A number of repeat visitors have asked us this question. It was working fine for them, why change it?
We started our web service in 2001 with 100 programs and Real Audio as the streaming format and the media player. Today this format is all but abandoned online.
We launched our Windows Media Audio service in 2004 when WMA was the leading format, because it was compatible with the vast majority of Windows machines out there and many Windows users had, umm, issues with Real Audio. But by 2007 we were spending hours every day trying to support Mac and Linux users as well as many Windows users who had serious technical problems with Windows Media — an unsustainable burden for a small company like HOS and an imposition on our users.
Today, Windows Media Player has been abandoned even by Microsoft, in favor of their new Silverlight format, which is largely a response to the enormous popularity of Flash on sites like MySpace and YouTube, and the fact that — after you download a tiny browser plug-in — Flash just works on all the major operating system and browser combinations.
This is what has driven us to move to Flash, not a perverse desire to keep up with technical fads and fashions. Not only that, it allows us to deliver a far better sounding and more feature-rich and fun-to-use experience to listeners (see the full list of new features below) a fact that weighs in our favor when users decide whether it is worth paying our modest fees for the full service.
The web is not a static environment. It changes in small and large ways all the time, and like it or not, we are all obliged to move along with it. I guarantee that you will not be using the same computer and software five years from now that you are using today. In fact, you may be using your 'smart' cell phone for many of the things you use your computer for today, including listening to Hearts of Space.
So please take your time getting used to the new service — you'll find it's a big step forward. If you're having any difficulties during the transition, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and give us the details of the problem. We're here to make the change as smooth and effortless as possible for you.
:: Stephen Hill and the small, progressive, compassionate, HOS Staff