Jamming Out to Wi-Fi Radio

With people regularly griping about the song repetition and abundance of commercials on FM radio, it’s surprising that Internet radio nevertheless tends to get overlooked. Internet radio offers individuals a huge variety of different content tailored to just about any musical preference – from punk and world music to 80s jams and soul – often with minimal (or sometimes no) commercial interruptions. And Internet radio is not just for the computer anymore. A number of portable Wi-Fi radios are now obtainable that make back-porch listening a reality.

The sleek Grace Digital Wireless Internet Radio receives streaming Internet content by a home’s wireless network (via a router). The Grace Digital radio supports MP3, WMA and Real Media streaming, includes a 4-line LCD characterize and lets a person access 11,000 global radio stations with ease. An individual can browse by the great number of Web radio stations by genre or location (city, county or state), get weather reports or sports scores and already stream music from a Mac or PC to the unit. The Grace radio does not require a computer to be on for use (it truly does not already require a computer at all). And while its single speaker may not produce the best sound quality around, the device can be connected and played by a stereo system.

Another Internet radio with an already more compact design, the Com One Phoenix Wi-Fi Radio, has many of the same features as the Grace Digital radio – including access to thousands of internet radio stations. But the Phoenix is thinner, lighter and completely wireless (most other Internet radios, including the Grace, have to be plugged in), running on four rechargeable AA batteries. The Phoenix also boats more intuitive, user-friendly controls – including eight preset buttons and the ability to bookmark different stations. The Phoenix has two very small circular speakers limiting the quantity and audio quality, but, like the Grace Digital unit, it also can be plugged into a stereo or headphones (and already then sound quality depends on the bit rate of the stream).

Finally, for individuals unwilling to shell out cash for a device that essentially does what a laptop can do (if in a slicker, more functional package), the coolest way to access Internet music is Pandora. by Pandora, individuals can create their own “stations” based on specific musical tastes. An individual simply enters in an artist, and Pandora creates and plays an unending list of related songs (for example, entering “The Strokes” creates a stop that plays artists like Kings of Leon, Arctic Monkeys and The Killers, with a little Nirvana, The Cure and Weezer sprinkled in). This is all done by the Music Genome Project, an ambitious undertaking that involves trained musicologists listening to song after song and noting the characteristics of each one. When a person enters an artist, Pandora plays songs that have similar characteristics. Amazingly, the playlists are pretty dead-on. And it’s a great way to both listen to favorite songs and discover new artists. Individuals can access Pandora by a computer or listen to it by the Grace Digital and Com One Wi-Fi radios.

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