XM Hits the Desktop

Oh, man, this is too cool…

Anyone who has worked with me knows how much I like to listen to music while I work. It helps me concentrate and block out external distractions, especially when I’m programming.

Currently this means I use streaming Internet audio to feed my music jones. That’s great, except it means I’m chewing up bandwidth all day, every day. Multiply that bandwidth times the number of employees in a company (as if I were the only one wearing headphones!), and you can see why systems administrators HATE streaming audio.

Now, though, XM Satellite Radio has an elegant, affordable alternative to streaming audio: the XM PCR. It’s a little box that plugs into your computer via a USB port and provides you with instant access to all 100+ channels of XM programming. It shows you what’s playing on every station, so you can skip around channels listening to your favorite stuff, and even set up watch lists so you’ll be notified if a favorite band starts playing on another channel. It uses absolutely no bandwidth since the music comes from a satellite, not a Web server. And — it’s only $69.95 (plus the standard XM subscription, which is $9.95/month for the first radio and $6.95/month for each radio thereafter).

I have a Sony XM unit that I can connect to base stations in my car or my stereo unit — but I’ve often wanted to have a way to listen to XM at work too. It’s hard to imagine a better solution to that desire than this!