How to lis­ten to In­ter­net ra­dio in your car

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IN­TER­NET ra­dio may not have re­ceived a lot of press un­til ser­vices like Pan­dora rolled out, but the medium has ac­tu­ally been around, in one form or an­other, for a pretty long time.

Ac­cord­ing to Lifewire, the first tra­di­tional ra­dio sta­tions started ex­per­i­ment­ing with In­ter­net stream­ing in the early 1990s, the now-ma­ligned pi­o­neer of stream­ing me­dia, Realau­dio, showed up on the scene in 1995, and pro­grams like Null­soft’s Wi­namp al­lowed any­one with a de­cent In­ter­net con­nec­tion to cre­ate their own vir­tual ra­dio sta­tion by the late 1990s.

By 2012, nearly one-quar­ter of young adults and teens were lis­ten­ing to In­ter­net ra­dio in lieu of broad­cast ra­dio.

Of course, through­out most of the his­tory of In­ter­net ra­dio, tun­ing in meant chain­ing your­self to your com­puter— or a Wifi-en­abled In­ter­net ra­dio de­vice, if you were so in­clined. It wasn’t un­til the rise of the smart­phone, and de­vel­op­ments in the cel­lu­lar in­fra­struc­ture that al­lowed high-speed mo­bile In­ter­net con­nec­tions, that lis­ten­ing to In­ter­net ra­dio on the go re­ally be­came a thing.

With those pieces in place, there are now a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent ways you can ditch tra­di­tional ra­dio or your Satel­lite ra­dio sub­scrip­tion and lis­ten to In­ter­net ra­dio in your car. And when you do, you will find that the lis­ten­ing op­tions that open up are pretty much end­less.

Re­quired equip­ment for lis­ten­ing to In­ter­net ra­dio in your car

Lis­ten­ing to tra­di­tional AM/FM ra­dio, or even HD ra­dio is about as sim­ple as it gets.

Even with ru­mours of ra­di­o­less car ra­dios swirling on the hori­zon, pretty much any head unit you buy and in­stall will have a ra­dio tuner, and there’s a de­cent chance that it will also be ca­pa­ble of re­ceiv­ing HD ra­dio.

In­ter­net ra­dio, on the other hand, re­quired a hand­ful of dif­fer­ent com­po­nents to work, all or most of which won’t come in­cluded with your OEM or after­mar­ket stereo.

At a very ba­sic level, there are two things that you’ll need if you want to lis­ten to In­ter­net ra­dio in your car: a mo­bile In­ter­net con­nec­tion and a de­vice that’s ca­pa­ble of ac­cess­ing In­ter­net ra­dio con­tent. As you may have guessed, mod­ern smart­phones pro­vide a great way to lis­ten to In­ter­net ra­dio on the road, since they com­bine both of those func­tion­al­i­ties into a sin­gle, por­ta­ble pack­age that you’re prob­a­bly al­ready car­ry­ing around with you any­way.

Aside from a smart­phone, you can also ac­cess In­ter­net ra­dio in your car via a head unit that in­cludes In­ter­net ra­dio func­tion­al­ity and a sep­a­rate mo­bile hotspot, or a teth­ered phone, which is some­times an op­tion. Some cars ac­tu­ally come with OEM head units that can ac­cess In­ter­net ra­dio and built-in Wifi hotspots that can also share a con­nec­tion to your other de­vices.

Lis­ten­ing to In­ter­net ra­dio in your car with a smart­phone

If you have a smart­phone with a de­cent data plan, then that’s prob­a­bly go­ing to be eas­i­est, least ex­pen­sive way to bring In­ter­net ra­dio into your car. And if you al­ready have some way of con­nect­ing your phone to your head unit, then that’s even bet­ter—all you have to do is con­nect the phone as you would nor­mally, down­load the ap­pro­pri­ate In­ter­net ra­dio app, and you’re good to go.

If you don’t al­ready have a method of con­nect­ing your head unit to your phone, then you have a few op­tions, de­pend­ing on the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of your head unit:

• Blue­tooth car kit

• FM trans­mit­ter

• FM mod­u­la­tor

• USB con­nec­tion

Lo­cat­ing In­ter­net ra­dio apps the best, and eas­i­est, way to lis­ten to In­ter­net ra­dio on your phone, and in your car, is via the ap­pro­pri­ate app. Some In­ter­net ra­dio ser­vices that of­fer apps in­clude:

• Pan­dora

• Last.fm

• iheartra­dio

• Slacker Ra­dio

• Tunein Ra­dio

Some In­ter­net ra­dio apps, like tunein, act as ag­gre­ga­tors that pro­vide ac­cess to simul­cast streams of phys­i­cal AM and FM sta­tions, while oth­ers al­low you to cre­ate your own, cus­tomised sta­tions based on your pref­er­ences, and oth­ers, like Pan­dora, use com­plex al­go­rithms to gen­er­ate cus­tom sta­tions based on how you rate in­di­vid­ual songs that pop up. Us­ing a head unit to lis­ten to In­ter­net ra­dio

In ad­di­tion to smart­phone apps, some head units come with built-in ra­dio apps or al­low you to in­stall ra­dio apps, that pro­vide ac­cess to many of those same ser­vices. If your OEM head unit came with that func­tion­al­ity, then all you need to do is add an In­ter­net con­nec­tion, in the form of teth­er­ing your phone or ob­tain­ing a mo­bile hotspot. Other cars ac­tu­ally come with built-in mo­bile hotspots, which you may have to pay to ac­ti­vate.

• Source: www.con­nectms.co.uk

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