BBC HLS streams rate change?

Has anyone else in the UK noticed that the BBC HLS streams via Airable (for National stations, such as Radio 2, Radio 6 Music etc) are currently running at 128K? (ie. not the 320kb/s, as originally supported).

Interestingly, if I select BBC Radio London, for example, it still resolves at the AAC 320kbps…?

Why the change?

Initially this seeks to be down to airable . Perhaps they have entered an incorrect URL? Certainly Radio 3 which should be Radio 3 HD at AAC 320 kb/S for licenced UK listeners has been reduced to 128kb/S which is impacting listening to the Proms and is not acceptable. The non HD stream may be correct for unlicensed listeners outside the UK but should not be provided for those paying for a better service.

Would @Phil or @James please ask airable what is going on?

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Hi Pete,

Thanks for tagging us - David emailed in to us yesterday so we’re already looking into it…

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Thanks Phil.

I was anticipating a perceptible but not important downgrade in sound. In fact Radio 3 ( classical music) is now unlistenable. harsh, glassy upper midrange, exaggerated sibilance etc. This is a major blow to me as the majority of my listening is to this station especially now during Proms season.

If I remember correctly streaming R3 was never this poor historically. Before the HD @ AAC 320Kb/s HD stream was introduced I think R3 was 190Kb/s for the UK.

Let’s hope it is a technical matter rather than a BBC policy decision.

I just checked using the BBC’s own player and a PC connection to it. As you can see for Radio 3 the BBC is still streaming the HD AAC 320kb/s service. I would hate to be forced to go back to a PC/USB connection and be unable to use Mosaic.

Just to clarify, via Roon, the default streams are @ 320 …

Thnks. So we have confirmed that for Radio 3 both BBC themselves and Roon Live Radio files are streaming the correct 320 kb/s stream. So it looks like airable may be using this:

Which is the 128kb/s stream.

Other streams including the AAC 320kb/s for various BBC services can be found here, though these are not proper links. However Peet does give separate 128 or 320kb/s HLS URLs:

Hi Guys,

Obviously you’re more than welcome to delve yourselves but we have escalated it to Airable and they’re looking into it from their end so as soon as they come back to us with something then we’ll let you know…



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I suspect there might be some bandwidth throttling going on here, which, to me anyway, seems the likely cause. Have Airable managed to replicate the issue their end? Have other client platforms (non dCS) got similar issues…?


Hi David,

At the moment all I can tell you is…

We have escalated it to Airable and they’re looking into it from their end.

When it was raised to them they weren’t aware of it being an issue.

When it was raised to them they hadn’t made any changes to their service.

…as such they need to find out why they are only getting the lower bitrate feed so as soon as they come back to us with something concrete then we’ll let you know.




Hi All,

The issue now seems to be fixed. National networks BBC Radios 3 and 4 Mosaic tells me are now AAC 320Kb/s. Makes me very happy indeed.

Turning to the OP’s post, BBC Radios 2, 6 and London are also now 320Kb/s.

Congratulations to airable for fixing this issue and thanks to Phil.

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Good news indeed.

@Phil - any comments you can share regarding where the issue was found?


Hi all,

So the message that we had yesterday morning passed down through our software devs from Airable was…

“…we had to make some changes at our end to allow for some changes that the BBC made to their streams and as of this morning people in the UK should have their higher-bitrate streams back.”

That’s all the information I have I’m afraid.