If you know what the title of this post means, are a geek and early adopter, and would like to join the alpha test, shoot me an email to allanthinks [at] gmail [dot] com. I'll send you one of my 10 invites.
Being able to listen to Internet radio is very important to Alison and me. Besides the fact that had it not been for Radio Paradise we might never have met, we enjoy being able to listen to decent music whenever we want. Music that can't be heard on conventional, corporate controlled radio anymore.
But Internet radio is in danger of extinction at the hands of the recording industry, as represented by the RIAA. The recording companies have been trying to quash Internet radio since it began early in this decade, out of misplaced fear. They almost succeeded in 2002, but pressure from Congress forced them to negotiate a reasonably fair royalty plan.
But the industry is once again on the march, and has enlisted the aid of the US Copyright Office, which recently set new royalties for Internet radio stations to pay to the recording companies. Not to the composers and performers of the music (the stations already pay royalties to them), but to the record companies themselves. Royalties that traditional radio stations do not have to pay.
These royalty rates are astronomical, forcing most Internet radio stations to pay as much as 125% of their annual revenues to the RIAA. And the payments will be retroactive to the beginning of 2006, which will bankrupt these stations for sure.
Recently, our local telephone company announced that they had begun offering FIOS, a fiber optic to the premises service, promising very high speed Internet access (up to 12 MB/sec) as well as other features like digital television over phone lines. However, they are only offering it to new residential developments. Old neighborhoods won't be able to get it for now.
But in advance of this announcement, the local cable company, from whom we get our Internet access, announced a system upgrade to provide all Internet users increased throughput. Up to 10 MB/sec downstream and 1 MB/sec upstream.
We've noticed faster downloads of files, and multimedia content for the past couple of months. Today I decided to put it to the test.
These are excellent results considering the load on our home wireless network. We have two computers running multiple browser tabs (some of which reload automatically), and the Roku Soundbridge streaming our favorite radio station at 128kbps.
We do. Now. This is one of the toys we bought at Best Buy today. The other was a zippy Netgear Rangemax Wireless Router to get us up to 802.11G speed.
We had been streaming Internet radio to WinAmp on my laptop since the old computer died. It had served as our music and print server, but the hard drive crapped out about a month ago.
Since then, I have left my newer laptop on the computer desk so we could listen to music. I missed the mobility that the laptop had afforded me. Before, I could sit on the sofa, or take the computer into the bedroom, or even sit outside on the porch. But after the old computer died, if we wanted to listen to tunes, I had to stay at the desk with the powered speakers plugged in.
But the ROKU Soundbridge frees me from those shackles. The speakers are now plugged into it, and it streams music off the Internet via our wireless network.
It was very easy to set up, and has a huge database of Internet radio stations built in. You can also play MP3s through it from any computer on the network.
I wish I had bought one sooner. Now all we need is a wireless print server.