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Radio Roku

July 25, 2007

This past weekend up updated our three Roku SoundBridges to the release candidate of Version 3 of their software. The main new feature of this new version is access to Radio Roku.

Radio Roku is Roku’s collection of links to over 3500 Internet radio stations. This is a pretty good attempt at making web radio useful and accessible. A number of good features make this service worthwhile:

  • You can listen to stations either on a SoundBridge from the RadioRoku website so you are not tied to a particular delivery mechanism.
  • You can select both 18 presets (available from a button press) and a longer list of favorites.
  • Favorites and presets chosen on the website are immediately reflected on all of your SoundBridges.
  • Stations that are not on your favorites list are relatively easily accessible by genre (and by some other less useful (to me) criteria).
  • The entire collection of radio stations (URLs, classification, etc.) is maintained by the Roku user community.
  • The website has a Now Playing widget, which can should you what is currently playing on 70-100 stations at any given time (presumably the only stations providing such data). This allows you to select a station without having to flip through each one. It’s like an RSS reader for Internet radio.

The SoundBridge isn’t perfect (I still wish it had fast forward or skip ahead functionality), but it makes a good UPnP music player and these Internet radio features are a welcome addition. Best of all Roku continues to update their firmware to add new functionality.

Worth checking out.

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