Thursday, January 17, 2008

Success! New York to Washington DC

This week our road test ranged East and with great success. The main test was an epic road trip down Interstate 95 from New York to Washington DC via New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Below are the results.

Equipment: The trusty Samsung a920 music phone with Sprint PowerVision 3G service. No custom software, pure "stock" configuration out of the box.

Monday and Tuesday morning in New York City: Spot checks at various points both outside and inside plus cab-rides. Consistent performance with no drop outs. Didn't work in the subway.

Tuesday driving south on the New Jersey Turnpike via Edison, NJ to Wilmington, DE: In spite of dropouts around Newark airport (Sprints maps show no coverage holes there, btw), we had great performance south to Edison. Worked good during occasional checks during the rest of the drive. Perfect performance in Delaware.

Wednesday driving south on Interstate 95  from Wilmington, DE, through Baltimore, to the DC beltway: Near flawless with continuous listening the entire two hours. One re-buffer as I crossed the first bridge on the upper Chesapeake was countered by my amazement that it didn't drop out at all going through the tunnel in Baltimore! Breezed through the 90-degree route around the beltway and then out on the road to Dulles International Airport.

Conclusion: If satellite radio is the measure, then Internet radio via 3G is absolutely ready for prime time. My XM radio used to drop out when I went under dense pine trees and under some viaducts, even in area where there were ground repeaters (e.g. Palo Alto, CA on San Antonio Road heading towards 101). The continuous listening performance of Tuner2 radio on the Sprint PowerVision 3G network was just as good and the audio quality was much better. (Trust me - this is more than just a subjective statement on my part. Or better yet, don't trust me and take a listen for yourself.) Internet radio in the car is definitely a reality. Now we just need to let people know!


Kim said...

Has anyone heard about FlyTunes? I read online that it gives you Internet radio, but it uses your iPhone or iPod touch (the website says it'll be availabe for other PMPs soon). And it's free!

Elizabeth said...

Had some questions about using internet radio in the car. Do you know of any phone which ATT carry that are compatable with the tuner software. Am I correct in that the phone must be a 3G phone. I have a razr now but I am looking to upgrade soon.

Fred Jackson said...

Any AT&T 3G music phone with MediaNet service should work just fine. (Note: this excludes iPhone, since it doesn't support 3G or open streaming!) BTW, there isn't any custom tuner software needed. The Tuner2 mobile Web site works with the standard software on the phone.

For those folks with a Palm-based smartphone, Kinoma player works great and it has Tuner2 built right in.

Fred Jackson said...

Regarding FlyTunes, it looks like it doesn't support 3GPP streams, only PC-formatted Internet radio streams. That means it won't work well in congested, low bandwidth environments. Sounds like an interesting option for WiFi listening, but not for the car.

Also, it needs a custom software download. Nice for the otaku, but no so nice for the mass market consumer.

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for the info. Do you know if there is a list of websites that will work with the phone/software?? I am interested in listening to music from the website I would rather not go through all the trouble if the site is blocked or not compatible with this technology.

Fred Jackson said...

elizabeth, as far as I know, doesn't currently have any 3GP streams running. their shoutcast/aacPlus streams are available through the kinoma player for palm, but that is only for smartphones, of course. send an email to info [at] and let them know your favorite station. They know the folks at di and can see if your favorite(s) can go mobile!

cotton821 said...

I am going to switch to Verizon phone service for the strength of their signal where I live (Durham NC)Can you recommend a phone that will be able to connect to Tuner2?
I looked thru the web and did not see a 3G phone...I definately want to hook this to car. Thanks, cotton821

Fred Jackson said...

Right now, Verizon is a closed network. That is supposed to change in the future, but for the moment, their phones only work with their service. Also, streaming to your phone (or to your Verizon data card for that matter) using an off-deck service violates their Terms of Service. I have heard of people's Verizon data accounts being cancelled due to "overuse" from streaming.

Paul said...

Hey Fred. Cool website and info. Can you tell me if Alltel has any phones that allow internet radio streaming? Or are they like Verizon and don't allow it?

Fred Jackson said...

Paul, Alltel doesn't have coverage in the LA area, so we haven't had a chance to check it. Looking at their phones and the fact that they have some pre-packaged radio service (XM), technologically they should be fine. The questions are: 1. do they allow off-deck streaming? and 2. will I get hit with heavy data charges if I roam out of their coverage area?

Interestingly, they offer what seems to be a cheap unlimited Web plan ($5.99/mo.) but it looks like that may be a closed garden. Also, their Web access requires air-time charges! To get unlimited airtime, you need to add another $9.99. Visit your local Alltel store and ask for a demo. During the demo, visit and see if the phone will stream the radio stations.


john a. bailo said...

What I want to know if whether you can use the new Clearwire mobile WiMax service to run the Rhapsody subscription service in real time.

I use Clearwire stationary service at my apartment and it's great, but now they have a mobile version. I kind of wonder how it would handle transitions between towers/cells and so on...

Rick said...

where can I look up power vision for $14.99 unlimited? everywhere I look on sprint their unlimited data is $59.99, basically the same as ATT which is my current provider, except ATT says 5000mb per month max and it's not hard to reach that with streaming. They also say no streaming.

Fred Jackson said...

Rick, you are looking at the Sprint plans for the datacards and modems. To get Internet on phones, once you purchase a voice plan, add on the Sprint® Power Vision Access Pack for an additional $15 per month. (No, I am not paid by Sprint, I am just really happy with their unlimited data plan on my phone.)

Personally, I also use my phone as my modem (via Bluetooth), so I have the phone-as-modem plan, which is a superset of the Access Pack. I hope that helps!

sander said... converts any "regular" type of audio stream (shoutcast, realaudio, windows media, etc.) to 3GPP. You can even add your own stations and it's free. Check it out!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.