What does ‘Bitrate’ mean?
Radio streams are encoded (compressed) to a ‘bitrate’. The bitrate simply refers to the audio quality of the stream, this is measured in computer terms in ‘kbps – kilobits per second’ or ‘k’ for short. As a rough guide; listening to a station in 128k stereo would sound like CD quality, whereas 24k would sound more like listening over the phone. It is also important to note that users with a dial-up internet connection will not be able to connect to anything higher than 24k.
Most radio stations like to offer 2 or 3 streams, usually a low bitrate (like 24k) for users with dial-up, a medium stream (such as 64k) for users with ISDN/Lower powered broadband and a high-quality 96/128k stream for the majority of internet users who will have high power broadband connections either at home or work.