The Bottom Line
- Easy way to get Internet streams into your vehicle
- Nothing to install, built-in software
- Included radio station guide is extensive
- Requires no installation on vehicle side
- Lightweight and small: fits in your pocket
- Carmen's built-in FM transmitter must be fairly close to vehicle's radio for best results
- Remote control must be fairly close to Carmen for best results
- Carmen Internet radio player is a portable device you attach to your computer to download Internet radio for playback in car.
- Carmen is easy to use.
- Attach to computer to download Internet streams. Built-in radio guide allows for thousands of choices.
- Transfer to car, plug into 12-volt source (lighter), tune to unused local FM frequency, and playback recordings.
- Use Carmen's built-in FM transmitter or optional cable and coupler to plug into AUX input of your car's radio.
- Solves problem of getting Internet-based content into car, must be willing to spend time transporting back-and-forth
- MSRP will be $59.99
Guide Review - Carmen Internet Radio Player Passes the 'Easy' Test
Livio's Carmen Internet radio player for cars is a portable device which you attach to your computer to download Internet radio streams then playback in your vehicle. It comes with built-in software for Mac and PC which provides a radio guide giving the user access to thousands of AM/FM and Internet-only radio station programming.
Carmen is easy to use. I had a preview version with no manual and was quickly able to figure out how to download audio and play it back in my truck. It's kind of like a really pimped out thumb drive with a radio guide, teeny FM transmitter, and remote control.
From Computer to Car
I used the enclosed USB cable to attach Carmen to my computer and started the application. A guide popped which allowed me to browse stations by genre, language, location or keyword. After exploring for a couple of minutes, I chose an Internet-only station and clicked the record option. When I came back to my computer later, I had 3 hours of programming on Carmen and I was ready to go. Livio says it will "hold up to 45 hours of content". The product comes with a 2 gigabyte memory. Carmen will also store MP3 files.
Once in your car, put Carmen into any 12-volt adapter (like your lighter) and the LCD screen will light up. From there, use the remote control to fast-forward, rewind, and skip.
No Installation Necessary
Carmen has a tiny FM transmitter in it which will transmit your recorded content to your vehicle's radio. The included remote control allows you to pick which locally unused frequency you'd like to piggyback onto. For more quality-conscious users, there is a cable and coupler to plug into the AUX input of your radio.
Carmen solves the problem of getting Internet-based content into your vehicle but you have to be willing to spend just a little time transporting it back-and-forth from auto to computer. It's not the perfect solution for Internet radio that I eventually want but it is a solution.
When Carmen does actually go on sale (probably later this summer) the MSRP will be $59.99.