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AlienBBC is a plugin for SlimServer and for the Slim Devices that allows for the Slim Device to be able to access and play any number of BBC Radio streams but also adds the ability to listen to any RealAudio streams.

For information on Slimserver software see SlimServer Info For more information see General Slim Devices website. For information about the AlienBBC plugin see [1]

This guide will attempt to explain how to setup AlienBBC on your Gentoo system. Feel free to add your own tips and tricks, and feel free to correct me if you find something that doesn't work!

Install SlimServer

The first thing to do is to get SlimServer installed and working.

Manual Install

There is Slimserver Wiki at [2], just go to the bottom of the page and there is a section on installing and upgrading on Gentoo. Please be aware if you upgrade, you will have to redo your AlienBBC install!


There is also an embuild available, in this bug [3] I personally found this difficult to use and implement as there is a whole raft of packages that need to be added, although once working it seems fine. I have NOT yet tried the AlienBBC install on the ebuild version although again there is an ebuild for AlienBBC in that bug report.

Installing Mplayer

AlienBBC requires Mplayer to stream from the various BBC (and other!) music sites. Basically, the stream is then converted to MP3 / WAV / FLAC and then streamed to the Slim Device (or network stream). For general Mplayer help on installing make sure you have a look at the many resoures on this Wiki MPlayer

I installed my SlimServer on a headless machine, with lots of storage and which has all my MP3 files on. As such I had to be carefull that X wasn't installed as part of the Mplayer install! If you are using the machine with X / Gnome / KDE etc. you shouldn't have to worry.

To install Mplayer with the minimum I used realplayer codecs in win32codecs. This stopped Realplayer from being installed and thus stopped xorg from being installed. I also added the relavent hardware codecs for my CPU into the mplayer flags (not listed here) as these help sinificantly in the overall performance.

echo media-libs/win32codecs real >> /etc/portage/package.use
echo media-video/mplayer -real aac mad win32codecs >> /etc/portage/package.use

Once the install is complete, remember to run env-update

Just to make sure that mplayer is installed correctly, I did the following:

# which mplayer

I then ran the following commend to check that I could attach to one of the BBC streams and the it played correctly:

# mplayer rtsp://*/ev7/live24/radio1/live/r1_dsat_g2.ra
MPlayer dev-CVS-060217-10:46-3.3.6 (C) 2000-2006 MPlayer Team
CPU: Intel Celeron 2/Pentium III Coppermine,Geyserville (Family: 6, Stepping: 6)
CPUflags:  MMX: 1 MMX2: 1 3DNow: 0 3DNow2: 0 SSE: 0 SSE2: 0
Compiled for x86 CPU with extensions: MMX MMX2
91 audio & 206 video codecs
Playing rtsp://*/ev7/live24/radio1/live/r1_dsat_g2.ra.
STREAM_RTSP, URL: rtsp://*/ev7/live24/radio1/live/r1_dsat_g2.ra
Resolving for AF_INET...
Connecting to server[]: 554...
Cache size set to 640 KBytes
REAL file format detected.
Stream description: Audio Stream
Stream mimetype: audio/x-pn-multirate-realaudio-live
Clip info:
 name: BBC Radio 1
 author: BBC
 copyright: (C) British Broadcasting Corporation 2006
Opening audio decoder: [ffmpeg] FFmpeg/libavcodec audio decoders
AUDIO: 44100 Hz, 2 ch, s16le, 44.1 kbit/3.12% (ratio: 5512->176400)
Selected audio codec: [ffcook] afm: ffmpeg (FFmpeg COOK audio decoder)
[AO SDL] Samplerate: 44100Hz Channels: Stereo Format s16le
AO: [null] 44100Hz 2ch s16le (2 bytes per sample)
Video: no video
Starting playback...

That should cache the connection and start playing the stream, with Starting playback...

Now, if like me there is'nt a sound card on the server you will get some errors, but the main thing to check is that the stream starts playing and therefore it can be converted!

Installing AlienBBC

First download the install from I have taken the install instructions from this website, [4] for the install.

Extract the tar file into the main slimserver directory, in the manual install I had this set to /usr/local/slimserver. Ensure that /usr/local/slimserver/Bin/ is executable by the user that you run slimserver with e.g. 'slimserver'.

Once this is installed, restart (or start) your slimserver:

# /etc/init.d/slimserver restart

Login to the SlimServer web interface (default http://slimservname:9000) and check that AlienBBC is listed under Radio.

Next, go to Server Settings > File Types and look for the section:


I selected RTSP to MP3 which worked fine for me. Click on Change and you should have a confirmation at the top like

File Format Conversions 21:
Setting was changed.

If you get an error make sure that the permissions are correct (i.e. the user that runs slimserver owns the files) and make sure the file in /usr/local/slimserver/Bin/ is executable by the user.

That's it! You should now be able to browse all the BBC stations through the SlimServer web interface and through the Squeezebox.

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Last modified: Fri, 05 Sep 2008 09:10:00 +0000 Hits: 9,102