My better half wanted to have something to listen to on her morning commute, and had previously heard Lucy (XM station 54) when I had an editorial car for a weekend while at Edmunds and liked it. So I got her a Pioneer Inno for the commute.
In my previous run-ins with XM (in the editorial car noted above, in friends’ cars, etc) I was never that impressed. But since we got the Inno our kids have loved the XMKids (XM station 116) when we go on a drive and as a parent it’s nice not to have to scruitinize each song for bad content. In fact it’s nicer than Radio Disney which doesn’t have the breadth of music and has commercials.
About the Inno - since my job around here is the CTO of the household, I had to set up our newest gadget. When I set up the Inno I really liked it more than I thought I would. About the size of an iPod, it can not only play XM and MP3s but it can also time-shift XM. This is HUGE for me - One reason for my tendency to “pooh pooh” XM was that I was never about to install one of those “warts” on the top of my car and didn’t want to hassle with some little XM Radio gidget hanging off of my dash, however the Inno eliminates all that because it can time shift and it has its own antenna.
- Time Shifting: Let’s say you like to listen to the alternative rock station Lucy as my wife does. Set it up to record 4 hours of Lucy each night and you have more than enough for your commute. In fact, its better than live XM because when listening to the recorded radio stream, if you don’t like a particular song you can skip past it to the next song with a single click. Just like Tivo. After letting her Inno record for a few nights she now has a collection of a few hundred songs to listen to any way she wants. Nice…
- Built-in Antenna: If you do want to listen to live XM in the car or on the go for stuff like news or traffic, the antenna on this thing is pretty good. My experience with satellite devices thus far (GPS, Globalstar satphones) has been that the device must have line-of-sight to the sky in order to work and in some cases must be “pointed” toward the satellite itself. Thus I had assumed I would need to install the XM “wart” on any car for it to work. Not so…the internal antenna of the Inno works just fine sitting on my dash or in a cupholder so all I need to do to “integrate” it with a car stereo is plug it in. No warts, no dash mounts…nice.
So of course I bought one for myself. They come in a dark grey/blue color and a pink color; purchasing the latter donates money to the Susan Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. We now have one of each color, and the home/car plugs for these things enable us to switch radios as we switch cars. The kids love XMKids so with a couple summer road trips ahead of us this will be a good purchase.