A cool feature in Windows 7 Media Center is the ability to listen to local FM radio. But what if you don’t have a tuner card that supports a connected radio antenna? The RadioTime plugin solves the problem by allowing access to thousands of online radio stations.
With the RadioTime plugin for Windows Media Center, you’ll have access to over 100,000 online radio stations from around the world. Their guide is broken down into different categories such as Talk Radio, Music Radio, Sports Radio and more. It’s completely free, but does require registration to save preset stations.
It works with Media Center in XP, Vista, and Windows 7 (which we’re demonstrating here). When installing it for Windows 7, make sure to click the Installer link below the “Get It Now – Free” button as the installer works best for the new OS.
Installation is extremely quick and easy…
Now when you open Windows 7 Media Center you’ll find it located in the Extras category from the main menu.
After you launch it, you’re presented with the RadioTime guide where you can browse through the different categories of stations. Your shown various station suggestions each time you start it up.
The main categories are broken down further so you can find the right genre of the music your looking for.
World Radio offers you stations from all over the world categorized into different regions.
RadioTime does support local stations via an FM tuner, but if you don’t have one, you can still access local stations provided they broadcast online. One thing about listening to your local stations online is the audio quality may not be as good as if you had a tuner connected.
It provides information on most of the online stations. For example here we look at Minnesota Public Radio info and you get a schedule of when certain programs are on.
Then get even more information about the topics on the shows.
To use the Presets option you’ll need to log into your RadioTime account, or if you don’t have one just click on the link to create a free one.
Creating a free account is simple and basic on their site. You aren’t required to have an account to use the RadioTime plugin, it’s only if you want the additional benefits.
For this article we only tried it with Windows 7 Media Center, and sometimes the interface felt clunky when moving quickly through menus. Also, there isn’t a search feature from within Media Center, however, you can search stations from their site and add them to your presets.
Despite a few shortcomings, this is a very cool way to get access to thousands of online radio stations through Windows Media Center. If you’re looking for a way to access thousands of radio stations through WMC, you might want to give RadioTime a try.
Programmer by day, geek by night, The Geek, also known as Lowell Heddings, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on Google+ if you'd like.
- Published 03/11/10