I love Pandora streaming Internet Radio. In fact, I love it so much, I may pay the $38 for the yearly Pandora One subscription. However, it is not always easy to listen to Pandora. Yeah there’s a iPhone App, but I don’t have a iPhone. Plus, sometimes I want to listen to local radio station streams. Why use a computer when you can get some of that old time radio experience from the Internet thanks to the Livio Radio.
The Livio Radio featuring Pandora has a casing that is very retro and very solid. It reminds me of something that my grandpa might have had, only much nicer looking. The buttons are solid and don’t feel cheap at all. The “tuning” knob is very solid and has detentes as you turn it. It also has a headphone port on the front. Very handy if you intend to keep this on your desk at work.
On the back, you see a hole for the speaker, an Aux In port for plugging a auxiliary device like a MP3 player or iPod, Stereo Line Out to hook into your stereo, an Ethernet Jack and Power In.
The Livio Radio can use either Wi-Fi or ethernet for it’s connection. If you use Wi-Fi, it supports WEP, WPA and WPA2.
The radio in the Livio Radio name is kind of a misnomer. It does indeed have a radio though only a Wi-Fi radio. The Livio Radio uses your internet connection to stream music not only from Pandora, but from over 11,000 free Internet radio stations. This also includes most local radio stations in my area and NOAA weather radio stations as well.
By far, the best feature of the Livio Radio is the Pandora feature. Linking your radio to Pandora is a painless process. Livio has this great YouTube video showing you how easy it is to set this up.
While listening to Pandora using this device, you can do pretty much everything you can do via the web. This includes the thumbs up and down features as well as station creation. However, creating station is a tedious process on the Livio. It is far easier to use the Pandora web client to create new stations. Once created, the station automatically shows up on the Livio Radio the next time you use it.
If you’re done listening to music or you want to listen to a little talk radio, you can “tune” in one of your favorite radio stations. I regularly use the Livio in my kitchen to listen to my favorite drive time talk show on my local radio station and it sounds better than if I was using the original streaming technology, AM/FM analog radio. The stations that the Livio Radio can use all come from the reciva.com radio portal. All of my local radio stations are available in my area, Columbus, OH but your mileage may vary.
The remote has a mute button, a reply button (more on this later), a power button, thumbs up, thumbs dow, skip track, 1-5 for presets, a fav button, enter, back, up, down and volume buttons.
To set a preset, while listening to the station, point the remote at the Livio Radio and hold the present number you want to use down for at least 2 seconds. The next time you press the button, it will tune the radio to that preset. Presets can be used for Pandora stations or Reciva portal stations.
There’s also a Fav button just in case 5 presets aren’t enough. To use it, you hold it the same as a preset button and it will add it to the favorites list. To bring the list up, just press the Fav button and the list will come up. However, the Fav button will not work for Pandora Stations. Hopefully, this will be corrected with a automated firmware update.
When a update is available, the screen will inform you and you press the aforementioned reply button to tell the Livio Radio to do it’s update.
The Livio Radio is a bit pricey for just doing streams at $179.99 via the Livio Radio web site. However, the ability to attach it to your stereo and/or attaching a auxillary device to it makes up for it.
What I liked: By far the easiest way to use Pandora without a computer.