Sunday, November 26, 2006

Holiday Rhapsody

A big part of our holiday season is listening to Christmas songs and this year we started on thanksgiving day ... a bit early for my wife but I couldn't wait to tune in to the radio stations that play holiday songs throughout the season. But this year I also fired up Rhapsody and listened to their holiday offerings. I went to their radio and found a couple stations featuring holiday music. One that I particularly like is their Cool Yule radio station that features jazz holiday tunes.

If you haven't tried Rhapsody yet, or if you haven't heard about it, it's this great music subscription service from Real Networks (http://www.rhapsody.com/). I got hooked into it by the free version available to all Comcast internet users. Of course the free version is pretty limited because you can only listen to 25 songs in a month, so it wasn't long until I signed on for their paid version. You get unlimited use of their million+ songs and the quality is superb. I'm not even a power user but having access to a new album (or an old one that I haven't heard in a long time) makes it worth it. I pay about $9/month and given the amount of songs I can freely choose to listen to, it's well worth it. I only wish we had internet access from cars already so that I can use Rhapsody from my car as well.

What makes Rhapsody really great is it turns the whole broadcast model of radio upside down. We choose what we want to listen to and when we want to listen. There's even this new gadget from Sonos (http://www.sonos.com/) that allows you to integrate Rhapsody with your home stereo without having to use your computer. I'm not about to shell for it yet because it's still a bit pricey, but it sounds like a great idea. They even have these cool controllers that you can hand to a friend who's visiting your house so they can also browse your million song collection.


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