March 30, 2001

Gotta Have It!

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Surprise! I’ve discovered that Ithaca is not at the zenith of the world’s best places to receive broadcast signals. In fact, I am sure that Orson Welles’ broadcast of the Martian Invasion in 1938 is probably just now being received by the Marconi Wireless sets that are no doubt still in use up here. The hilly terrain makes getting television broadcast signals virtually impossible and the selection of radio stations is very slim, with only 2-4 stations broadcasting anything resembling clear signals. Thus, as a college student addicted to both music and TV, you have been forced to settle for both mediocre quality and a limited quantity of media if you have a zip code of 14850.

Until now.

Ground Control To Major Tom

Satellite TV. For a couch potato, satellite TV is like having an endless supply of your favorite drug. It seems like a new channel is created and broadcast everyday. But until a few years ago, when your RA told you that you would not be able to get TV in your dorm, you felt helpless — how could you get your weekly Sopranos fix? Fear not. Technology has made it such that a little satellite dish can fit inside your window and receive a variety of digital programming. The smallest monthly fee is about $50 but can be adjusted based on your viewing habits and channel preferences.

DirectTV is getting a lot of press lately due to the release of UltimateTV (, a service which costs an additional $9.95/month and allows the user to access the Internet, pause live TV, and record digital signals of up to 35 hours of television. The product is being offered from Microsoft and is starting to be sold through retail outlets this week.

Tommy Can You Hear Me?

As a resident of the New York City area, coming to Ithaca was a shock to my Billboard Top 40 ears. It took me a few months to realize who Britney Spears was, and as for touring concerts, I was completely out of the loop. That was until I discovered digital streaming radio. With the click of the mouse and a pair or good computer speakers, I can listen to all of the latest tunes off of the computer without having to fiddle with my radio so that I can get radio stations from Syracuse. My favorite site for music is, which doesn’t require the use of external software. Instead you just log onto the Web site and choose the genre of music you want to listen to. In addition, you can fill out a music preference survey and Sonicnet will create a music station with just the type of tunes you want to hear.

In addition to Sonicnet, there is Kerbango ( which has been getting a lot of attention lately. 3Com, in partnership with Kerbango, has recently released a stand-alone piece of hardware, the 3Internet Radio2 (ret. $300). All you have to do is plug the device into a phone jack or high-speed Cable modem, and you are able to tune in to streaming radio. Another great feature of the radio is the ability to connect to your computer network, which makes file-sharing of MP3s extremely simple.

Friday Night at the Movies

There really isn’t any good way to supplement the features of a movie theater, but if you really want to catch the latest films there is a way to do it