With the advent of the internet, it has become commonplace for immense amounts of information to be accessible to millions of people instantly worldwide. The amazing benefits of the internet continue to expand the entertainment world, especially with the extension of radio to the Web.
Thousands of online radio stations are available worldwide, giving the listener an almost limitless selection of music – and the best part is that it’s free.
The Technology of Internet Radio
Conventional radio stations broadcast their information via radio transmitters over the “airwaves,” requiring only an antenna to receive the signal. The primary limitations are that radio reception is limited in range and requires an unobstructed path between the transmitter and the receiver. In contrast, the internet radio system links any two locations that have access to the internet, so the limitations associated with traditional radio do not exist. As long as you have a moderately fast internet connection, you can listen to a “webcast” from anywhere in the world.
The widespread use of broadband internet connectivity was essential to the growth of Internet radio because the technology requires a continuous stream of information. The audio is sent using a coding process, or “codec,” that sends information serially in packets to the receiver. The receiver then reassembles the data and plays it after a minor delay. As with all things audio, the sound quality depends on the format and quality of the source. Overall, with this technology, you can find a fabulous selection of music with delightful quality.
Products with Internet Radio
Internet radio isn’t just limited to computers anymore. Many manufacturers – of all types – have jumped on the internet radio bandwagon. Denon receivers now have internet radio capability, and Crestron recently introduced a tuner for their automated audio/video distribution systems. LG and other manufacturers offer the internet radio feature in their Bluray machines. Additionally, many “smart” phones and internet-capable portable players are also offering the feature.
Internet Radio Solutions
As we’ve pointed out, this new music source can give you access to media worldwide. It’s fantastic to listen to a radio station based in England, France, or Brazil. It can also be a great way to ensure the perfect reception of any local program you cannot receive with the old antenna system.
If you’re interested in using internet radio, do an internet search and look at the thousands of sites available. Indeed, one of the most popular choices is Pandora (www.pandora.com). This unique site is free if you don’t mind an occasional advertisement. You can create your mix of music by picking an artist or a song you like, and the system will create a mix of music that is similar to your choice and will give you the option to build your radio stations. Like most sites, by paying a small fee, you can get commercial-free music as well.