Frontier Silicon and vTuner aggregation aggravation continues

Many thanks to a number of SWLing Post readers who’ve contacted me regarding the ongoing issues with WiFi radios that rely on the Frontier Silicon/vTuner aggregator partnership. Two days ago, we mentioned this in a post about the service outage that affected Sangean and Como Audio WiFi radio devices.

Turns out, the outage was a sign of deeper troubles that will affect any Internet radio device using the Frontier Silicon aggregator. I know that at least Sangean and Como Audio use the service, but I image there are many more, especially in some automobiles. Indeed, this might also affect devices which use the vTuner service.

At present, I am unable to use my Como Audio Solo or the Sangean WFR-28 WiFi radio. Both require re-saving all of the presets.

Sangean posted a short message on their devices yesterday. Dennis Dura notes:

I have the Sangean WFR-28 and just came home to find a message on every preset saying “due to recent changes to our internet radio service, you will need to save your presents again”.

Not only that, but many of the menus of the radio have changed.

And most bizarre, in the Genre setting, they have eliminated “Jazz” as a category, and have added many I’ve never before or heard off. How does a company eliminate a category that is understood across the world?

Como Audio actually sent an email message regarding the lapse of service yesterday evening.

The Como Audio message described, in some detail, what had actually taken place. Much of Como’s message was based on the following message Frontier Silicon posted on their website:

Why did the service change on 7th May 2019?

On 1st May 2019 we experienced a major outage of the Internet Radio & Podcast service used by our customers’ Internet Radio devices. This was caused by issues with a third-party service provider that were outside our control.  The service provider has also informed us that they are unable to ensure service provision beyond week commencing 6th May.  Any such failure to provide the service would have caused the Internet Radio functionality on all our customers’ devices to stop working unless we had taken this remedial action.

As a result, we have made some changes to the way the service is delivered, and you may notice the following changes:

  • We have deployed a replacement service, and configured all devices to use it.  It may take several hours for your device to see the new service.  Older devices may need to be powered off and back on again to force them to see the new service.
  • We are using a new provider for the Internet Radio and Podcast directory.  You may discover some new stations and podcasts that were not previously available, and you may find some stations and podcasts are missing.  If you notice a station or podcast that you think is missing from the database then please raise a support ticket and we will aim to get it added within 2 business days.
  • You may see some slight changes to the menu structure on your devices due to the change of provider.
  • The previous customer portal is no longer available, and so you can no longer use it to add your own stations.  If you would like a station adding to the database then please raise a support ticket and we will aim to get it added within 2 business days.
  • It is no longer possible to recall Favourites.  Depending on your device, we recommend using the Device Presets or Last Listened functionality to recall your favourite stations instead.
  • Any Device Presets that you have previously saved will no longer work and so you will need to resave them.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused as a result of these changes, which we have made in order to provide continuity of service for customers and users.  This is a large and complex migration and whilst we have tested and rehearsed this scenario in advance there may be an initial period of reduced service stability.  We will be monitoring the service closely during this time and will communicate any issues via the status page at https://status.frontiersmart.com/.

If you have any further comments or questions about the service then please browse the Knowledge Base, and submit a support ticket if you cannot find the information you are looking for.

Of course, we all know that the “third party” is the vTuner aggregator. I’m curious who Frontier Silicon will use now as an aggregator, or if they’ll self-host the database.

A number of readers have reported issues saving their front panel presets and other favorites. My guess is that this functionality will return after the new service is fully implemented. I also assume Frontier Silicon could implement any missing music genres (like the Jazz genre Dennis mentioned). At least, I hope so.

One thing we’ve learned is how very little is actually stored locally in these WiFi radios. It seems everything down to the front panel presets rely on the aggregator functioning properly.

If you have one of the affected WiFi radios, please comment about your experience getting it back online and loaded with station presets. Please report any quirks you encounter during the process. I’ve gotten mixed reports about the Como and Sangean mobile phone applications working properly.

I shall now go about re-saving all of the presets in my family’s WiFi radios.

Spread the radio love

84 thoughts on “Frontier Silicon and vTuner aggregation aggravation continues

    1. Dogmatix

      There are other reports about Frontier being the subject of a takeover bid by the Science Group, which already owns 28.3% of Frontier:

      https://www.sharesmagazine.co.uk/news/market/6483789/UPDATE-Science-Group-bids-for-Frontier-Smart-Technologies

      https://www.youinvest.co.uk/articles/stockmarketwire/175100/update-frontier-smart-tech-receives-approach-rivaling-science-group

      https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-7201953/MARKET-REPORT-Tempers-flare-14m-AIM-tech-takeover-tussle.html

      As for the owner of Vtuner, he is not happy that Frontier refused his attempts to charge more for his services – so much so, that he even switched off Frontier radios’ access for a few hours to put pressure on Frontier. He posts on forums casting doubt upon Frontier’s business acumen and Airable’s database quality. A lot of bad feeling there!

      Reply
  1. Daniel

    I’m late to the party. I just found out about vTuner’s trouble when I went to the web portal to save a new favorite internet station for my Yamaha receiver. I was greeted with no search function but a request for donations instead.

    The $3/year being asked isn’t such a big deal but what’s the business model now? Nearly all the hardware manufacturers look like they’ve migrated to a different aggregator (mostly TuneIn and airable). That only leaves users like me who have “older” products that won’t be getting a firmware update and are therefore stuck on vTuner. (Side note: Thanks, Yamaha. I spent nearly $3,000 just six years ago on your top-of-the-line AVR and apparently it’s deemed too old for you to care about supporting any more? F*ck you, I will remember that next time I upgrade my gear).

    So how is $3/year from a presumably-small number of users who respond to that plea going to keep vTuner in business and pay all those salaries when the company’s biggest corporate clients are gone?

    Reply
  2. Charles

    Summited a support ticket 2 weeks ago,still waiting.
    Frontier was excellent ,one could organize favorites from a long list from all over the world.
    A question was answered asap.
    Is not worth the agravation to buy an internet radio.
    My new one was returned.

    Reply
  3. Simon

    When Philips sold their audio division to TPV Technology of Hong Kong they decided to start disconnecting all their Philips Streamium internet radio device’s connections (some which cost up to GBP£900) whenever they were powered off completely, without advising existing customers still using them or even admitting it to their support department to advice this when customers contacted them.

    Again all were programmed to first connect to a Philips server before connecting to TuneIn Radio, for their aggregator’s streams, so they had ultimate control. Through many months of complaints for those who still had these once expensive devices or who’d paid to have them expensively repaired with the official Philips repair agent, they kept silent about the real cause, whilst customers around the world suffered.

    I eventually took al my Philips devices to be recycled but have ended up in the same situation again having now purchased devices using this aggregator! As others have said, the current situation with these devices using a single aggregator leaves them rendered as a doorstop when the said aggregator goes down.

    Also, as others have said, there’s nothing wrong with the medium of internet streaming, as many of us who live in areas of very poor reception, with no DAB or digital TV and rely on expensive satellite subscriptions, the internet’s crystal clear reception is a lifesaver, as is the vast selection of content that then becomes available. The problem, as others have mentioned here, is the business model for aggregators. The situation whereby equipment manufacturers tie customers to a single aggregator with no guaranty of future service and pay them little or nothing is obviously the model causing the problem here.

    If all those affected all wrote to their respective national regulatory bodies to demand action on compliance with standards which protect the consumer and allow for a stable business model, this mess could be eliminated. My letter goes off today to Ofcom here in the UK.

    Reply
  4. Carla

    The ” ticket ” is wordless ,I asked for the settings of my favorite stations in different countries, languages, the answer” yes there is a radio in Beirut, or France, but one has to find it.
    I hope Frontier goes back again, just in case my newer internet radio I returned.

    Reply
  5. Pingback: Aggregation aggravation update: Frontier Silicon working on Favorites and Personal Streams | The SWLing Post

  6. Dogmatix

    Frontier’s support page is now announcing:

    “Based on customer feedback we are working to add Favourites and Personal Streams into the new service. Please bear with us for a few weeks while we develop and test this functionality.”

    Reply
    1. Suffering in Silence

      It has now been 25 days with no access to the subscription stream for which I continue to pay. Please join me in asking Sangean and Auna to refund the purchase price. The internet radios they sold me no longer work as promised in the owner’s manual. Find their customer support portals and make the request. Something has to give soon.

      Reply
      1. Carmen

        I have returned my newer auna ,no point to keep it without service of favorite stations.
        The ticket when they answer is to agree yes there is that radio and not how to set it.

        Reply
  7. Bruce

    Minutes ago, I sent the following inquiry to Roberts Radio, whose internet-radio products have also been affected by this problem for several weeks now:

    “Any news on when my model (Stream107), purchased
    February 2018, will have its “Favorites” feature restored?
    I used to have dozens of favorites listed. The “Last
    Listened” option holds only 10 entries. With 5 of them
    often used up by the most common ones in the 5 preset
    buttons, that leaves only 5 others.
    Even if Roberts Radio is unable to fix the online database
    service, how about a FIRMWARE DOWNLOAD that expands
    the “Last Listened” folder to hold at least 100 entries?
    Very disappointed. I have loved using this radio for the past
    year. Now it is very inconvenient.”

    I hope this problem with the “aggregators” can be solved soon, or at least that the LAST LISTENED feature can be greatly expanded in its number of stations to serve as a de facto FAVORITES list. Otherwise, this device becomes a frustratingly inconvenient brick more suitable for holding open doors.

    Reply
    1. Dogmatix

      An alternative might be to increase the number of presets. The only problem here is that on models similar to the Roberts Stream 107 / Sangean WFR 29C, lacking remote controls, the extra presets would only be accessible via the UNDOK app.

      Reply
    2. Ray

      I have experienced the exact same problem with my Roberts Radio 83i. It is now rendered almost useless! I used to use it all the time to listen to great radio stations but now it’s unusable. I don’t know if this will be sorted out or can you change to a different “provider”? I am now having to use TuneIn to listen to some good stations on my mobile.

      Reply
  8. Bob Faucett

    On Frontier’s website, I’ve noticed this announcement for the past several days:

    “We are currently experiencing a large volume of support queries. We are prioritising adding missing stations and podcasts, and will be responding to all other queries as quickly as possible. Please accept our apologies for the delay in response.”
    https://support.wifiradiofrontier.com/portal/home

    Further down the page, Frontier stated back on May 7:

    “If you notice a station or podcast is missing from the database then please enter a support ticket and we will aim to add the stations to the database within 2 business days.”

    I submitted a service ticket (#6293) to add a station and, as of the date of this post, it is now 7 days old. It’s status is still listed as “Open”.

    10 days ago, I submitted a ticket to add a station and within 2 days the station was added. That ticket was assigned number 949 and its status is now “Closed”. Notice that just 3 days later, my second ticket had the number of 6293 when I submitted it. So, in just three days, the ticket numbers increased from 949 to 6293.

    I think Frontier didn’t anticipate this large of a response from the existing user base.

    Reply
    1. Dogmatix

      I don’t know if Frontier are able to add stations directly, or if they have to pass requests on to the database provider, Airable (a subsidiary of Tune In GmbH, not to be confused with TuneIn Inc.).

      Reply
  9. Bruce Scheiner

    Thanks for the suggestion. I thought about that but the WFT-1 (at least mine) is not compatible with UNDOK and there is no software update available; there hasn’t been a software update for that unit for many, many years. The device is still on the Sangean website so presumably it’s still being sold. I don’t know if the newer ones are UNDOK-capable, but I would doubt it unless the company switched from the Venice 5 module to the Venice 6 somewhere along the way. I used to use UNDOK with another Internet radio but that one is now defunct. And since the app cannot locate a compatible device on my network it won’t let me go forward to the setup page.

    Maybe I’ll try and connect that old, other device again, I still have it in a closet. It doesn’t work properly but before I stopped using it, every once in awhile it would actually boot up. Maybe that will be enough for the app to recognize it and then I can at least set up the stations. Worth a try, I guess.

    Reply
  10. Bruce Scheiner

    My Sangean WFT-1 has been rendered birtually useless as an Internet radio receiver. As FS recommended, I unplugged the unit and reconnected it about a minute later. To no avail. I CAN search for stations and get them to play; however, when I try to re-establish my presets they do not remain set. And when I try and access the FS website, no matter what I do the only page that comes up is the support page; there is apparently no home page and there is no way to access the station list on the website so I cannot re-establish my favorites either, since the WFT-1 does not do this. So if I want to listen to multiple stations, the only way is to search for a station anew every time I want to listen to it. This is awful. One would think FS would at least make sure the station list and functionality were made available to its customers.

    Reply
    1. Bob Faucett

      Have you tried using the UNDOK app? I have two Sangean WFR-28 radios. The UNDOK app does allow me to search the list of stations that Sangean / Frontier is now using. At least it’s easier to use the app than the menu controls on the radio itself.

      Strangely, while the app will let me set / add FM radio presets for the radio using the app, it will not let me do that for Internet stations. I have to do that by holding down one of the physical preset buttons on the radio.

      You might want to give the app a try in case you haven’t done so already. It’s not a perfect solution but it helps.

      Reply
      1. Dogmatix

        “Strangely, while the app will let me set / add FM radio presets for the radio using the app, it will not let me do that for Internet stations”

        This is simply because the firmware is too old, and Sangean haven’t the slightest intention of updating it. Saving internet radio presets with UNDOK works only after a certain firmware level.

        Interestingly, although my Sangean WFR-29C only offers 5 presets in each mode (only having five physical preset buttons, and no remote control), UNDOK shows ten presets in each mode, and lets me save all ten in FM and DAB modes – but in IR mode, the circled + symbol is not present, so I can’t use those extra presets.

        Reply
        1. Bob Faucett

          “Interestingly, although my Sangean WFR-29C only offers 5 presets in each mode (only having five physical preset buttons, and no remote control), UNDOK shows ten presets in each mode, and lets me save all ten in FM and DAB modes – but in IR mode, the circled + symbol is not present, so I can’t use those extra presets.”

          I think we’re both basically saying the same thing as that is also how my radio is working with UNDOK. I have the WFR-28C (it has the color screen) which doesn’t have DAB. (I’m in the USA.) Five physical preset buttons on the radio. UNDOK allows me to save / add 10 FM radio presets and shows the circled + in the listing.

          In Internet Radio mode, I can’t set / add a preset using the UNDOK app. I have to use one of the five physical preset buttons on the radio. The app doesn’t display the circled + in the listing. Therefore I’m limited to the five preset buttons on the radio. The app lists 10 positions in the menu for Internet Radio mode but positions 6 – 10 aren’t available for use.

          For me, one thing is certain… I’m going to be very leery of buying another Internet radio in the future. A computer, smartphone, or tablet offers much more flexibility and options.

          Reply
    2. Bruce Scheiner

      Today I was able to re-establish my presets after unplugging and re-plugging the power cord again. But there is no longer a ‘FAVORITES’ option in the menu, so I still can’t make a list of favorites and every time I want to listen to a station not preset I have to look for it again. The website for the old portal allowed favorites to be set from there. I hope this is only a temporary situation. Otherwise this portal will be a pain in the neck to use.

      Reply
    3. Eddie Witt

      I’m like everyone else here, my sangean wf-28 portable is useless now!! The few stations that I can get are crappy. I used to listen to sports and blues and political talk in my garage. I loved it. Everything I wanted. Not now . I unplugged and put up, useless. I have a grace gdi-ira500 that wasn’t affected. Thank goodness. I’m looking to purchase another grace.

      Reply
  11. JPH

    I have two Sangean internet radios, one using the Reciva database and the other using the Frontier Silicon database. Both databases are down apparently as I cannot log in. My Sangean WFR-1 using the Frontier Silicon database was completely wiped out, all presets and favorites gone. The Sangean WFR-20 still seems to hold the presets, but I can’t log into my Reciva account for the unit. This is BS.

    Reply
    1. Dogmatix

      That is the difference to how Reciva and FS treated presets. With Reciva they are (were) actually stored on the radio, so if the Reciva portal or website was down, the radio could still use the stored presets to play the stream. The disadvantage is that if the station changes the URL, then the user has to find out the new URL and re-save the preset. With FS radios, the preset URL’s are stored on the servers, which means they can be updates automatically if the station changes the URL, but it also means that if the server goes down, the presets are inaccessible. Swings and roundabouts, you see.

      You are probably aware that Reciva was bought ny Cambridge Scientifi, which in turn was bought by Qualcomm. Hardware development ceased at Reciva years ago, so there are no more new Reciva radios. The Reciva station database is managed by Qualcomm with the help of some dedicated volunteers.

      Reply
    2. Suffering in Silence

      Every listener affected by this change must continue to apply pressure directly to the area around the wound. This means we need to continue to contact the folks who manufactured our Internet radios. Sangean, Auna, etc… These manufacturers furnished us with owner’s manuals instructing that Wfi Radio Frontier would operate with favourite folders, and allow us to to build a collection of “my added stations” accessible from the menu on the device. These expensive radios no longer perform as promised. It will only be through resulting pressure from the industry which manufactures and sells Internet radios that service will be restored. Don’t forget to bug the players who sell us subscriptions to commercial free streams of programming. I paid well for a lifetime subscription to Calm Radio. I haven’t been able to use it for nine days. Please participate. Keep the pressure on.

      Reply
  12. Clive

    My TEAC T-H380DNT completely relies on the availability of the portal to access any preset stations. Attempting to find then connect to stations via the front panel buttons is incredibly frustrating. It literally took me 15 minutes yesterday to try and find just three of my regular podcasts. None were available.

    Reply
  13. Claude Moucheboeuf

    Good Grace Digital.

    So… Sangean, any solution to fix this huge mess?

    I’m an upset Sangean WFR-28 owner, with all my URL added completely lost.

    Reply
    1. Jerry Theunissen

      Easy, I use the UNDOK App to manage and operate my Sangan, after all the issues with Vtuner& Frontier.

      Reply
    2. Casey Williams

      I have 2 Sangean WFR-28D radios & note that the firmware is 6 years old (ir-mmi-FS2026-0200-0225_WFR28D_V2.2.14. EX16003-6RC5 8/2013). I intend to lodge a complaint with Federal Government Consumer Affairs here in Australia in respect of the failure by Sangean to update the firmware & to maintain the internet radio service that was provided originally. I had a win in a similar case through Consumer Affairs some years ago when a Panasonic Internet radio similarly ceased functioning. In that case my radio was 3 years old & I received a FULL REFUND from the supplier. I SUGGEST EVERY OWNER OF AN INTERNET RADIO AFFECTED BY THIS LACK OF SERVICE LODGE A SIMILAR SUBMISSION TO THEIR GOVERNMENT CONSUMER AFFAIRS BODY..

      Reply
  14. Greg Fadul

    Grace Digital manages their own database for all of their new ‘plus’ internet radios (Mondo plus, Encore plus and more to come) so no worries about a 3rd party terminating the relationship and wiping away one’s favorites etc…

    We started managing our own database when Reciva got bought by CSR then CSR got bought by Qualcomm. Our legacy radios still use Qualcomm’s database but we manage our new database, web site to save your favorites and add your own URL’s as well.

    Greg
    Grace Digital CEO

    Reply
  15. Stephen Ellis

    Hi, as above I am having difficulty tuning into my stations. The Genre choices are all over the place. If you could add the Progressive Rock channel Radio Rock ?? Uk that would be great.
    Regards S Ellis based Edinburgh Scotland

    Reply
  16. Joseph Schierer

    Ugh – not only are all my presets gone (Sangean WFR-28) – I can’t even log into the Frontier Silicon site!

    When I request a new Password, it says my user ID does not exist!

    What a mess….

    Reply
    1. Pavel Horky

      Same with me, Technisat DigitRadio 110, all favourites lost and my Silicon Frontier login as well.

      Reply
  17. MikeP

    I understand that the vTuner service may have sustainability problems. But let’s look at what the owner says:

    “Been running vTuner for 22 years and pretty much can’t keep the service going”

    followed in the very next paragraph by:

    “No plan to turn the service off (for) good.”

    Whatever the rights and wrongs, no wonder Frontier decided they had to do something else.

    But it is another reason not to rely on 3rd parties (including the equipment supplier themselves) for domestic systems. Oh for everyone having open APIs (looking at you, Logitech and Honeywell)

    Reply
  18. Ade Stickley

    It’s not just WiFi radio manufacturers and listeners that are affected. As a not-for-profit community broadcaster, I suddenly find that a huge chunk of my listeners no longer have access to my stream.

    To compound the felony, TuneIn (parent of Airable) do not appear to properly support the .radio domain – which means that listeners are probably not able to add my station to their presets!

    Reply
  19. Richard I

    I travelled very early on May 7, got home yesterday (Madrid) to find all presets had disappeared on my Roberts Stream 93i.
    Now presetting my favourites again.
    Would be interested to know when a new web is around with world directory of Internet radio stations with ability to administer my favourites online, like before.

    Reply
    1. Christina

      Internet radios based on MediaU do what you want. They have nothing to do with Frontier Silicon or vTuner. It’s modern and complete. Brands: Imperial, Lenco, Soundmaster and more.

      Reply
  20. Carlos

    I have a NAD C446 tuner that has been rendered pretty much useless by this event. It’s very frustrating.

    Reply
      1. Dogmatix

        Nous ne pouvons que nous patienter et attrendre à Frontier Silicon de faire re-apparaître les fonctions perdues.

        Reply
  21. David

    I’ve got a Sangean WFR-29 and indeed all my presets are gone. I’ve had to manually enter them again. Internet Radio is still there, but the possibility to save your favourites on the menu is no longer available on my radio. I can only save 5 favourites on the 1-5 buttons on the front. Really disappointing.

    Reply
  22. Gert

    I have a few oxx radio’s and they are up again. 2 of my 4 most favorite stations were missing but these were in the “new stations” list within 2 days after I made a request to do so.
    I would have preferred the “favorites” and “add stations” options to be still present. In practice however, I use my radio’s practically exclusively by using the 4 presets. So lives goes on. Luckilly.

    Reply
  23. Zack Schindler

    Vtuner is still working on my Denon.

    And earlier this week I wrote to vtuner asking them to add two stations that were not available and they added them.

    I do wonder though how much longer that services like vtuner will be around though.

    Reply
  24. Mark S

    Did Frontier break a contractual obligation they had to Vtuner? Did Vtuner break a contractual obligation by deliberately turning off the service? These are the questions that I am wondering. If a borrower gets money from a bank by using “lies and lies and lies,” (Peter Johnson’s description of the situation) the bank cannot still go over and simply burn the house down (even if only for 11 hours).

    Reply
  25. Bob Faucett

    I have two of the Sangean WFR-28 radios. This mess is upsetting but I’m not completely surprised by it.

    I have found that the UNDOK app (I’m using Android) seems to working but it can be a little quirky at times especially when performing a station search. I’m assuming that Frontier is still fine tuning the new system. Hopefully this will improve.

    The biggest disappoints to me with the new system are the lack of (1) a website to search for stations, (2) the ability to create favorites lists and categories, and (3) the ability to add custom stations. Hopefully, some or all of these features (especially #1 and #2) will be added in the future but I’m not holding my breath while waiting.

    There is one bit of good news… I submitted a ticket to Frontier to add a station. On the second day after I submitted the ticket, I received the following reply:

    “Thank you for your message and your help to improve Wifi Radio.
    We are pleased to inform you that the station has been added to our catalogue. It should be available and accessible tomorrow.
    You can find the station by using the search function through your device or companion app. If you have further content suggestions, please do not hesitate to let us know.”

    The added station is TrekStation Jazz.
    http://trekstation.torontocast.stream/virginiamusic.html

    To Peter Johnson:
    “I am not a business person. I am programmer who cares about quality.”
    Well, it also seems to me that you don’t care much about your business (vTuner) and the customers / consumers that were depending on it.

    My two cents… Bob F.

    Reply
    1. Peter Johnson

      I do care about the customer / consumers a lot. Actually that is why I spend all the money I make to make sure the service is of the highest quality. The business model is that vTuner makes a one time fee per product made. And not a lot of money. Between 0.50 cents and 0.30 cents. vTuner needs clients to keep using vTuner. vTuner has a team of 30 people. Mostly in the Philippines where people really do not get paid a lot and have limited economic opportunities. I make sure I pay them more then they would get at other companies but not a huge amount more.

      Look at what happened with Bose when they switched to Bose. What a mess that was and still is.

      You might notice that the navigation that airable has is almost the same as vTuner. airable is such a lame company they just copied the vTuner navigation. Yamaha told me airable is giving the service for free to them.

      You also better think about how much Frontier is paying airable. It is for sure much less then what Frontier was paying vTuner. They will not survive on that.

      Running a Internet Radio aggregator is costly. There are server costs, programmer costs, sys admin costs, lot of people to update the data, customer service people, automated systems to monitor all the stations all the time, podcast servers to gather all the available podcasts. The list goes on and one. And this all has to work seamlessly.

      What I am working on now for is to charge users a small yearly fee of $3 USD so they can keep the navigation and full features. If they do not want to pay they still have access to their favorites for stations and podcasts and also their own added stations. I am looking for feedback on this idea. What do you guys think?

      Reply
      1. Christina

        “What I am working on now for is to charge users a small yearly fee of $3 USD so they can keep the navigation and full features. If they do not want to pay they still have access to their favorites for stations and podcasts and also their own added stations.” So you can keep using a portal like grundig.setup.com (my parent’s internet radio is based on that) or pioneer.vtuner.com, despite feeling quite ancient in 2019? And also for Europeans? But it won’t help for my two Hama radios containing the Frontier Silicon chip, sadly.

        Reply
        1. Peter Johnson

          Hi Christina,

          Thanks for the response.

          The reason why pioneer.vtuner.com despite feeling quite ancient in 2019 is that the radio makers do not want to change something that works. vTuner has more modern looking websites for some clients.

          Also Pioneer stopped adding vTuner to their products a couple years ago. But vTuner still supports the Pioneer products using vTuner. Pioneer is a product that vTuner is thinking about asking users for a small yearly fee to keep the service going.

          Sadly for Frontier based radios that is out of my hands now.

          Best Regards,
          Peter Johnson

          Reply
          1. Christina

            But without paying that fee, it’s already sure radios based on pioneer.vtuner.com or grundig.radiosetup.com will become obsolete soon? That’s important to know. I’ve replaced my most important Hama (a Frontier Silicon based one) already by an Imperial (MediaU); possibly my parents – with their old vTuner based Grundig Cosmopolit – also have to do that in the future.

      2. Bob Faucett

        Peter,

        Thank you for taking the time to reply. I appreciate it.

        “What I am working on now for is to charge users a small yearly fee of $3 USD so they can keep the navigation and full features. If they do not want to pay they still have access to their favorites for stations and podcasts and also their own added stations.”

        I would happily pay a small yearly fee for a service. However, I’m not sure if it would work with my Sangean WFR-28 radio. In general, how would the service be accessed besides using a website via a computer or a smartphone / tablet?

        Sincerely, Bob Faucett

        Reply
        1. Ted Stone

          The Ocean Digital radio I have uses SkyTune as its portal/aggregator. But what is more interesting is SkyTune does not have user level accounts or favorites which is bound to keep the costs down. Instead, the radio itself has an internal web server which you can browse to on your local network (i.e. 192.168.0.X or whatever) and you can add and store up to 99 URLs there for your own stations on the radio itself. This is nice in the sense that if the SkyTune portal goes down for whatever reason, the radio can access those user defined presets.
          I would gladly pay an annual fee for vTuner for its added complexity of having user accounts, etc. But I am not sure how a radio (such as the Sangean) can be configured to point to a non-Frontier fronted portal – Frontier seem to control this aspect. I do have a really small portable that uses vTuner directly without a middle man.
          Cheers.

          Reply
      3. Conny

        “I do care about the customer / consumers a lot.” is what you say,

        but what you do is switch off consumers:

        “And I turned off the frontier service just for a couple hours after they backstabbed me. No plan to turn the service off good. But frontier switched over.”

        What shall Frontier Silicon do? They were forced to switch by you.

        Reply
  26. a

    On my NAD C446, all the settings of Internet radio stations were deleted … it’s very sad …
    I set up stations by URL addresses and now there is no such possibility. I’m angry !!

    Reply
  27. K.U.

    One possibility to avoid dependence on one single stream directory on internet radio devices could be implemented by plugins:
    Support for a new directory would be added by adding a plugin for that directory. This possibility came to my mind because this is the method Streamtuner2 application uses. Streamtuner2 users can contribute new plugins to add support for their favorite radio directories.

    Reply
  28. Dora

    My Revo superconnect also went down and now on airable.
    Lack of favourites is a major downside. I seem to have many more Spanish senders, though, and more systematically present.
    I have requested a coupe of podcasts I am missing, let’s see if they actually incorporate them.

    My Medion internet radio has not been updated to the new aggregator, and is simply not working.

    Reply
    1. Robert Raburn

      I too miss the My Favorites along with the ability to enter URLs for several subscribed stations on my SuperConnect. If Revo fails to act, this radio becomes an obsolete orphan. Please write to https://revo.co.uk/support/ to request a solution.

      Reply
      1. CR

        My revo blik is dead. Don’t think it will work even if they return favourite functionality because I cant log into the new service. Trouble tickets remain unanswered.
        Using an old phone and a bluetooth speaker to hear my paid streams. Suggest using android streaming app ‘Custom Radio Player’.
        Setup works as well as my old blik but I’m still supremely ticked off at the whole mess.

        Reply
  29. Bob Weingaertner

    It’s a mess! I have a Sangean WFR-1 with 10 presets. My favorites are still there, including some that no longer work, but I can’t edit them. The new Frontier Silicon web site is worthless. There is nothing on it except a few FAQs plus the ability to submit a “ticket”. They even forgot my user name and password; I had to re-register. The searchable station list and ability to add custom URLs are gone.

    The radio still works, but it has about half the utility it once had. I’d be better off streaming content to my PC and using my C Crane FM transmitter to broadcast to the Sangean. I’ll probably put up an FM broadcast antenna, but internet radio is handy because it allows me to listen to local AM station that a low power until dawn of my favorite FM station which is plagued by adjacent-channel QRM from a high school station in my neighborhood. Likewise, many countries have dropped SW broadcasts in favor of internet broadcasting.

    The moral is that one should not depend on a single source and the internet radio manufacturers should not have designed their products around a single aggregator. I doubt that Sangean will offer a software update to switch to Reciva.

    I was also miffed a couple of years ago when Frontier Silicon dropped the Scanner feed genre.

    -Bob WB2VUF

    Reply
  30. Edward

    Broadcast shortwave is the answer to V tuner problems. These issues with podcast aggregators are dependent on some provider that can go up the spout quickly. Soon they will have to charge subscription fees to listeners to make it work, Those WiFi “radios” will end up in the e-waste bin very shortly, while I will be listening on my SP-600 years to come. so much for internet as a transmission medium. Cui Bono

    Reply
    1. Laurence N.

      Er…no. The problem is not with the internet as a transmission medium, but with someone’s list of available stations. Given that you can, and these devices should, specify stations by directly linking to their streams, the system is very resilient, and the problem is with very specific hardware devices. As for shortwave, it becomes a lot less useful when a) you can’t find anything because stations change their frequencies every month, b) you can’t hear anything because the static is too much (blame other people’s RFI, but they’ll not be turning their stuff off for you), c) it costs so much to broadcast on shortwave that the only people doing it are government broadcasters and the odd enthusiast and d) a lot of receivers are built badly and don’t actually work so well. Internet as a transmission medium repairs a lot of these things. Please don’t insult something using incorrect information. Internet streaming has a bunch of problems we could discuss, but you’ve mentioned none of them.

      Reply
    2. Chris

      You may wish to know that there are plans to replace SW broadcasting using the DRM standard (Digital Radio Mondiale):

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Radio_Mondiale

      A number of international broadcasters have signed up and test transmissions are ongoing. Whilst SW isn’t going to die overnight, changes are afoot. Just as many countries are switching off FM in favour of DAB, SW and AM will be next. That said, no aggregators will still be involved as per internet radio.

      Nevertheless, enjoy your SP-600…for now!

      Reply
  31. Andrew

    Maybe the following isn’t a solution to the vTuner issues, yet it may represent a workaround; I’m referring to the YCast software found here

    https://github.com/milaq/YCast

    the sw author describes it as follows

    ===================================
    YCast is a self hosted replacement for the vTuner internet radio service which many AVRs use. It emulates a vTuner backend to provide your AVR with the necessary information to play self defined categorized internet radio stations.

    YCast is for you if:

    You do not want to use a proprietary streaming service
    You are sick of loading delays and/or downtimes of the vTuner service
    You are unsure about the continuation of the vTuner service
    ===================================

    now, while the sw is somewhat “raw”, it may be worth trying it and it may represent an alternative (or a “backup” solution) to the vTuner service

    Reply
  32. Colin Davidson

    I have two TEAC stereo systems, neither of which store stations locally. I can’t add any internet stations to them, they don’t store that locally, which means for internet radio this renders both redundant. Must say I find this very annoying.

    Reply
  33. Gunther Zimmerman

    If vTuner powers your Internet radio just pray that Dear Leader Peter Johnson does not get in sad mooood.
    Device makers:
    Peter Johnson CEO – Yes the CEO really said this:
    “And I turned off the frontier service just for a couple hours after they backstabbed me. No plan to turn the service off good. But frontier switched over.”

    Reply
  34. Jan Jakob

    I am betting good money (disclaimer: I am in fact not betting any money) on Airable being the new aggregator for Frontier Silicon. The website is available in German and English, and is clearly written in German originally and then translated (they translated “Favoriten aufrufen” with “recall Favourites” which doesn’t make any sense in English) and Airable has recently become a partner of Frontier Silicon (http://www.airablenow.com/frontier-silicon-adds-airable-api/).

    Reply
  35. John Figliozzi

    How to shoot yourself in the foot and in the bargain needlessly upset wifi radio manufacturers and their customers. If pay is the problem, as indicated by one of the posts here, I think the listener would gladly pay a reasonable subscription fee for a reliable, efficiently run and continuously up to date agregator. The problem appears to be the business model. Fix that and I bet you’ll fix this. And if the tech were more open source and allowed a listener to choose among agregators or even use more than one, competition would takw care of a lot of issues.

    Reply
    1. John Figliozzi

      On second and third look — and taking into account the angry-toned post by someone from or very close to vTuner — this looks more and more like a pissing match between Frontier Silicon and vTuner. And we—the WiFi radio owners and manufacturers—are in the middle. Sounds like threats and counter threats were made over — what else? money — and one side or the other decided to pull the plug. And here we are… our radios and our enjoyment of them in tatters. My message to the principals in this dispute? Put the end users of your products first and grow up a little.

      Reply
  36. Mark

    This is the kind of nonsense that has stopped me getting an internet radio.

    When Google get bored with a product and throw it under a bus, there’s often an alternative nearby, but expensive hardware reliant on the whims of the supplier (Logitech comes to mind) leaves you stranded.

    My very nice Roberts Revival radio is a bluetooth speaker as well, so I think streaming from my computer to it is the way to go.

    Mark

    Reply
    1. Laurence N.

      I already don’t get the concept of a dedicated internet radio. With an old smartphone, tablet, or laptop and a speaker, you will have built a better device for the same purposes from stuff you have in the closet. It will be less portable, but a WiFi radio stops being useful when you take it outside of the range of known WiFi networks anyway, so portability isn’t really there for those either. There are about a thousand streaming radio applications, at least 80% of which allow you to set your own streams in addition to whatever aggregators they have included. And the nice benefit is that you can run the same application on your phone to continue having streaming radio when you are out of the house. These standalone devices don’t seem to provide much in the way of benefits over the cheaper and equally or in this case more functional option.

      Reply
  37. TomL

    Did vTuner go out of business or did they just willy-nilly change things for the fun of it?? Would not be surprised with either scenario. The internet only works if someone is there to make it work (correctly).

    Reply
  38. PerL

    Eventhough internet radios have advantages over shortwave radios this incident demonstrates the vulnerabilities as well, which don’t exist among shortwave radios.

    Reply
  39. Ian from England

    I have two Roberts internet radios which are affected by this. I think the biggest disappointment is that you can’t now use the Favourites facility. I had 40+ stations set up with my personal categories which made it much easier to access. Frontier Silicon suggests using either device presets or the Last Listened option – the former doesn’t help me, as my main radio only has 5 presets on the front, and the latter can’t be configured into any sort of meaningful order, as you could with Favourites. As Dennis Dura says, there is no pattern to genres, and this is also true of stations within genres too. With problems like this, Ken L’s comment about using a phone/tablet and bluetooth speaker combination starts to look a more attractive option for ‘net radio!

    Reply
  40. KD7SPQ

    This isn’t radio.

    These manufacturers need to open-source the API, so technically inclined people can set up their own aggregators if they choose.

    Otherwise these devices are doorstops when whatever services they depend on fail.

    Reply
    1. RonF

      There are open aggregators. Apart from lack of standardisation & critical mass, the downside to a lot of them is they have often cribbed from vTuner. I agree with Peter Johnson below that that’s not a nice/good thing to do – but from what I know of past incidents, and the tone of his comments here, that’s probably the only thing we would agree on…

      That said … none of them, vTuner included, are particularly complicated APIs or services. They all amount to little more than serving up a list of genres and streams, that don’t serve anything themselves but simply point to the station’s streams. Device contacts aggregator, retrieves list, you choose from that list, device contacts the stream provider, starts playing stream. Not hard to reverse-engineer at all (and as I said below, they have been), and only marginally harder to build from scratch. The work is all in collating the list in the first place & maintaining it – which is undoubtedly a big job, but hardly something that can or should be uniquely protected.

      (I’m reminded of the FTA TV networks here in Australia, who have done their best to prevent people using TV guide info for digital STBs & PVRs. That, amongst other reasons, is why FTA TV viewing has cratered by 20+% over the last couple of decades…)

      An aggregator cutting off access to all of a manufacturer’s devices simply because the manufacturer has chosen to use a different service for some devices – which is definitely what has happened in the past, on at least one occasion I’m reasonably familiar with from the outside – seems a rather strange, almost unbusinesslike, attitude that can only backfire.

      Reply
  41. Peter Johnson

    Try dealing with corporations that back stab you.

    And these are not minor contract issues. These are competitors who offer their service for almost free to my clients or ex clients.

    Very hard work to run a internet radio aggregator especially when the money is not that good in this business.

    Been running vTuner for 22 years and pretty much can’t keep the service going because internet radio makers do not want to even pay a one time fee of 30 us cents.

    And I turned off the frontier service just for a couple hours after they backstabbed me. No plan to turn the service off good. But frontier switched over.

    Just like Sony and Bose and Yamaha did. Lies and lies and lies.

    And are the tunein and airables service any good? Not as good as vTuner because I put all the money I get back into the service. I am not a business person. I am programmer who cares about quality. But my competitors are just a bunch of slick business people.

    Reply
  42. Dennis Dura

    It turns out my report of the Jazz Genre being removed was in error. It’s there, BUT. The Genre categories are not alphabetically listed. I just went through the entire list. There seems to be no pattern to the listing, except chaos.

    Reply
  43. KenL

    Well, I have Sangean, Como and Grace streaming devices and at this point I would no longer recommend any of them due to their reliance on unreliable third party aggregators/databases being able to turn them to useless expensive bricks. Easier and more reliable to use phone/tablet and a quality bluetooth speaker to stream radio.

    Reply
    1. rtc

      Boy,I’m so glad I stuck with the old C.Crane wifi radio with Reciva.
      Cranky at times but an email to Anna at C.Crane fixes it.

      Reply
  44. RonF

    So, vTuner is playing sillybuggers again? They have a habit of doing that – previously they’ve cut off Bose, Sony, Yamaha, and others at different times over what have appeared to be fairly minor contractual issues.

    FWIW, for the technically-inclined, it’s possible to host your own vTuner server which, with a bit of client configuration or DNS jiggery-pokery, can be used to bypass them altogether & allow your client devices to connect to either local or external streaming servers (lists of which can be cribbed from other services and sources). YCast (python script; on Github) is the one I’ve had a little experience with, though there’s probably others.

    Reply
    1. James

      Hi. I actually like vtuner. Easy to navigate and simple. I am partially sighted so is much easier for me to use vtuner then I know where I am.

      I would be happy to pay a small contribution to keep the service going. And is it nit possible to have your service running again on Frontier Silicon products? I need yo know which portables still use vtuner as I need a new Internet radio.

      Please reply directly back to my email address also.

      I have a Marabz hifi which still works.

      Thanks and good luck.

      Reply

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