Last week I was reading an article online about a service called Pandora. I went to the site and within 30 seconds, I had set up my new account. It was extremely simple and I was streaming music to my home computer in no time at all.
What is Pandora
Pandora is a music streaming service that allows you to create your own “stations.” You do this by selecting artists, genres, or songs. The service will then play music that is similar to your selection. For example, one of my stations is Rage Against the Machine. On that station, I can hear songs from Rage, Tool, Beastie Boys, Nirvana, etc. As I listen to music, I can give the songs that Pandora selects a thumbs up or a thumbs down. This allows the service to learn even more about my likes and dislikes. As you train Pandora, your music selections become more tailored to your tastes.
There is no limit to the amount of music that you can listen to. You are not able to listen to a specific songs, but can listen to the “stations” that you create. If you don’t like a song, you simply skip it. Pandora allows you to skip up to 6 songs per hour per station. If you really like a song, you can purchase it and have it added to your iTunes library!
Pandora for iPhone
Being an iPhone addict, I went right to the iTunes App Store to see if there was a Pandora app. There was, it is free, and I downloaded it immediately. I have to say that this is one of the very coolest apps that I have on my phone. It works extremely well and is very intuitive to use. It syncs to your regular account so any station that you create on the fly will be there at home and the other way around.
I put my headphones on and listened to Pandora for about an hour around my house. It worked fantastic on my WiFi network, but I was very interested to see what would happen when I used it on the cellular network. Later that night, my fiance and I went to Hazleton to eat. I plugged the iPhone’s headphone output into the Aux input plug on Marcia’s factory radio. We listened to Pandora all the way up the Broad Mountain and into Hazleton. It didn’t drop out or hiccup once! The overall sound quality was good. I would say it is similar to an iPod’s sound quality. Not great, but better than average.
Pandora is also available on Windows Mobile enabled devices.
Pandora for Your Car
It got me thinking that this would be an excellent addition to any car audio system. Plug it in, select your station and you can be listening to your favorite music in seconds. Many newer car’s factory radios and most new aftermarket head units have an “Auxilliary input” on the front or back of the radio. All you need is a cheap cable and you are in business. But what if your factory radio does not have an auxilliary input? That is where Mobile Edge comes in. We can add an input to most any radio. There are a variety of ways to accomplish this and we can determine what is the best way for your vehicle. If you have a device that will work with Pandora, stop in and let us show you how we can integrate it to your vehicle.
How does Pandora compare to Satellite Radio or HD Radio? My initial thoughts are that Pandora is a great addition to HD or satellite, but not a replacement for either. Pandora relies on a WiFi or cellular connection so if you are out of range, it won’t work. As for sound quality, I feel that all three are very similar. No clear winner. It looks like Pandora is purely music so you wont be able to listen to talk radio, sports or things like CNBC or CNN. One clear advantage for Pandora is the fact that it is customized to your musically tastes. HD or Satellite do not have the ability to do that (yet!).
Check it out when you get a chance. It is free and appears to be a very user friendly, functional service.
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