PromsXHQ Frequently Asked Questions

PromsXHQ is an experiment in Extra High Quality (320kb/s) audio streaming for live broadcast during the final week of the BBC Proms 2010.

What are we doing?

As an experiment, we're going to stream all of the Proms broadcasts between 3 September and The Last Night in a new extra high quality format - we're calling the experiment PromsXHQ. The PromsXHQ feed will sit alongside the normal high quality streams on the Radio 3 and Proms web sites and there'll be a short survey for you to complete so you can tell us what you think.

Why are we doing it?

Most people don't know just how good Internet audio can be. By streaming audio at a much higher quality, we'll:

  • Learn just how good we can make the sound we deliver over the internet
  • Raise awareness of the internet as a way of listening in high quality
  • Give you a chance to tell us what you think of extra high quality streaming

Why now and will it continue after the BBC Proms?

We are doing it now because all the pieces of technology have come together to make it possible. We have a brand new digital Outside Broadcast truck at the Royal Albert Hall this year, and a higher quality link to carry the sound back to Broadcasting House. There's also some temporary spare capacity in our broadband distribution which allows us to run this PromsXHQ experiment. It will finish after the Last Night of the Proms. We'll then use the feedback we get to help us decide what to do in the future.

How good is it?

Earlier this year we improved the quality of our sound on the internet by changing from MP3 to AAC coding. For the technically-minded, PromsXHQ uses AAC-LC coding at 320kb/s. This is significantly greater than the 128Kb/s we normally use and which has itself been highly praised for the quality it provides. How good it sound to you will depend very much on the equipment you use; if you listen on the small speakers built into a laptop you're unlikely to notice a big difference, but if your computer is connected to a good-quality sound system or high-quality headphones we think you'll appreciate the extra clarity and detail in the sound. We don't know how much better you'll think it is and that's why we're running a survey alongside the experimental audio.

Can I get 'Listen again' in extra-high quality too?

PromsXHQ only covers the live stream; we can't extend this experiment to cover audio on demand. However the experiment will cover the repeat broadcasts of the BBC Proms.

What do I do if it doesn't work?

This is an experiment so it may not work for everyone. If it doesn't work for you, return to the Radio 3 or BBC Proms page and listen to the normal audio. We'd still like you to complete the questionnaire to let us know what went wrong.

And some history...

The team who have made PromsXHQ happen are based in Henry Wood House, named after the founder of the Proms. The building is on the site of the Queens Hall, which was home to the Proms until it was destroyed by an incendiary bomb in 1941. The team walk past a bust of Sir Henry Wood on their way into the building each day.

  • Listen to Radio 3's Extra High Quality Proms audio on the Radio 3 web site during live broadcasts of The Proms until 11 September 2010. On the same page you'll find a link to a survey about the experiment. Please take a minute to complete it once you've tried the Extra High Quality experience.
  • Help us spread the word about Extra Quality Audio for the Proms by tweeting about the experiment using the hashtag #PromsXHQ.
  • Read Rupert's FAQ for answers to the big questions about PromsXHQ.
  • Read this blog post by Radio 3 Interactive Editor Gabriel Gilson on the Radio 3 blog and this slightly more technical post by Rupert Brun, Head of Technology for BBC Audio & Music, on the BBC Internet blog for further context.

More from this blog...

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.