The Streema Blog

Posted on by Streema Team


Following the improvements we mentioned in our previous blog post, now we're back with more news about our player - after all, Streema is about playing radio and TV. :)

Before we start, something important to mention is that, as we've explained before, Streema does not provide the streaming service, but rather it provides the platform for tuning in to stations. However, in many cases we're not able to play a radio or TV station because there's a broken stream or because we don't find compatible players. Here are some figures to explain that better:

For our Radio Desktop users*, last month (August 2013) 70.3% of them were able to play a radio station, while that number was only 57.6% a year ago (August 2012).

*These figures do not include external players - if they did,
the percentage of successful tune ins would be much higher.

 

To do so, a big part of the work was fixing and updating thousands of streams. Additionally, we have also improved how the plugins work as well as the number of plugins supported - for example, last year 13.4% of our users couldn't play a station because a of plugin compatibility issue, today that number is only 6.1%.

As you might know, a plugin is a software that allows, in our case, to play a station in your browser, so part of our job is to find plugins that will make the audio and video work on your desktop, tablet, or smartphone.

All this has been the result of both testing and measuring better as well as understanding the behavior of our users. Thanks for listening and watching!

Hopefully in the not so distant future we'll have a chance to share some data regarding mobile as well as TV.

Stay tuned!

The Streema Team

Posted on by Streema Team | Posted in Help Center, Infrastructure, Radios, Streema.com, Technology | Tagged , , ,


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Posted on by Streema Team


Today we have great news to share - after much thinking, testing and measuring, we have rolled out our new player for desktop users. This is a piece of work that we started months ago that has involved many aspects of our website, ranging from technology to User Experience (UX).

The prototyping started, as always does, with many features and information that we thought were "must haves". We then realized that everything we wanted was probably not going to fit, so we tried to reduce it as much as we can. After all, this was probably going to be a continuous experiment lasting many months. In other words, we tried to simplify the experience of listening to a radio station - and, in order to do that, many actions and transitions had to be taken into account.

So, something that sounds very simple as listening to a radio station actually has at least 3 separate steps:

1) Identify the station that is going to be played.
2) Show visual feedback for Loading, Buffering, etc.
3) Play the station or, if it doesn’t work, provide other options to listen to

To do that, we enhanced features and included additional information, such as the following:

  • Radio Logo to identify the station.
  • Enhance the Stream Status: Connecting, Play and Stop.
  • Simplify the Stream Status to: Connecting, Play, Stop or if station can’t be played, give more options for listening.

In addition to that, we also have developed a better Favorites list - that is something we want to highlight in the Streema radio listening experience.

That said, probably the most noticeable change may have been the format, since we changed our player from a "wide" shape to "narrow" one. This was a usability decision too, firstly because we found it to be a better format to present the necessary information. And secondly, because listening is something everybody does while doing other things on their desktop computers, so we thought it would fit better on the side of the computer screen while people read, chat, etc. To do this, of course, we had to cut some parts out - we did that with the commenting feature and with certain radio information that was not absolutely necessary. Some of these may make a comeback in the future, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Also, do keep in mind that this is our first release and that there’s still a lot of work to do, but as we've mentioned, this is "continuous experiment". We hope you remember those words when using our player. ;) And what’s next? Better Now Playing information, additional social feature integration, and a few more things that you’ll hear about soon, we promise.

As an aside, for those of you interested in the process, we had to measure many things - performance, of course, but mainly user behaviour. For example, we previously found out that a user that listens to a station for 10 minutes will mostly keep listening for hours, so our tests were based on that criteria. In other words, we measured how different features and layouts caused users to listen to at least “10 minutes”, and then come back the next day and also the next week. Those for sure would be “Happy Users”.

We think our current player is the result of wanting a cleaner look and employing a minimalistic approach, but it will evolve as we continue experimenting, measuring and learning.

Life is a journey, our player is one too. :)

Stay tuned!

The Streema Team

PS: True! We haven't mentioned anything about the new look for the blog. Thanks Andrea Giannangelo for that theme.

Posted on by Streema Team | Posted in Music, Player, Streema.com, Usability | Tagged , ,


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Posted on by Streema Team


This is yest another quick update to let you know we have accomplished an important milestone:

Our website Streema.com has had an Uptime of 99.88% over the past year

This is the result of the work we started in early 2012 when we realized that we had a lot to improve in the areas of Uptime as well as Response Time.

So, even though our Uptime numbers aren't perfect - since we still had in total over 10 hours of downtime in 365 days - we still wanted to share this value with you since we know it's appreciated amongst our users.

Regarding the other area, Response Time, we haven't made as much progress in the last year, but we promise to have good news in the next report. ;)

Stay tuned,

The Streema Team

Posted on by Streema Team | Posted in Infrastructure, Streema.com | Tagged , , ,


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Posted on by Streema Team


This is just a short update to let you know we've updated our Homepage, you can check it out here.

As we've mentioned recently, we're slowly restyling our entire desktop website, and this was an important milestone - hope you like it. :) Also, the new Radio and TV players are coming soon, so stay tuned!

One more important thing: we would love to feature more images of radio and tv stations, so if you own or work for one, please contact us. Thanks!

The Streema Team

Posted on by Streema Team | Posted in Radios, Streema.com, TV, Usability | Tagged , , , ,


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Posted on by Streema Team


In our quest to bring you a better product at Streema, over the past few months we've been spending more and more time talking to our users to learn about their pain points while using our service.

So we emailed our registered users and also used a live chat client called Olark to communicate with our non registered visitors. These were the most recurring answers:

1) "I can't listen to a particular station"
2) "I have issues looking for stations"
3) "I can't access the whole Streema directory on my mobile device"

As for the first issue, not being able to listen to a particular station, this is the most complicated one. It can be caused by several different reasons, and here are some of them:

  • Required plugins are missing which are needed to get our player to work.
  • Codecs that the stations use aren't supported.
  • Streams have changed recently and we don't have the latest one.
  • Stations aren't streaming online anymore or simply aren't broadcasting at all.
  • Geographical restrictions exist, likely due to location-specific licensing issues.
  • Connectivity issues happen while trying to listen to a station.
  • Listener capacity is full.
  • And the list goes on...

So what are we doing about all these issues? Our technical team is currently working on adding new codec capabilities to our player, but it is very difficult to support ALL the codecs that exist, so it might take a while to get your favorite station to work on Streema.

Also, our content team is currently working together with radio station owners to keep our database up-to-date, with as many working streams as possible. And of course, we are constantly upgrading our infrastructure to service our growing user base.

The truth is that there are many issues and since it is almost impossible to solve them all of them immediately we arrived at the conclusion that it is essential to communicate WHY you can't listen to your favorite station and WHAT you need to do in order to listen to it. That is why we'll be working hard on enhancing our player's notifications to the user. And by doing so, we can continue to build Streema as the go-to website for listening to broadcast radio.

As for the second biggest pain point, which is to be able to easily find stations, we have something in the works. As we mentioned on our previous post, we are currently working on a restyle of Streema’s website for desktop users, and as a part of this process we are re-thinking and improving how our users discover radio stations. We will have some news really soon! :)

And finally, regarding our mobile users, we will continue to build a better mobile browser version while we start planning our next move. Who knows, there might be something 'native' in our near future... ;)

Thanks once again for your feedback, and please, be patient, we are working hard to improve our player and we really look forward to have the best listening experience on the web.

That's all for now. Please do let us know what you think!

The Streema Team

Posted on by Streema Team | Posted in Customer Support, Help Center


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Posted on by Streema Team


For a while now, we've been wanting to restyle Streema's website for desktop users. And here we wanted to give you a heads up of what's coming!

First, let's take a step back - one of our priorities was to change our site without confusing our users. There are many things we needed to improve, so we've been working hard on the "facets of the honeycomb" - mostly in the following attributes: useful, usable, findable, accesible, and credible. (thanks Nico!)

To start off, we silently rolled out a new layout for our radio profiles. This is what you'll find now on our site:

Also, as a sneak peak, here's a mockup of what we think our homepage could look like:

... and for those site builders and web enthusiasts out there, here are two possible wireframes for our new radio player page:

Bear in mind that this is a work in progress and that we may implement something completely different, but we still wanted to share this with you. :)

Hope you like what you've seen above and hope you will soon enjoy a new and improved Streema. Stay tuned!

The Streema Team

Posted on by Streema Team | Posted in News, Streema.com, Usability | Tagged , , , , , , ,


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Posted on by Streema Team


For the first time in history, the total number of smartphones and tablets in the world will surpass the total number of PCs - and it will happen this year.

What you've read above is one of the most important points of the report Mobile Trends by KPCB (see slide 26 for more details). As you can see, 2013 will bring an important inflection point for people's interaction with computers. Since mobile is becoming increasingly important in terms of Streema.com's usage, we have been working on a few improvements that we wanted to tell you about.

To start off, when you visit http://streema.com from an iPhone, iPod, iPad or Android device's browser, you'll find we've developed a mobile-friendly homepage with some featured radios that our users can start listening to - sweet and simple.

Also, since not all streams are supported by mobile web browsers, we only show the stations that can actually play in each of those platforms. We know that having only a fraction of the stations available is less than ideal, but the truth is that we want to make your life easier and give you the best experience possible.

Finally, as we've mentioned in our previous post, we've improved our customer support, and that also includes our Mobile Support. It's very important for us to hear your opinions, so please, don't hesitate in giving us your feedback. Do bear in mind that this is a work in progress and that it will be evolving over time. :)

For those registered users out there, we'll soon be working on letting you log in to your account with your mobile phone so you can find and edit your favorites. Additionally, in the not-so-distant future, we'll start showing the "now playing" information, offer the possibility to comment on a station's Wall, as well as add compatibility to more devices and much more for our mobile users, so stay tuned!

The Streema Team

Posted on by Streema Team | Posted in Android, iOS, Mobile | Tagged , , , , , , ,


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Posted on by Juan


As you may already know, last December we announced that we were "Connecting the World of Television Stations to Streema". Today we want to show you some of the most popular TV Stations we have in our directory.

To start off, for News in the United States, we recommend tuning in to WABC-TV from New York, NY (ABC Network).

In case you want to watch Sports, check out Wilamette Valley Television from Salem, OR (America One Network).

And if you're in more of an Entertainment mood, check out CBC Montreal from Canada (CBC Network).

Bear in mind that for now, we only have TV Stations for the United States, Canada and Mexico. We're also only publishing the main channels for each TV Station, but we'll be adding the rest in the future.

Hope you enjoy those stations and discover more of the world of Sound and Vision:

Stay tuned!

The Streema Team

Posted on by Juan | Posted in TV | Tagged , , , , , ,


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Posted on by Streema Team


At Streema we want to build a better product - and a big part of that is to listen to your needs, suggestions and feedback. To do so, we recently launched the new Help Center.

The Help Center is at its core a selection of "frequently asked questions" divided in sections plus some other useful information. And if you don't find what you're looking for, you can still contact us directly! Additionally, we're trying out a few different features like offering instant support (i.e. chat window) and allowing users to publish public questions. Let us know what you think of these!

Bonus: for mobile browser users, we've prepared a custom mobile FAQ where you should find most of your answers. ;)

In case you want to know a little bit more about the technical implementation, we used Desk to develop the Help Center and Olark for the instant support.

Anyway, that's all for now. We really hope you can now find better answers to your questions while having an improved experience at Streema.

Stay tuned!

The Streema Team

Posted on by Streema Team | Posted in Help Center | Tagged , , , ,


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Posted on by Streema Team


It's no coincidence that the first music video shown on MTV in 1981 was a song called "Video Killed The Radio Star", that there is a great band called "TV on the Radio", and that many of the major radio stations also belong to the same media groups that own TV stations. There has always been bonding, comparison, even rivalry between the TV and radio and we cannot deny there is a connection between them. The two main broadcast media for the 20th Century are more related than one might think.

From the technical point of view, it's true they transmit in different parts of the radio frequency spectrum (USA example), but on the human side, they share actors, producers and directors, and many of the roles played on TV are also played on radio. TV is about entertainment, news, sports, education, politics, culture... it's not a surprise that radio has those same genres as well. And at the end of the day, TV is about connecting with people and radio is about connecting people. When we look at what we want to do at Streema, it's connecting people.

We already have radio, so why not bring TV to Streema? Well, we thought it was a great idea and we did it! Starting January 1st, 2013, you'll be able to watch TV on Streema. We'll start with a few TV Stations from North America, but over the next few months we'll be adding more from the rest of the world. Hope you enjoy this end-of-the year announcement! We know we will. :)

And given that that 2012 is coming to a close... Happy New Year and see you in 2013!

Stay tuned!

The Streema Team

PS: Here one of the songs we like more of TV on the Radio:

Posted on by Streema Team | Posted in Streema.com, TV | Tagged


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