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The Internet: The Missing Manual by David Pogue, J.D. Biersdorfer

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Internet Radio

Internet radio stations are just like regular radio stations, except that you "tune in" to them over the Internet instead of the airwaves.

Some stations, like National Public Radio affiliates, broadcast exactly the same shows this way. But since there's no need for a specific radio frequency or broadcasting license from the FCC, there are tons of Internet radio stations that exist only online—and some of them are pretty inventive. You can find everything from mystical Scottish melodies to American pop to programming from Japan, the Caribbean, Germany, and other spots around the globe.

Computers with high-speed Internet connections have a smoother streaming experience, but the vast and eclectic mix of musical offerings is well worth checking out—even if you have a dial-up modem. You can listen to Internet radio in several ways:

  • Through the radio feature of a jukebox program like iTunes or Music-Match. These programs come with dozens of pre-set radio stations in all different musical genres. To listen in, just click a stream in the program's window. Once you've listened to all the stations listed in iTunes, hit the Internet. You can find more radio stations that stream around the Web at sites like www.shoutcast.com and play them through iTunes when you click the link to listen.

  • Through your Web browser with audio plug-ins like RealPlayer. Many broadcast radio stations now offer Web streams of their programming that you can listen to, which is great if you're 5 ...

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