broadcast in the 5GHz range, which may be helpful to use if available.  The 5GHz signal doesn’t provide as great of range as the 2.4GHz signal and can’t penetrate walls or other objects as easily, but is usually less crowded.

It might also help to try some of the different streams listed above, as we use several different streaming servers.  Your connection to one may be better than the others, which could improve your experience.

If you cannot access our streams at all, and are trying to connect to us using an office or corporate network, then your company’s IT department may be blocking streaming altogether.  In order to save bandwidth and ensure quality-of-service for their users, many companies block video and audio streaming on their networks.  We don’t necessarily enjoy that practice, but we certainly understand and apologize for any inconvenience.

 

Mobile

Houston Public Media App

Houston Public Media has a native streaming application on both iOS and Android, which also provides access to schedules and other content from the Houston Public Media website.  Both apps can be found in their respective app stores:

 

Streaming Service Apps

Classical’s streams are also available in a number of other streaming apps.

 

Listen Live Page

The Houston Public Media Listen Live page is also available for mobile.  The page uses javascript to verify what audio formats your device supports natively, and attempts to serve the stream that best matches your device’s capability.  We have tested it with iOS 7-9 and Android 4.1+.

 

Listen to Classical on TV 8

If you watch TV 8 over-the-air, you also have access to a simulcast of Classical on channel 8.5.  Once you connect to Channel 8 on your TV, you should be able to hit channel up on your remote until you reach 8.5.  If 8.5 isn’t available, you may need to rescan for channels on your TV.