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Part II: Home Entertainment > Create Time-Shifted FM Radio

Chapter 9. Create Time-Shifted FM Radio

What You Need
  • An FM radio transmitter

  • An FM broadcast antenna

  • Tools to assemble your transmitter (optional)

  • Audio cables and adapter to connect your stereo or computer to your transmitter

  • Wireless IR receivers (one for each room you'll listen from)

  • FM radios (one for each room you'll listen from)

  • Wireless IR transmitter

  • An FM radio card

  • A computer running Linux, with a sound card

  • A wireless IR keyboard with batteries, or other remote control solution (optional)

  • An MP3 of "Guerrilla Radio" by Rage Against The Machine (mandatory)

For a list of specific parts used in this project, refer to Exhibit A at the end of this chapter.

I wake up at about 6:30 A.M., but Howard Stern starts at 6:00. I'd like to listen to his whole radio show every day, but not so much that I'm willing to give up half an hour of sleep. There are also times when I'd like to back it up a few seconds to replay some funny thing someone said. My TiVo has a button to rewind eight seconds—if I could add that to all the radios in my house, it would be perfect.

If it were a TV show, I'd just set up TiVo to tape it every day, and then start watching the show from the beginning at 6:30. Radio is better than TV in the morning, though, because it doesn't require as much attention. I move around the house while I'm getting ready, and I have radios in every room, and even in the shower. So whatever hack I build to time-shift radio needs to work with whole-house audio.

Whole-house audio is a great idea: you can listen to your television, radio, CD player, or Oggs/MP3s anywhere in your house. Unfortunately, most of the whole-house audio solutions available today are intended for serious audiophiles. I appreciate sound quality as much as the next guy, but it's not worth it to me to spend thousands of dollars to listen to a perfect reproduction of the Howard Stern show while I'm in the shower.

So in a nutshell, I want to time-shift live FM radio, and control and listen to it from anywhere in my house. Figure 9-1 shows how the components of this project fit together. We'll make some custom scripts (called Frank) for scheduling and buffering to record audio from an FM tuner card. Frank will start recording the audio using Sox and OggEnc, and then play it back with a few seconds of buffer using XMMS, a Linux media player. During playback, audio will be played through the sound card, which is connected to an FM transmitter. The FM transmitter allows us to listen to buffered audio from any radio in the house. You'll control the system to pause, rewind, and fast-forward the radio broadcast with a programmable IR (infrared) remote across a whole-house IR distribution system.

Figure 9-1. Conceptual diagram for whole-house time-shifted FM radio.



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