a wizened old man
I think I probably qualify on that front.
I started doing occasional broadcasting in 2005 from a Mac laptop using NiceCast software. As it was just experimental I used my domestic upstream bandwidth and a low bitrate, allowing up to ten listeners. Later I rented a relay server which allowed up to 50 listeners at 128 kbps stereo - you only send one stream and essentially you pay for bandwidth capacity (whether used or not) but can upgrade as you need to. The service I use also gives me 3 Gb of storage so I can upload Mp3s and set playlists for when I am not live on air (which is most of the time).
I run all inputs (microphone, second computer, guitars etc
) through a small mixer and send a stereo mix through a USB interface to the broadcast computer (which runs the software server that uploads the stream using my domestic connection).
The relay server that receives the upload stream can be switched between my live broadcasts and playlists from the storage. It only broacasts at 128 kbps stereo but I provide alternate bitrate streams through another service designed for mobile devices, which does the conversion - it works fine over GPRS but each device (iPhone, Android etc
) has to install a streaming app.
For standard computer users I offer a one-click Flash player plus support for iTunes, WinAmp, RealPlayer and others (media players vary in how they handle URLs). There is no single solution that works for all computer setups, the Flash player is the most compatible.
To vaguely answer your other specific questions, a stream can be password protected, meta tag display depends on client capability, commercial packages vary, and while the packages are pretty configurable any custom requirements will probably cost extra.
Hope this helps.