Sunday, March 7, 2010

Increasing and Expanding Internet Radio and Wi-Fi Availability

John Marine | 3/07/2010 03:17:00 AM | | |
I wanted to do this blog entry before or after I did my previous entry on Digitally Imported. Part of the reason is because I tend to feel like Internet radio offers up better diversity of songs than what you'd hear on average radio. These days, you have only a select number of channels that you actually like. At least here in the United States, we have HD Radio. HD Radio is about high-definition radio with a few more channels you probably didn't know exist. So here's what it boils down to, basically... you have to pay for some three-figure device to freely receive more channels (including AM channels in high quality). There used to be a time where Internet radio was at a crossroads. The future of Internet radio has been a dark one for lots of online broadcasters. Maybe the best reason why people love Internet radio is because they want to listen to much more than just what local stations are putting out. I sometimes wish I could listen to almost any kind of Internet radio station anywhere I'm at with any station in the world. I'd have no problem listening to British pop while at a library, lounge electronica at a cool restaurant, Japanese pop while at the supermarket, or any streaming Ibiza sessions on the road while my parents are enjoying country music. There isn't a true one-size-fits-all approach of making Internet radio available to almost anyone. That's why I'm opening this discussion- what can be done to make Internet radio more accessible when on the go or whatever? What would you propose to help people to connect to their favorite Internet radio stations when on the go?

--- Introduction to Internet Media ---
One thing I was considering was getting a portable music player that can also support Internet radio. Or maybe SanDisk can make a Sansa similar to the old SanDisk Sansa Connect, only for various Internet stations whether with Shoutcast or with any Windows Media Internet channels. Perhaps even add the ability to include streaming video in addition to audio. But back to the main topic.

Problem is, how do develop a steady stream of electronica to listen to wherever you go? What if your parents are driving a car with the radio tuned in to music you don't like... and want to listen to something from your favorite Internet station? Well more than likely, you'll need some kind of receiver to pick up Wi-Fi connections. I'm not so sure you can pick up a little Wi-Fi adapter for almost any portable media player just so you can have Wi-Fi support on the road. It would probably have to be a device that allows you to access Internet radio if you're within a Wi-Fi hot spot. Please note that I am not referring to cellular phones or phone devices. I'm talking about mostly portable music players. Or another possibility would be making more portable media players with Internet radio and Wi-Fi more available.

As far as I know, the only affordable portable music player with Wi-Fi and Internet Radio capabilities, it's the Zune lineup. But what about if you want something more affordable with equal (or maybe even better) Internet radio and Wi-Fi capabilities?

--- Why Expand Availability for Internet Radio? ---
One such reason is because not everyone with local radio. Not many want to pay for satellite radio. A lot more probably don't even want to go for HD radio for their cars. If no local radio is capable of playing great music you can listen to at any time (that's the point of radio, right?), then there has to be some way to get to listen to Internet radio.

The primary obstacles would be in making the technology cheaper (in price) and even offering more devices to be able to play any Internet radio link saved on a device. So what do you do here? Do you offer Wi-Fi adapters that can give various MP3 and portable music players the ability to receive and play Internet radio? Do you go along with Wi-Fi receivers and adapters for cars to enjoy Internet media on the go? There are just a number of different factors to determine this thing.

--- Internet Radio Devices ---
NOTE: This section contains links to Amazon products. You are welcome to click on images and links to learn more about each item. You are free to order any items featured in this section or in any widget if you choose. Please see "An Important Amazon Note" in my blog's sidebar to see more information on any Amazon items shown.

I initially didn't intend to discuss any products devoted to Internet radio. However, I'll post a few items here including a widget to where you can find more products if you're looking for such things. Check out a few of these products for listening to Internet radio:

^ This supposedly is for storing lots of your favorite Internet radio stations around the world. All you need is a USB port and an active Internet connection. That's it! But according to some of the reviews for it, it's not something to look at if you own a Mac.

^ Aluratek provides this alarm radio so you can listen to Internet radio or even wake up to Internet radio. You can go to sleep with your favorite Internet radio

^ While it isn't truly portable, this Logitech radio has LOTS of features to share your love of Internet radio. Computer access is not required. This is something to think about if wanting to give a gift to someone. Believe it or not, it also comes in red.

At least you know that if you want Internet radio with or without a computer, you have your options. You have many more options when you check out my widget. Be sure to click on any item you see in this widget if you see something you like or want to get. Here are more Internet radio devices:

So how can Internet radio be expanded? Will there be cheaper devices made to take advantage of this? Can more Wi-Fi support be made available to make Internet radio better accessible at home or on the road? You're free to comment at will! Thanks for reading, everyone!

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