By Stephen Baker
Griffin's gizmo records and downloads audio broadcasts. But it can't
handle Internet radio, so you're limited to local fare.
The Good Like TiVo for radio, it records favorite shows The Bad
Reception can be iffy, and program slows the computer The Bottom Line
Improvements are needed before it's ready for mainstream listeners
A sleek white fin rises from the clutter on my desk. Salsa music pours
out of the computer speakers. Only five minutes after unpacking
Griffin Technology's RadioSHARK -- a TiVo-like service for radio --
it's up and running. Great start.
RadioSHARK, which retails for $69.95, promises just the type of
time-shifting service that radio-lovers have been clamoring for. It
captures radio signals the old-fashioned way, through that fin-like
antenna, and its software puts a radio tuner right on the computer
screen, whether it's a PC or Macintosh. It records programming on a
hard drive and even dumps it into iPod and MP3 music players. In this,
RadioSHARK mimics podcasting. That's the current rage in audio, in
which listeners download programming from the Internet and listen to
it on the go.
What's not to like? Unfortunately, a few things. The biggest problem
is that RadioSHARK relies on over-the-air signals for its feed. This
means that reception is only as good as it is on a normal transistor
radio. On our 43rd floor office in Manhattan, the FM signal is strong,
AM picks up nothing. No Yankee broadcasts for me.