Thursday, April 14, 2011

Squeezebox Update (Internet Radio) Part III


A while back I bought a Logitech "Squeezebox" which is an internet radio. The squeezebox used to retail for over $200 but now you can buy it through Amazon for $144.

This time I bought the radio for my parents because my father said that he was interested in an internet radio. It is funny because I was literally thinking about buying one for a gift for him that day and then when I saw him he had a WSJ article out on internet radio and asked for one. Sometimes I buy people digital gifts that they don't think that they want and it is hit-or-miss but this one was a big hit.

I did not set it up for them to run their own music wirelessly because they keep their music on a common drive (not a PC) and from reading the support materials I realized that the squeezebox can't read these files (unless they are on a live PC). In addition this keeps setup much simpler because I can take out the options for your own music and just concentrate on using it as an internet radio.

I used more of the search features and you can find any radio station by call letters. They are interested in Jazz so I found a couple of the most famous Jazz stations on the Internet and programmed them in. They also have "most popular" radio stations from around the world including Europe which were fun as well. I programmed in some stations including the weather station on the 6 buttons so that they could get right to them but they did figure out how to work the menu to find and save stations as favorites on their own (this allows you to save more than the 6 presets).

I haven't ever read the whole manual and there is lots that I find out by luck on the radio. I didn't realize that if you push the big dial on the front it brings up cool information on the station and many of the more organized stations have calendars of upcoming shows and the like. I need to read the manual except that when I tried previously it was from a few generations of "firmware" ago so the menus had changed significantly and it seemed pointless.

The sound from the radio is excellent for such a small package. The sound quality of the stations is pretty good but varies depending on connectivity and the bit rate.

All in all an excellent gift for someone and if you use it just as a radio it is easy to set up and use. Just put it somewhere where you have at least OK wifi coverage, get on your network, set up a squeezebox account (you don't even need to log in to your computer to do this), and go. You also can check for firmware updates even if you don't install the squeezebox control panel on your desktop.

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