Centova Cast internet radio control panel software review
Having used Centova Cast for 5 years now I feel it’s time I should write a review.
Centova Cast is paid Shoutcast and Icecast control panel software as developed and supported by Canadian software firm Centova Technologies Inc, which is owned and run by Steve Blinch. The company also has an instant messaging product Centova Cast Messenger which I’m not familiar with. However Centova Cast has two main uses, enabling internet radio resellers and internet radio station owners, and currently runs on Red Hat, Debian and CentOS Linux distributions.
When I first started using it the software was at version 2.2. Since then it has slowly progressed to what is now version 3.0 and the latest release in that family as of October 2013 is 3.0.4 while version 2.2.7 is the latest legacy release. I have to say the pace of software development has been an issue with Centova Cast version 3.0 taking more than a couple of years in development from when it was first announced which led to some frustration in the community. Centova Cast Technologies inc also had staffing issues along the way which led to a period of instability which also affected development. However it’s important to note than both versions are very well authored and work really well. The interface is attractive, coherent and functional, the platform is solid and includes a majority of the features needed to meet either purpose.
Historically version 2.x required a separate web server and IonCube loader modules but in version 3.0 this requirement went away in favor of an all inclusive installation which comes with it’s own Nginx web server. This is a really positive move I think because it moves Centova Cast into it’s own silo and helps lessen downtime in the case of an outage to your main web server. The change has also made the product easier to install.
On the support side, Centova Cast Technologies Inc (CTI) has a team of engineers who work to help users with their problems through email 9 to 5 Monday to Friday. A lot of documentation and a knowledge base is also available. Opening a ticket is easy, work flows are fluid and the staff often go out of their way to help including answering tickets out of hours which is a big plus. A forum is available for reporting bugs and discussing issues. The community is active, friendly and supportive of one another. CTI currently have no publicly available bug tracker software and bugs need to be reported through tickets or forum posts which isn’t ideal, however their bug tracker options are being reviewed.
The software licensing model is either pay as you go or upfront annual or fully owned payments. The number of required internet radio streams is factor. However it’s my belief Centova Cast is affordable, reasonably priced and good value for money. Overall their licensing certainly works well enough although I should mention that in my time the company has suffered a couple of serious hardware outages to their licensing servers leading to part of their install base being taken offline which is regrettable. And I would hope that steps have been taken to address and prevent the problem from happening again. I also fell foul of the limitations imposed by their licensing servers at one stage which caused me some difficulty but the matter was eventually resolved thankfully.
Features available in the interface include everthing necessary to run a radio station or reseller services including detailed statistical reporting with historical log keeping, comprehensive playlist and media file management tools, all the required settings for Shoutcast, Icecast (versions 1 & 2) and the several streaming source software tools required, and account management tools of course including listener, disk space, bit rate and bandwidth limits. One can also cluster Centova cast in order to form pools of servers and bandwidth which is an important requirement for a growing business or popular radio station.
All things considered, hardware outages and software development issues aside, I can’t recommend Centova Cast enough to anyone needing software to help them run a radio station or reseller radio services. In my experience the platform is a solid base for a business and a tool I have a lot of confidence in. Having used a variety of other streaming services and tools in the 16 years since Party Vibe Radio was originally founded Centova Cast has exceeded them all by far in it’s reliability and usefulness…
Home page: Centova Cast – ShoutCast Control Panel, IceCast Control Panel, Streaming Radio
Centova Cast requires at least one IP address for its control panel and any hosted streams.
It’s important to note the distinction between Centova Cast, SHOUTcast/IceCast, and your autoDJ. Centova Cast itself is just a control panel; it simply configures SHOUTcast DNAS, IceCast, and your autoDJ, and then it gets out of the way
Because it does not do any streaming itself, the requirements for Centova Cast itself are minimal. Any modern dedicated server or VPS with 512MB+ of RAM should work just fine.
|Operating system:||CentOS 4/5/6 (or equivalent RHEL release), or
Debian Linux (Stable branch recommended)Other CentOS- and Debian-based OSes should (in theory) work but are untested and unsupported.
|Database server:||MySQL v4.1+, v5.0, v5.1, or v5.5
Locally-installed or accessible over the network.
You’ll also need a streaming server, and if you plan to use autoDJ capabilities, you’ll need a compatible streaming source. Centova Cast supports any of the following:
|Streaming server:||SHOUTcast v2.0
Full details: Centova Technologies Inc. – Products – Centova Cast
Key features for broadcasters:
- Easy web-based stream configuration
- AutoDJ support with powerful playlist scheduler
- Drag-and-drop AJAX media library
- Comprehensive statistics and royalty reports
- Automatic stream monitoring/restarting
- Feature-rich, automatic station home pages
- Much, much more
Key features for internet radio resellers:
- Centralized administration of all of your streams and servers
- Complete client self-management to reduce support calls
- Automatic enforcement of highly flexible account limits
- Compatible with ShoutCast/IceCast and many autoDJs
- Integrates with many billing systems for total automation
- Fully supports rebranding, retheming, and internationalization
- Much, much more
Centova recently released a couple of new versions 3.0.5 and 2.2.8 both of which include mostly fixes and minor improvements. Playlist issues with changing daylight saving times appears to have been the main payload they’re promoting in versions 2 and 3. While version 2 also includes support for the Google Maps v3 API. However while both releases are highly recommended, the update to version 3 also includes a critical fix. Centova Technologies Inc also just announced that version 2.x was now deprecated and as such would go end of life 1st November 2014, one year from now. The news isn’t a surprise, in fact I would have expected it sooner.Regardless here’s a quick summary and a link to all three announcements:
Centova Cast v2.x End of Life
“With the release of Centova Cast v3.0.5, we have made the decision to begin retiring the v2.x branch of Centova Cast. Effective immediately, the Centova Cast v2.x branch is officially deprecated and will be discontinued on November 1, 2014.”
Centova Cast v2.2.8 Released
“Centova Cast v2.2.8 is now available, which resolves a few bugs and adds support for the Google Maps v3 API. The Google Maps v2 API, used by all prior versions of Centova Cast v2, will be discontinued by Google on November 19, 2013. At that time, the mapping features in Centova Cast versions prior to 2.2.8 will cease to operate and will likely return an error message. This update adds support for the more modern Google Maps v3 API. All Centova Cast v2.x users who rely on Google Maps integration are advised to update prior to November 19 to avoid any interruption of service.”
Centova Cast v3.0.5 Released
“Centova Cast v3.0.5 is now available, with one critical update, several minor new features and improvements, and many bug fixes. We strongly recommend updating immediately!”31-01-2014, 01:07
I noticed Centova had a brief outage to their web site recently it turns out because they were doing some behind the scenes work to improve things. Their official statement is available below however I welcome these improvements. Navigating their knowledge base or trying to find information hasn’t always been easy to the extent that I think even Google has difficulty answering search queries relating to their products which is uncommon…
Centova Technologies is pleased to announce a major update to our web site. Major publicly visible improvements include Spanish and Portuguese translations of most of the site, a much-improved site search system, and a more comprehensive knowledge base.
While the appearance of our web site has largely remained the same, there have been major changes “under the hood” to allow us to better serve our clients and expand in future. Some of the major improvements include:
Translations of most of the web site to Spanish and Portuguese, the two most popular non-English languages used by our clients
A vastly improved site search system which should dramatically improve the relevancy of search results across our web site, product manuals, knowledge base, and forums
A more comprehensive knowledge base including many new Centova Cast v3-specific articles
An improved, easier-to-navigate online viewer for our product manuals
Integration of our newly acquired product lines into our current web site
Automatic price estimates for product purchases in GBP, EUR, MXN, and BRL based on the selected currency
A more lightweight underlying content management system and CDN integration capabilities for a faster experience while browsing our web site
We welcome any feedback on these changes and look forward to continue to improving our customer experience.
It’s worth mentioning the “newly acquired” products referred to in the above press release relate to Centova Technologies iHostDev in August of 2013 who products were as follows:
– iHost is a complete billing and provisioning automation system for web hosting and other online service providers. Acquire new clients, accept orders, handle payments, and provision services all without any human intervention.
– iPanel is a complete billing and provisioning automation system for web hosts with extended features for free/ad-supported web hosting providers. Force the display of ads on hosting clients’ web sites, accept forum posts as payment (post-for-hosting) and more.
– iAds is a standalone system for forcing the display ads on hosting clients’ web sites, similar to the functionality built into iPanel.
Although I’m unfamiliar with iHost and iPanel. I do seem to remember looking at iAds some years back while researching banner advertising options although I eventually settled on an open source solution in what was phpAdsNew but is now many incarnations later Revive Adserve..31-01-2014, 01:19
Centovast Technologies also recently release version 3.0.6 of Centova Cast. The press release with a full description of the feature set is available below as usual. However I should say regretably this release doesn’t include long awaited features such as support for the TuneIn Radio stream information API or the latest version of ShoutCast DNAS 2.2.1. There were also some earlier problems with the release however these were very quickly addressed and rolled into a update to this same release which is good.—
Centova Cast v3.0.6 is now available, with several minor new features, improvements, and bug fixes.
The following is a complete list of changes included in Centova Cast v3.0.6:
Minor new features
Added support for reseller backup/restore
Add completed Greek language support, courtesy of Dimitris Golfinopoulos
Added “raw metadata” value to Stream Details widget
Added codec identification support (mainly for Muses) to SHOUTcast1 module
Added reporting period convenience links in statistics
Added caching layer between control daemon and web interface for performance; resolves #265
Bit rate limit enforcement code now uses total bit rates from all mount points for multimount-capable servers
Added independently-configurable table optimization cron job
Licensing popup in admin area now displays the complete licensing error message
Enforced trademark licensing
New hosts provisioned with hostname=auto will take their hostname from Management->Hosts by default; resolves #174
Passing –nocontent to backup utility now skips cover images in addition to media files
Monitoring system will no longer attempt to restart autoDJ after outage if another source is connected; resolves #263
Listener gauge in live statistics is now vertically aligned to the top
Made database export compatible with PHP v5.2
Re-poll the DNAS1 status page at 4 second intervals if an “Admin page is busy” error is returned by DNAS1
Reduced frequency of database table optimizations
Increased time limit while zipping CSV reports
Reporting period box in statistics now slides open and closed
Try to fix requests for ‘Unknown’ on SHOUTcast servers
Many internal improvements and changes
Ensure album cover image thumbnails have unique filenames
Fixed bug in which live listener stats might not display individual mount point listeners correctly
Fixed bug in which reseller subaccounts would be skipped when bulk starting/stopping streams
Fixed bug in which selecting a full-month view would not include the last day of the month
Fixed playlist loading bug in ices2 module
Fixed potential failure to remove temporary files after generating CSV reports
Fixed regression in 3.0.5 that might cause scheduled playlists to fail to start on time
Fixed unit display regression in statistics pages
Fixed various minor inaccuracies in statistics aggregation
Fixed various time zone-related statistics issues
Fixed bug in which time-restricted general rotation playlists starting at midnight would be treated as unrestricted
The ‘resellerusers’ field is now returned by the provisioning API (and populated in WHMCS emails if configured)
When provisioning via API with an account template, explicit values now override any ‘unlimited’ setting from the template
Also worth mentioning today, as of the last couple of months ago Centova Cast’s support forum have been tied into their bug tracker allowing users to vote on feature requests which is helpful if not quite as helpful as making it (the bug tracker) public.11-04-2014, 01:20
On the 8th of this month Centova released an update along with the following statement about the Heartbleed bug in openSSL. All users are strongly advised to upgrade as soon as possible. Anyway well done Centova for being so quick off the mark with a fix! However it’s not clear yet whether new keys where included something which I’ve prompted them about…
A new build of Centova Cast’s web server is now available, which fixes a critical security issue in OpenSSL. All users are strongly urged to update.
This update addresses a critical security issue (CVE-2014-0160) in OpenSSL. While this issue is not specific to Centova Cast (in fact, it affects a majority of the HTTPS/SSL web servers on the Internet), Centova Cast does use OpenSSL for its SSL functionality and thus is affected by this vulnerability. Accordingly, we have immediately issued a new build of Centova Cast’s web server using a fixed version of OpenSSL (1.0.1g).
For more information:
A quick look at the dates on the key files shows they weren’t updated so as I said I prompted Centova about issuing new keys after patching Heartbleed and received the following…
We didn’t release any new private keys or certificates because this depends on each customer configuration.
If you have a self signed certificate, then you can generate new keys by following these instructions:
mv /usr/local/centovacast/etc/ssl/* /usr/local/centovacast/etc/ssl/old
/usr/local/centovacast/sbin/update web –force
You’ll see this message in the update system:
Creating self-signed SSL certificate for 127.0.0.1 …
Generating private key …
Generating certificate …
Running their fix I had…
/usr/local/centovacast/sbin/update web –force
Checking Centova Cast Common Files …
Downloading Centova Cast Common Files …
Verifying archive integrity …
Unpacking archive …
Installing Centova Cast Common Files …
Checking Centova Cast Web Server …
Downloading Centova Cast Web Server …
Verifying archive integrity …
Unpacking archive …
Installing Centova Cast Web Server …
Stopping any existing Centova Cast web service …
Attempting to stop web: cc-web
Creating self-signed SSL certificate for IP …
Generating private key …
Generating certificate …
Starting Centova Cast web service…
Attempting to start web: cc-web
All of which looks good. Thank you Centova!
Centova Cast v3.1.0 Released – August 06, 2014
The long-awaited release of Centova Cast v3.1.0 has arrived!
The following is a complete list of changes included in Centova Cast v3.1.0:
Major new features
Added support for LiquidSoap as an autoDJ. LiquidSoap provides most if not all of the features of sctrans2 and ices-cc (supporting AAC/MP3/Opus on both SHOUTcast v2 and IceCast), and is free and open-source.
Added new AJAX-based paginated accounts list in the admin and reseller control panels.
Minor new features
Warning emails are now throttled when a server/source repeatedly fails to start
Added pre-rotate-logs and post-rotate-logs event notifications
Added support for viewing gzipped log files in log manager
Added warning when setting DNAS/DNAS2 “disconnect idle sources after” setting to 0
Added the server.authenticate API method
Add PluginHooks::register_once() to avoid duplicate callback registrations
Added NO_ROTATE_DNAS2 option to centovacast.conf to prevent Centova Cast from rotating SHOUTcast DNAS v2 log files
Metadata charset is now configurable per-mountpoint
The cron job’s –job parameter now optionally supports multiple, comma-separated job names
Substantially optimized communications between web interface and control daemon
Moved all caching options to caching.conf
Exclude 1-second-or-less sessions from statistics
Requests with non-200 result codes are no longer included in visitor sessions
Configure DNAS2 to open legacy v1 source ports for each mount point
Display an error if the user activates the autoDJ but disables it for all mount points
Log manager now hides logs that Centova Cast has no permissions to view
Added flag images for several special-purpose IP locations that may be returned by GeoIP
Break long/bogus user agent strings to avoid stretching page
Do not overwrite admin-specified absolute log paths
Increased default database optimization interval from 5 to 7 days
Removed legacy (v2) diagnostics script which could generate false problem reports under v3
Search for custom/ in both theme/templates/ and system/templates/
Do not populate sample passwords on new account form
Set UTF-8 charset in content-type header for JSON API responses
Cron job now records start/complete time for logrotate job
Fix bug in which ‘unlimited’ values provisioned via API might not be honored
Fix port conflict detection issues when using API provisioning
Fix regression in installer
Fix regression breaking backups, introduced by new libzip version
Fix server type display issue when creating/editing accounts
Fixed SelectSlider bug when multiple sliders coexist on page
Fixed WHMCS module username generation issue with non-Latin client names
Fixed bug in which last day of month may not be included in CSV reports
Fixed bug in DJ account private FTP folder deletion
Fixed bug in resetadminpassword script
Fixed bug in which DJ usernames could overlap stream usernames
Fixed bug in which IceCast would continue trying to process a file after determining it was missing
Fixed bug in which disabled DJ accounts could still log in
Fixed bug in which port reservations might not always be calculated correctly in the UI
Fixed bug in which the same DJ username could not exist for different stream accounts
Fixed bug in which, if a server/source process was unresponsive when stopping the stream, it would not be forcibly killed by Centova Cast
Fixed disk/bw usage column names that were incorrectly documented in WHMCS module SDK
Fixed display bug with templates set to “Hosted on: Automatically choose best”
Fixed display issue with admin accounts in sessions list
Fixed duplicate account bug when restoring backups with –overwrite
Fixed errors in web-based uploader with certain filenames containing non-Latin characters
Fixed potential error in statistics imported from v2
Fixed potential streamid mismatch in sctrans2 configuration files
Fixed reference to nonexistent server object in use-server-no mode
Fixed regression in passing arguments to event scripts
Fixed regression in which accounts could not be reparented to ‘admin’ upon deletion of a reseller
Fixed selection detection bug in list editor
For more information about Centova Cast, including screenshots, please visit the Centova Cast product page or contact a Centova Cast sales representative.
Still no sign of Tunein.com API support in this latest release which is a big shame. Improvements here include LiquidSoap with support for Shoutcast v2 and Icecast, as well as many bug fixed and feature tweaks.
- Shoutcast.com isn’t part of the Microsoft acquisition talks with AOL
- Internet-Radio.com rankings for November 2013