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RAIN 04/27: Verizon adds iHeartRadio streams to Internet TV service

Posted on: 04/27/2010

BUT STREAMS STILL TETHERED TO COMPUTER

Verizon’s fiber-optic Internet and television service FiOS now offers customers free live streaming of Clear Channel AM and FM stations and Internet-only streams available through its iHeartRadio service.

As PC World explains, customers’ computers need to be on to access the streams. “This is in stark contrast to streaming video and radio offerings from set-top boxes like Roku and even numerous Blu-ray players from, among others, Samsung. These boxes typically include YouTube, Netflix, and Pandora and can stream directly from the Internet (wired or wireless),” PC World writes. “Verizon’s Shawn Strickland, vice president of consumer strategy for Verizon, did admit that it’s a long term goal to not only cut the PC and desktop application out of the picture, but to, potentially, bypass Verizon’s own set-top boxes as well. The company could even foresee a scenario where customers have a console like the Xbox 360 and are using Verizon-network-based services to access FiOS IPTV offerings.” Read more from PC World online here. RAIN reported on the Clear Channel/Verizon deal when it was announced in January here.

WEBSTER CALLS PANDORA’S FACEBOOK DEAL AN “END RUNAROUND ONLINE MUSIC COMPETITION

Edison Media’s Tom Webster has his own take on the Pandora integration of Facebook’s new Open Graph (“Like”) platform: It’s going to make life very difficult for Pandora’s competition.

You’ll soon see Facebook’s “Like” button everywhere on the Web, and all the information its use generates will merely increase and strengthen Facebook’s database. If the filter that is your social network truly is the new “search,” publishers (like Pandora) simply “hand over the reins of user suggestions to Facebook’s Open Graph,” Webster writes, “and in exchange, when people share links on Facebook about songs or artists they like, those links are increasingly likely to be Pandora links.”

From Webster’s blog: “Take all of this together, and the future for online radio (both for terrestrial broadcasters AND for online-only streamers who are not part of this master plan) just got a little murkier. With the near-total commoditization of music online, playing music is essentially like trucking wheat. The only way to grow in that business is scale. Having already leapfrogged everyone else on mobile phones, Pandora is set once again to leapfrog its rivals by getting in bed with what is increasingly everyone’s home page on the Internet. As shared links to “liked” songs become the new currency of music discovery online, Pandora and Facebook may have just done an end run around everyone in the online music space, and there probably isn’t anything you can do about that.” Read Webster’s Infinite Dial blog here.

TABLET COMPUTERS COULD BECOME CASUAL USER’S MACHINE OF CHOICE

Apple’s latest gadget is not only proving to be a big seller, a San Jose Mercury News columnist is now convinced that “in short order PCs will be displaced by tablets like the iPad.”

Troy Wolverton says the device (and those like it, like the Joo Joo [pictured below]) is both simple to use and doesn’t overwhelm the average user with complexities of maintenance and security, like PCs. He writes, “The history of electronics shows that when you take a complex product and make it less intimidating and easier to use, you open up the market for the technology.”

Certainly tablets won’t replace desktop or notebook computers for the type of work for which these machines were originally designed. But as we use these machines more and more for browsing, light reading, and entertainment, it only stands to reason that we’ll see new devices designed with this type of use in mind. And certainly, you don’t need crazy processing power or tons of memory to listen to Internet radio. Read the Mercury News column here.



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