Arik Hesseldahl is a smart man. As the technology writer for BusinessWeek.com, that intelligence is set out on display weekly for his readers. As a former senior editor and technology columnist at Forbes.com, he has a proven track record that is quite impressive. So when he states that the Livio Radio is, “The friendliest Web radio device yet,” it carries some weight.
The Livio is a small table top radio unit that features a trendy design for Internet Radios: a return to simplicity. One large speaker and one large round knob comprise almost the entirety of its visible features. (The knob not only controls volume, but also provides access to the menus.) Built in support for Pandora combined with over 11,000 “stations” (Internet streams) makes this an entertainment juggernaut. In a nod to the modern lifestyle it connects to the net over wi-fi, although an ethernet connection is there for those who desire it.
The bad part is that unlike most other models along these lines there is no built in support for tertiary AM/FM radio, something that will work to their detriment in the long term if I am correct. Initial setup on machines like this can be a bear, Hessledahl shares his experience with setup in his review on Business Week:
Setup was surprisingly simple. With other radios, I have struggled to get the radio to give the network password in the correct format. But I had practically no difficulty getting the Livio Radio on my Wi-Fi network. I did encounter a hiccup pairing the radio with my Pandora account, however. To do this you must sign in at the Livio Web site, give your Pandora account information, the serial number of the radio, and a unique string of characters called a registration ID. The first weekend I had the radio, I was unable to register and was told to try later. I set it aside for a week and was ultimately successful. Livio says the Web site used for pairing the radio with Pandora may have been down the first day I tried.
Once the Pandora setup was finished, it worked like a charm for Hessledahl. One thing I do find interesting is that he did not mention one of the more revolutionary features of the unit, its support of the Pandora “thumbs up / thumbs down” function for rating music as you listen to it.
All in all, well worth reading and I must say that I am looking forward to doing a hands-on test of one of these.