One last present arrived in the mail today. It wasn’t something I planned on getting, but on Xmas Eve, my beloved Roku Soundbridge Radio bit the dust, only two years after I got it. Radios should last forever … my guess is, many of the people reading this have an old radio or two lying around their house, years, even decades old, still working when you need something to listen to in the garage. Not so with the Soundbridge Radio, which was great at what it did, but didn’t do it long enough (I am not the first person to have one die). Since Roku is mostly involved with their Netflix player, they’ve pretty much forgotten about the Soundbridge owners, so getting the radio fixed was going to cost about as much as something new. So I went with something new, a Logitech Squeezebox Radio:
It’s an Internet radio that does most of what my old Soundbridge did, along with a few new things. To get the negative out of the way, the Soundbridge had built-in stereo speakers and a subwoofer; the Squeezebox has a built-in mono speaker, although the headphones outlet allows for stereo listening. Basically, the sound on this is not as good as what I had, but since I will use earphones with it much of the time, that’s not as important as it might be for others. As for the positive? Well, it works, and that’s pretty much all that matters for the moment.
It does the usual stuff today’s Internet radios do. You can listen to the Internet, obviously, those thousands of online radio stations (and terrestrial stations simulcasting online). You can listen to your Pandora account, or Sirius if you have it, or Rhapsody if you have it. You can access your Facebook account, although I’m not sure why you’d want to. You can connect it to Last.fm and have everything you play on the radio get listed on your What I’ve Listened To page on Last.fm. You can plug an MP3 player into it and use it as an external speaker.
Meanwhile, you can also set it up to access the hard drives on your home network, allowing you to play all of your music files anywhere in the house.
It probably does more, but I can’t remember anything at the moment. (Oh, yeah, it works as an alarm clock.) Not much of this is innovative compared to other Internet radios, although I suppose it sounds pretty futuristic if you don’t have such a player. There are better alternatives that hook up to your home stereo, but my specific desire is for a radio with built-in sound. Logitech makes a fancier model, the Squeezebox Boom … actually, the Boom came first, the Radio is a cut-rate version of the Boom. But it’s also half the cost.
Now that I have it set up (and that only took about 10 minutes, although I’d been led to believe it would take forever), I’ll hopefully forget all about it. Well, you know what I mean … we’ll get used to it right away, in fact we already are in a way, since it just duplicates the functions of our old Soundbridge. Robin, who likes to listen to old radio episodes of Gunsmoke before bedtime, will be glad that option has returned. Steven, who listens to any damn thing all night long, is glad that I can go back to a radio, instead of using my Pre, which is what I’ve done since the Soundbridge died. At this time last year, we were in the midst of getting 2/3 of a new house. Compared to that, this isn’t much. But it’s a nice way to end the year.