Even the FCC says that digital radio is the radio of the future. Hopefully, our old battery powered radios will still work in case of an emergency, unlike our older TV sets that do not have a special box that has to be plugged in. We shouldn’t be forced to change everything, in my opinion, just because it might be better.
This is what the FCC says about digital radio:
Digital radio is the transmission and reception of sound that has been processed using technology comparable to that used in compact disc (CD) players. In short, a digital radio transmitter processes sounds into patterns of numbers, or “digits” – hence the term “digital radio.” In contrast, traditional analog radios process sounds into patterns of electrical signals that resemble sound waves.
Why Switch to Digital Radio Anyway?
Well, the biggest reason to switch is that the sound quality is better. Comparing digital radio to regular radio is sort of like comparing modern compact disks to old LPs. The sound quality is as good as a good digital FM station can broadcast, and this is supposed to be much better than what any AM station can broadcast. It is also more resistant to interference and can get broadcast further than analog radio signals.
Yes, you do need a new radio to pick up digital radio signals. Even now, some radio stations have mirror stations that broadcast in digital. But they still have an older analog stations for listeners without a digital radio.
With so many choices, it might be hard to even find the Internet radio stations you actually will enjoy when you get the chance to stream them to another device or simply tune in when you are working. By the way, you can purchase small Internet radios that basically only function as receivers for bandwidth from wireless routers. That might be convenient if you don’t want to tie up another device to provide some background sound. .
Like the famous Last.FM, this one is all about listening to playlists and social networking with other music fans. You can also connect with other users on discussions about different music genres and topical conversations. They even give you remote storage for your own music. It’s sort of a combination of Last.FM and Facebook.
Many users say this is one of the best Internet radio services today, but they have had some licensing challenges recently. Spotify differentiates itself from iTunes and Pandora by behaving as a massive external hard drive (i.e. it plays full songs and albums as if you owned the CD). As a recommendation and discovery tool, Spotify also stands out: it reads your own music collection and playlists from your hard drives, and then suggests new releases, top-10 lists, and your friends’ music lists. The interface is clean, and the search box is very convenient.
The service is free and unlimited for six months. After that, users can continue to receive free music with some limitations on number of hours, or else they can subscribe for five dollars a month.
There are two different ways to listen to broadcasts at Pirate Radio Network. You can use a web tuner or via a downloadable special player. Dozens and dozens of different music genres abound here, and you’re bound to discover new music that you will like at Pirate Radio Network. For those of you who use a PC: you can even make your own radio station and start broadcasting yourself as an amateur DJ. You will have to install a software package to try this, but it’s definitely worth trying if you’ve ever wanted to DJ.
If you are thinking about signing up for satellite radio service, you might wonder which paid service is best. It seems like the main contenders are XM and SIRIUS. Sometimes people just use XM as a name for all satellite radio bands, like AM and FM are for regular radio, so this can get confusing. However, the right choice probably depends upon what you and your family like to listen to.
Compare Channels, Costs, and Programming for SIRIUS vs. XM
Costs vary depending upon the length of your contract, and both services let you pay monthly. You can get cheaper packages if you buy several months at a time, and this might also be more convenient.
This programming lineup also varies all the time. This is some fairly recent information about programming and channels for SIRIUS and XM, but it could change:
XM channels: XM has 150 Channels
SIRIUS channels: SIRIUS has 120 channels.
Variety on SIRIUS: Out of SIRIUS’ 120, 65 are commercial-free music channels and the other 55 are “talk, news, sports and entertainment programming”.
Variety on XM: XM offers 67 music channels, many commercial free, with 30 others that stream a similar variety as SIRIUS.
Is SIRIUS or XM Better?
Go ahead and review the websites for each service to determine which is right for you. You will, of course, also need equipment that is capable of receiving satellite radio signals, so that may factor into your final decision too.