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Pandora on Roku

Quick Look: Pandora Radio is the leading personalized music service on the Internet, offering free streaming music over a variety of devices. Fortunately, this includes the Roku DVP. You simply entering an artist or a song to create a custom channel, and Pandora serves up similar music based on common characteristics. Or, you can select one of Pandora's genre stations (hip hop, country, classic, etc.). During music play, you have the option of giving each song a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. Pandora then refines further music selection based on the songs you like and don't like.

The Pandora channel on Roku links to your Web account, so you will want to first create an account on Pandora's website if you don't already have one. Registration is free, although you can upgrade for $36 per year to avoid commercials and be allowed to skip more songs. With the free account, you're limited in the number of songs you can skip. Both free and paid accounts allow you to pause music, but you can't replay or rewind a song, and you can't select what songs you want to hear.

After linking the Pandora Roku channel to your account, all of your custom Pandora music channels are available on the Roku. You can create new Pandora music channels on the Roku by entering a song or artist, and there is also a "QuickMix" option that plays music from all of your Pandora music channels. For those of you who use the QuickMix option on the Web, the Roku version is the equivalent of "QuickMix All".

The Pandora interface is fairly simple. You get the song title, album title, artist, and play time, along with a thumbnail-size image of the album cover. You can also pause, skip, thumb-up or thumb-down a song, and bookmark a song or artist. (Bookmarks are a way of remembering a particular song or artist, and they can be viewed online by clicking "Your Profile" on the Pandora website.) Website features, such as viewing bookmarks, adding variety to a music channel, and viewing detailed artist or album information, are not available on the Roku version, but that's not a big loss, as most listeners probably aren't glued to their television while Pandora is playing. In fact, the Pandora interface is replaced after a few minutes with a screensaver that shows the album cover image jumping around the screen.

Pandora is my primary music source, not only on Roku, but also on my Android and on my computer. I've become a fan of many lesser-known artists through Pandora. It's not my only music source - there are a lot of other music channels on the Roku, and I often turn to some of those when I want to hear music suggested by others, or when I want to be exposed to genres that I don't usually listen to. But Pandora is still a must-have Roku channel, and the one I listen to the most.

-- RokuGuide Reviewed on May 20, 2011

Developer's Channel Description: Listen to your Pandora stations or create new ones based on a song or artist. Pandora's world of analyzed music, almost a century of popular recordings - new and old, well known and obscure - lets you enjoy old favorites and discover new ones.

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