Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question about open source broadcast automation?  Browse and search the knowledge base of popular FAQ.

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What is the cost difference between a radio station and a TV station to implement CAP emergency alerting?

All of our hardware and software products fully support both Audio and Visual alerting, no extra fees, licenses or code required. When a radio or TV station uses our systems to manage schedules and play out, it only requires checking off a menu item and alerts are automatically injected into the broadcast chain. Some stations already have an automation system or run manually operating in a standalone mode, requiring only the player to receive and issue alerts. Alerts are received and played out on demand from the onboard audio and/or video device to mixing board and modulator. Each station is setup and run differently to trigger alerts, using various methods including: streaming alerts on demand, interrupting IP stream or combination using RS232 serial GPIO.

How do I send a HD video stream to a Master Control?

We do this several of ways.

  1. Send out a HD Theora stream to a local Icecast server or a RTMP Video stream to YouTube or Twitch Channel, that can be relayed to Master Control. We can do this now including all the audio encoding and authentication.
  2. Your MC might be picky on what video formats to accept, such as MPEG-TS, MPEG4 that isn’t supported in Icecast. What format does MC prefer?
  3. Output the playout (new model spec have dual Display Port) to a hardware encoder, around 500.00 USD that will be more compatible with MC. MC might have a recommendation for hardware ie Black Magic Presenter
  4. We use the Gstreamer framework that supports many types of video formats and codec, it would not be too much trouble to include one of these into play out, less than 10 hours billable time.

How do I get started with OpenBroadcaster?

Depends on your situation and demand we give you many broadcast choices for Products and Services. We provide you with free open source broadcast automation tools as well as a line of supported hardware.

How many individual media items can the online media library hold?

Current structure gives us 36*36 directories = 1296. Each directory can support 10k without major performance issues with file manager tools, etc. So that’s almost 13 million media items. Otherwise, It is limited by available inodes on the file system.

How does remote access anywhere work? Do I need any special tools?

We are hardened with certificate based security and ease of network administration because it doesn’t require any external applications that poke holes in your firewall. Everything is accessed through a modern web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge) without having to install remote desktop sharing software.

Are you compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux?

For maximum efficiency and mobility, all of our broadcast automation products and services are accessed through a unified web browser interface including current versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Edge.

What is the open source licensing conditions?

OpenBroadcaster is free to use for experimenters, community, the curious… even in commercial applications under AGPL3 Open Source license. Mandatory paid subscription, unlock codes or dongles NOT required for full operation.

How is service and support handled? Is it mandatory to have a support contract?

First line of support is ALWAYS our support site Still having problems? All our paid products and services include one-year technical support. Phone support (9-5 PST, Monday to Friday). For phone support, clients must provide administrative access to port 22 for SSH for the Server. The Player’s Dashboard; port 23233 must be open and accessible from the Internet.

How can our station sponsor custom module development?

Customers are able to sponsor projects to get modules built with new specific features. An example is a new broadcast station that needs to talk to a specific Traffic/Accounting program or social media platform’s website. For budgeting analysis an example is Competitor’s Product “A” costs $5,000.00 and has many bells and whistles, of which only 3 key things are needed for your project. OB licensing uses open source (free), but it will still cost $1000.00 to get it setup on hardware. Out of the box default settings will do 2 key features of Product “A”. Your project requires the missing capability. Using the efficient module environment a custom feature is created for the deficient feature you “must have” for $1,000.00. Result: Customer has stable operating installation, with the 3 key features needed. Save $3,000.00 upfront. Visit our partner program to see examples of custom development.

How long will security and updates be supported?

We provide access to basic security updates for the life of the product (approximate 3+ years) with the same functionality when it was first purchased. All features that you currently have will be maintained. We may offer new features and services in addition to what is currently available as a value added “opt In” service.

How many supported media formats can be broadcast?

Audio Formats


Video Formats


Image Formats


Medium supported

Streaming Audio and Video, AoIP, RTP, Livewire, Ravenna, Image, Colour LED Scrolling boards, Digital Display Signs.

More info on other Codec and Containers

For installations outside of North America, what are the supported languages?

  • POLLY Ai TTS Languages
  • English, French, Spanish, Estonian, German, Chinese Traditional, Thai
  • 60+ indigenous languages of North America
  • Over 40 international languages

We are after an inexpensive STL. What is Barix streaming protocol compatibility like?

OBPlayer generates an MP3 stream direct to a Barix hardware receiver, creating a simple STL (studio transmitter Link). Alerts are generated on demand as mp3 priority streams that can be received by a Barix Exstreamer at transmitter with options to set the port and lead in times.

How does a server manage a network of embedded player boxes?

OBServer runs on one box (or in a VM) managing a network share for large media libraries. Server manages remote units syncing it with schedules and media. Example has 24 hours of scheduled media. If server disappears, schedule and media are buffered on playout device and continue to play uninterrupted. Adding channels and stations is really easy to expand simply by provisioning additional playout boxes for: radio or TV transmitter, digital signage or CATV channel(s). 100% of horsepower is available for playout.

Does CAP emergency standalone alerting service only work in Canada?

Our Alerting systems are built to CAP (Common Alerting Protocol) specifications and conforms to the CLFG (Canadian Common Look and Feel Guidance) 1.2 Our radio and television alerting systems are the CAP (Common Alerting Protocol) we are able to integrate into other countries NAAD alert systems, including: United States, Australia, New Zealand and many other countries.

Do we require local support resources to maintain our station?

We provide a standalone, embedded “Plug and Play” supported broadcast appliance value added service with a standardized delivery model for software and updates. All of our products are built and designed on a common software build ISO image. We do this for a number of reasons, including our customers’ concerns about stability and reliability. In addition to one click updates to a centralized repository of latest stable code, we also offer disaster recovery tools such as a self-installing backup ISO and local settings configuration file.

How do you inject alerts with the Mechanical Relay and GPIO?

We have various solutions. In no particular order, we can provide a GPIO signal to switch mechanical relays and generate on demand MP3 alert streams. Newer digital consoles have GPIO built in that our systems are compatible. Other ways to inject alerts into the broadcast chain are listed here

Desktop or Headless operation?

Headless means the application starts without a GUI desktop and meant for operating in a rack with full access through the web dashboard and SSH command line. Pulse audio is used in Headless Mode with all levels set through the dashboard with support for ALSA and JACK. OBPlayer supports both Desktop or Headless mode.

Are there any special offers for non profit societies, NGO and companies?

We support non profit companies, NGO, startups and maker spaces. Contact us and we will happily provide you with a customized plan.

Do you have any used equipment for donation?

Sometimes we have used gear for sale or donation on our Specials page where we list Demo and slightly used gear. We always provide free open source software to the community at large.

Subscribe to our Newsletter to get up to date information and check back out Donation and Sponsorship.

Where can we Demo, Experiment and Evaluate?

Skilled to run a web server? Have existing hosting? Zero Budget? DIY is the way to go. Source code available from GitHub for Server and Player We support inexpensive Raspberry Pi radio super computers with a low cost development platform that gets you a demo to evaluate.

Streaming Relay Server?

Relay Server to reduce network congestion. Never stream out of your playout automation box as your main public service mount point. Streaming services, should be separate and segmented in your firewall. You do not want the public to touch your internal network. Use a dedicated streaming encoder/server at your studio and a relay media server, located on an outside gigabit connection to the internet. Send one single stream to this relay server and have public users connect to this server. This service is widely available and/or host your own relay server on AWS. Properly manage your network, run speed tests and sniff around for other sources of congestion and competing processes.

Do you support Shoutcast or Icecast?

OBPlayer streaming output supports Icecast as well as Shoutcast media servers including music, images and video for a visual radio experience.

How do I create multiple channels and streams?

One player can be created in >Player Manager, automatically creating a schedule for that player. Additional players may be created with stand alone schedules. Another way is by creating new players and then selecting it to be cloned by an existing parent player. This allows multiple players to be setup as clones. In this case, only one schedule appears and is shared to multiple players.

Why did Icecast mount point disappear?

Sometimes in a very rare occasion, gstreamer gives error messages and makes the icecast mount point disappear. Has happened several times on a media item in a schedule PL. What is puzzling is overide is not selected in dashboard. Probably because the player is trying to encode to 192 khz, but Icecast can’t accept anything more than 48100 khz

Rasberry Pi's are in very short supply right now.  Are you aware of an alternative board that is compatible with your Pyrate image?

Same here, our commercial line hardware has supply issues, all over.  We will be releasing an upgraded IMG for PI 4 sometime this year. We recently updated the public server installer, running this will get a login to server. Get Debian Bullseye 10+ running and this should get the dependencies met.

See list of supported IoT hardware boards on our support site.

  • Raspberry Pi V 2.0
  • Raspberry Pi V 3.0
  • Raspberry Pi V 4.0

Please share any other hardware known to work.

We offer affordable custom scalable Enterprise Broadcasting solutions designed to meet your community radio and television needs. Subscribe to our Newsletter to stay uptodate with the latest news and developments in the world of broadcasting. Our team of experts is ready to help you with your project. Moreover, we invite you to contribute to open source broadcasting projects and become a Sponsor. To learn more about our services Contact us today how we can help you to get started now!

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