Forums Radionics Internet Radio Centovacast Internet Radio Control Panel Software Review

This topic contains 15 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Avatar Dr Bunsen September 29, 2014 at 8:51 am.

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  • #1056823
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    Dr Bunsen
    Participant

    Having used Centovacast for 5 years now I feel it’s time I should write a review…

    Centovacast 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 Centovacast Messenger which I’m not familiar with. However Centovacast 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 Centovacast 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. Centovacast 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 Centovacast 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, Centovacast 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 Centovacast 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 Centovacast 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 Centovacast 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 Centovacast has exceeded them all by far in it’s reliability and usefulness…

    Home page: Centova Cast – ShoutCast Control Panel, IceCast Control Panel, Streaming Radio

    System requirements:

    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.

    [TABLE=”class: cms_table_packageinfo, width: 100%”]
    [TR]
    [TD=”class: cms_table_list_key, width: 110″]Operating system:[/TD]
    [TD] 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.[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD=”class: cms_table_list_key”]Database server:[/TD]
    [TD=”colspan: 2, align: left”] MySQL v4.1+, v5.0, v5.1, or v5.5

    Locally-installed or accessible over the network.[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]

    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:

    [TABLE=”class: cms_table_packageinfo, width: 100%”]
    [TR]
    [TD=”class: cms_table_list_key, width: 110″]Streaming server:[/TD]
    [TD=”colspan: 2, align: left”] SHOUTcast v2.0
    SHOUTcast v1.9
    IceCast v2.x[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD=”class: cms_table_list_key”]Streaming source:[/TD]
    [TD=”colspan: 2, align: left”] ices-cc
    sc_trans v2.0
    ices v2
    ices v0.4
    ezstream 0.5.3
    sc_trans 0.4.0[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]

    Full details: Centova Technologies Inc. – Products – Centova Cast – System Requirements

    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








    #1277058
    Avatar
    Dr Bunsen
    Participant

    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 Technologies Inc. – News


    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 Technologies Inc. – News

    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!”

    #1277059
    Avatar
    Dr Bunsen
    Participant

    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.

    #1277060
    Avatar
    Dr Bunsen
    Participant

    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…

    #1277061
    Avatar
    Dr Bunsen
    Participant

    Centovast Technologies also recently release version 3.0.6 of Centovacast. 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

    Improvements

    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

    Fixes

    Ensure album cover image thumbnails have unique filenames
    Fixed JavaScript error when using advanced widget settings
    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 breaking support for custom widget JavaScript options
    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

    #1277062
    Avatar
    Dr Bunsen
    Participant

    Also worth mentioning today, as of the last couple of months ago Centovacast’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…

    #1277055
    Avatar
    General Lighting
    Moderator

    @Dr Bunsen 561009 wrote:

    ges in addition to media files
    Monitoring system will no longer attempt to restart autoDJ after outage if another source is connected; resolves #263

    good to see that, it was a problem on the birthday livesets as the metadata sent by the DJ’s would eventually be cut across by the restarted auto DJ metadata, to the point I had to manually force correct data into the server via a French programme designed for this purpose (you can do this without disrupting the programme audio, a Polish friend who also runs an EDM station in PL explained this to me)

    #1277063
    Avatar
    Dr Bunsen
    Participant

    We had this problem when Adamski played lived as well which messed up our recording of his show unfortunately.

    #1277056
    Avatar
    General Lighting
    Moderator

    Unfortunately I missed that broadcast as I tend to feed them through the analogue equipment into a separate digital recorder (so the metadata doesn’t cause any issues). That does however mean that unless the show is identified by a presenter speaking, a jingle or a particular tune/style of music if I forget to immediately deal with adding metadata to the new recording, all I have is date and time if I’m lucky as this recorder does not have its own internal clock and I don’t have €900 for a networked Marantz 😥

    There was one of these being sold not too far from me – Had I not completely run out of space in my studio for more equipment and worse, found out that a 270mm reel of tape are now nearly €40 each and 180mm at €20, I would have bought it. When well maintained, these don’t go pear shaped due to a computer many km away, and you can just fill in a big label on the box the spool of tape arrives in 😉

    [ATTACH=CONFIG]86103[/ATTACH]

    #1277064
    Avatar
    Dr Bunsen
    Participant

    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:

    http://www.openssl.org/news/secadv_20140407.txt
    https://cve.mitre.org/cgi-bin/cvename.cgi?name=CVE-2014-0160

    #1277065
    Avatar
    Dr Bunsen
    Participant

    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:

    mkdir /usr/local/centovacast/etc/ssl/old
    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 …

    Installation successful

    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 …
    Installation successful
    Starting Centova Cast web service…
    Attempting to start web: cc-web

    All of which looks good. Thank you Centova!

    #1277066
    Avatar
    Dr Bunsen
    Participant

    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

    Improvements

    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

    Fixes

    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.

    #1277067
    Avatar
    Dr Bunsen
    Participant

    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.

    #1277054
    Avatar
    Anonymous

    Hi,

    I was just searching Google for Centova and came across this. Wonder if you could guide me a bit on this. I have a number of World War 2 sites and as an add on to that have been broadcasting music, news and speeches from that era. I have been using WHMSonic built into cPanel however once I get anything over 30 listeners it start to drag the cPanel VPS down and the performance of all other sites. I get the feeling that the combination of cPanel, active sites and then WHMSonic on top streaming audio is the issue rather than the streaming itself.

    So I am looking for a standalone version I can setup on it’s own VPS that can manage my stations whilst achieving all the same results as I am now. Do you think Centova is that answer to that?

    Thanks

    Lee

    #1277068
    Avatar
    Dr Bunsen
    Participant

    Centovacast is a very good standalone streaming solution but I’m not sure that what you have is a software problem. What streaming server is WHMS using? Is it Shoutcast or Icecast and if so what version are you running? Generally speaking these applications use muticasting where listener connections generate network traffic not system load.

    #1277057
    Avatar
    General Lighting
    Moderator

    My guess is a combination of rich media on Lee’s site as well as possibly a misconfigured “in browser” player could be increasing the server side load (maybe if the player ended up also being run on the server). Splitting the music onto another VPS makes operational sense anyway; as a modern anology BFBS want to be “close to the action” but would not set up their studio right in the middle of operational airfields and roadways of Camp Bastion 😉

    I woudl be interested in looking at these sites anyway; I have a strong interest in military history myself..

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