Wednesday, 13 April 2005

"FM" - Steely Dan, 1978

Too bad that these are illegal to use in the UK -- Monster iCarPlay Wireless - FM Transmitter for iPods.

How could such a cool little device be illegal to use here? And how did I find out?

Well...I knew that such devices were be used to play iPods through car stereos. They are very handy for taking your music collection along with you in the car. Sometimes there are locations where there just aren't any decent radio stations to listen to. If so, what do you do if you're tired of the small handful of CD's that you have in the car with you? You hook your iPod up to the car stereo, that's what you do!

So, when John and I went to the newly-opened London Apple store last year, I looked and looked for one of the iPod FM transmitters. Couldn't find a one. That seemed strange to us, given that it's a massive Apple retail show, stocked with every imaginable iPod accessory. When I asked one of the young men working there, he gave me a look which suggested that I'd just asked him for a kilo of heroin or something!

His response stunned me. He said that they don't sell them because they aren't legal in the UK! Huh???? It seems that the reason is related to the history of radio broadcasting in Britain...and of offshore stations like
Radio Caroline and Radio Luxembourg. Radio Caroline's website has a very interesting (but undoubtedly biased, as you might expect) history of British radio and the resulting offshore commercial stations. It seems that the government still prohibit the broadcasting of a radio signal -- even a very low-power one -- without the proper license. That even includes the use of devices such as the iPod FM transmitter!

But while recently looking at Monster's Apple accessories, I've just spotted Monster's new iCruze unit...WOW! Not being a radio transmitter, I guess these will be sold in the UK.

By the way, can you believe that I actually have 5959 songs on my iPod, as of today? That's a heck of a lot more choice than I would have needed during today's 90-minute drive!



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