I love music on my Mac. My iTunes collection is over 3,000 songs and it’s all on my iPod. I also listen to ‘radio’ via iTunes, but quality suffers and selection is dubious.
XM satellite radio on the Mac? Yeah, I’d like that. Apple doesn’t make it availble but AOL does.
XM radio (part of it) is available through a new application from AOL, long known for leaving Mac users in the dust with anemic applications. The latest is called AOL Radio.
AOL. Always on the creative edge for product naming schemes. If you have an AOL account you can listen to the broadband streams of higher quality music. How much higher? I’m still trying to figure that out.
The download of AOL Radio is just over a single megabyte in size. The application is simple enough; brushed aluminum, like the iTunes of old, the Safari of today.
In typical AOL form, the interface could not be much simpler. There’s a play button and volume slider in the upper left corner. Station presets in the middle, along with a colored screen that displays the ‘radio’ channel and song.
To the right (still at the top) is an embossed music note icon and a typical Mac search field.
At the very bottom of the AOL Radio application is a huge AOL logo and icon. Huge. There’s not much that’s subtle with AOL.
Between the top and bottom is the good stuff. Music ‘sources’ in a column to the left, and music ‘stations’ in a column to the left.
That’s it. Click a source, then click a station related to the source, and music starts. That’s it. But I’m repeating myself.
The ‘sources’ are what you’d expect. Classical, Country, Dance, Hip Hop, Jazz, Kids, News, Sports, Talk, Pop, Oldies, Latino, Rock, and so on.
Near the top of the sources list are two XM Satellite Radio options—XM Radio Top 11, and XM Satellite Radio, each filled with numerious XM radio stations, or channels.
XM ‘60s, XM 70s, and 80s and so on. There’s XM KISS, XM The BLend, XM The City, and shooby dooby doo.
The XM Satellite Radio Source has a few dozen XM channels (stations) that cover the spectrum of music. Jazz, Love, Neo Soul, urban Top 40, Chart Topping Hits, Classic Album Cuts, even Unsigned Bands Only.
Need something different? Try The Sound of Africa. What? There’s no Broadway and Showtunes radio station playing in Colby, Kansas? XM on Broadway to the rescue.
AOL Radio’s preferences are typical Mac; limited. Broadband, Dialup. Show song, Update iChat status, Station Presets for AOL users, and an option to change the display colors (top center bar).
Did I mention ‘that’s it?’
Did I mention the quality? Very good. Streaming on broadband was excellent and buffering didn’t take much extra time. Your mileage may vary. I have no way of knowing (yet) the actual quality of the audio that’s being streamed.
iTunes streaming audio is modest, though AOL Radio sounds good.
Not having XM radio in my car or home, I can’t tell if the entire XM station collection is available, but there’s plenty.
Now all we need is an application that will record that streaming audio to the Mac for export to the iPod. Hmmmm.
Click Here for the download link to AOL Radio version 1.0.