Sunday, November 16, 2008

Stream Pandora Radio in Your Car

One of the best new iphone apps is the free Pandora radio application. Pandora radio allows you to build custom radio stations based on your favorite artists and tweak your radio stations as you listen. Its a great free web-app for laptop music, but with an iphone you can take Pandora with you anywhere. 

My car has a simple line-in audio auxillary jack that I can plug my iphone into. The Pandora iphone app is designed to stream over Wifi, 3G or Edge, and audio quality is adjusted based on the quality of your data connection. I tested Pandora both in the city with a good 3G connection and also on a road trip where only Edge was available. 

3G streaming had great quality and zero interruptions during my test. I found it to be a perfectly functioning music option for city driving. Think of it as a free alternative to satellite radio. 

With Edge, I found the quality to be noticeable lower, however, it was still adequate. During my 2 hour drive through the country, the phone stopped for bufferring about 3 or 4 times. Most of the skips came early on when I first started the app. Once it got going, I had at least an hour of uniterrupted music. 

I found Pandora to be a nice option for road trips when you grow tired of your own collection or just want to hear some new music. I could do without the skips, but overall it was not enough of an annoyance to prevent me from using the app on the road when I am restricted to an Edge connection. 

Friday, November 14, 2008

The iPhone is Perfect for a Whole House Music System

When the iPhone released its new "app store" in the summer of 2008, there was a lot of excitement over the possibile apps that would be designed in order to give the phone new capabilities. Six months later, one thing is becoming increasingly clear........the iPhone is the perfect controller for a whole-house home music system. 

Here's why:

One of the first apps released for the iPhone was the Apple Remote. This free app gives iPhone users the ability to control iTunes remotely over a wifi network. You can also control and Apple TV and extend Itunes through the use of Apple's Airport Express router. The Apple Remote interface resembles the iPod interface. Just connect to your Itunes library over wifi and you will see all of your songs and playlists neatly organized on your iPhone. Are there limitations? Yes. You can play the same music in multiple rooms, but you can't play different music in different rooms. However, its still a very cool system and gives you the ability to access your entire music selection from your iPhone. 

Sonos recently released a free iPhone app that gives you the ability to control an entire Sonos whole-house music system. I previewed the system on their website and it looks very well done. The main advantage is that you can forgo buying a $400 Sonos controller, making it much cheaper to set-up a basic Sonos music system. Plus Sonos gives you the ability to play the same or different music in different rooms of the house, and gives you access to Pandora, Rhapsody, Sirius, and internet radio stations. 

Here's another great app for those of you that own the Roku Soundbridge. Roku Remote allows you to remotely control 1 or more Soundbridge systems using and iPhone interface that resembles the organizational structure on your Soundbridge. I find it to be a more friendly way to browse and play my music that using the Soundbridge itself. Plus, it adds album art and lyrics to your iPhone when you select a track to play. All in all, a great app. 

These are 3 great options to stream music through your house. And I'm sure there may be many more to come. If you have an iPhone, take advantage of these capabilities to get the most out of your music collection.