PSP Internet Radio in-depth

This post was originally written on the City In The Clouds blog.

You might remember my previous look at a rather substantive PSP firmware update. So, what is new in the ever-evolving world of the PSP?

The firmware update lists the following changes

[Internet Radio] has been added as a feature under [Network].
The importing of channels in OPML format is now supported under [RSS Channel].
Photos can now be displayed under [RSS Channel].
New effects have been added to the visual player under [Music].

I was going to call this post “PSP Firmware 3.80 in-depth” and go through all the features in turn.  However in my opinion, Internet Radio is the only substantive feature that has been added- the rest are superficial yet still welcome nonetheless.

Internet Radio
This is probably THE killer feature of this particular firmware update; increasing the PSP’s ever-expanding features and value proposition. On reboot, the first thing you’ll notice is [Internet Radio] under [Network]. When you click on [Internet Radio] you’ll see [About Internet Radio] which you can click on. You are then sent to the PSP Internet Radio site, shown below:

PSP Internet Radio Webpage
You can access the page directly here.

You then click on “adding an internet radio player”, shown below:

PSP Internet Radio Webpage
You can access the page directly here.

Here you can download either player 1 or player 2.  The only difference I’ve noticed is that player 1 gets its radio list from SHOUTCAST and player 2 gets its list from ICECAST.

How it works
Depending on which one you download (or even both), the relevant icon will display within [Internet Radio].  You just click on this option, which takes you to a webpage.  But before you do so, you have to accept the message: “do you want to run the plugin embedded in this page?”

At first, the internet radio was quite slow to load up, however in successive tests (even after having the PSP turned off) performance has increased greatly (due to the player being cached in the browser’s memory.)  Internet radio works by ‘tuning’ into a broadcast streaming off the internet.  A definition/overview of internet radio is available here from Wikipedia.

Not an exact science
To select the radio station you want, you just choose your genre and then click elsewhere on the radio ‘frequency’ gaug, just like you would on a real radio.  Yet you can’t find exactly what you want.  How do I mean?  I found a helpful comment from Gaffman on PSP Fanboy:

The radio is fairly well implemented but hard to find anything specific. You have to pick a genre, then manually skip through stations without really knowing what’s coming up. Its a bummer because I was hoping to be able to search for specific stations, say if a friend had a shoutcast station setup you could tune in on PSP wherever you were. The current setup seems to be based on popularity with no regard for language or anything else.

If there ever was a criticism about the implementation of Internet- then that just about sums it up.  However Sony were probably trying to come up with a fairly simple implementation for the average consumer.  It is also interesting to note, that in theory, internet radio is not too dissimilar from streaming audio podcasts off the internet on a PSP, yet its actual implementation is quite different.

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 STARS

PSP’s new killer feature.  Even if it’s not what you always desired; check it out, have a play with it.  Therefore PSP firmware 3.80 comes highly recommended.

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