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Old 10-15-2007, 10:14 AM   #1
AbMagFab
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Rhapsody - Anyone understand their subscriptions?

So I figured I'd give them a shot. My daugter likes being able to play anything at any time, and it's convenent.

But I also want to be able to bring music with me. And sometimes I might want to buy it.

So I checked out Rhapsody's site. They have two plans, one called "To Go" and one called "Ultimate". You'd think "Ultimate" would include everything, but it's $13/month, and "To Go" is $15/month. Huh?

I'd like to:
1) Play Rhapsody on my Tivo
2) Download unlimited music to my MP3 player (I'll buy a Rhapsody one)
3) Burn to CD once in a while (is this a song purchase?)

Anyone know how this works? (Note: The Tivo URL seems to be "Ultimate".)
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Old 10-15-2007, 12:52 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AbMagFab
So I figured I'd give them a shot. My daugter likes being able to play anything at any time, and it's convenent.

But I also want to be able to bring music with me. And sometimes I might want to buy it.

So I checked out Rhapsody's site. They have two plans, one called "To Go" and one called "Ultimate". You'd think "Ultimate" would include everything, but it's $13/month, and "To Go" is $15/month. Huh?

I'd like to:
1) Play Rhapsody on my Tivo
2) Download unlimited music to my MP3 player (I'll buy a Rhapsody one)
3) Burn to CD once in a while (is this a song purchase?)

Anyone know how this works? (Note: The Tivo URL seems to be "Ultimate".)
They have basically 2 memberships that you would need to worry about.

Unlimited: $12.99/mth or less if you pay for a year in advance. Gives you access to everything Rhapsody offers (i.e. entire catalog, radio, online and playable on PC)

Rhapsody to Go: $14.99/mth is everything above AND the ability to transfer songs onto a portable player.

If you already own a MP3 player or getting a new one, I would suggest to look at ReplayMusic software, instead of getting the "To Go" plan. I use it all the time with Rhapsody to get my mp3's for my Ipod.

You can purchase songs for $0.89 to burn onto discs if you like but if you have the mp3's already with ReplayMusic, then you don't need to do that.
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Old 10-15-2007, 01:04 PM   #3
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I just picked up one of the Sandisk Sansa's for Rhapsody from Bestbuy and it's pretty nice. The best feature, IMO, is the channels options. It will load songs to the MP3 player from channels that they have as well as a custom one that you can create. I'm talking 4+ hours of music for each channel. It will also update the thing for you when you go to sync it.

Figured it would be good for the gym. Get a large mix of music that will never be the same.

Easy to use, and you get 3 months free (if you provide a credit card, 2 if you don't) of the Rhapsody to go option.
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Old 10-15-2007, 01:24 PM   #4
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So here's tthe response I got from Rhapsody. Note the Tivo comment at the end:

Quote:
Thank you for contacting RealNetworks Customer Support.

I understand that you want clarification with the difference in features of Rhapsody To Go subscription to the features of Rhapsody Unlimited subscription.

I would like to inform you that you can listen online, offline and transfer millions of tracks at free of cost in a Rhapsody To Go subscription . If you want to burn the tracks to CDs, you need to purchase them by clicking the 'Buy' button respective to the tracks.

Regarding Unlimited subscription, you can listen online and offline millions of tracks at free of cost. If you want to transfer tracks to portable device or burn tracks to CDs, you need to purchase them.

Regarding Tivo device, I regret to inform you that we do not have adequate information as Tivo device is not compatible with Rhapsody

If you have any questions or clarifications, please write to us and we will be glad to assist you.

Regards,

Sarath
RealNetworks Customer Support
I must say, I'm still confused. Here's what I think I've learned:

1) "To Go" is really their "Ultimate" package, giving you everything they have. Songs are still ~$1 if I want to download them.

2) Only Rhapsody players will work with the subscription side, otherwise I need to pay to download the song.

Some additional questions:
a) When I buy a song, is it MP3? Is it DRM'd in any way after I pay for and download it? Do I have to burn it to a CD to remove the DRM?

b) ReplayMusic mentioned above - isn't this useless with the subscription side of Rhapsody? That would only be useful if all I did was pay for songs, right? Or am I missing something?

c) Is there any Rhapsody portable player that also has a built-in FM transmitter? How do most of you integrate it into your car?

d) Do the Rhapsody players support "resume last position", so if I have a PodCast MP3 on there (that I downloaded myself), and I play a song, can I resume the PodCast where it left off?

Thanks for all the help!
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Old 10-15-2007, 02:04 PM   #5
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[quote=AbMagFab]
I must say, I'm still confused. Here's what I think I've learned:

1) "To Go" is really their "Ultimate" package, giving you everything they have. Songs are still ~$1 if I want to download them.

2) Only Rhapsody players will work with the subscription side, otherwise I need to pay to download the song.

With a standard Rhapsody subscription -- cost varies depending on whether you pay quarterly, yearly, or month-to-month -- you are authorized to download and play the music on three different PCs. You can download an unlimited amount of DRM-protected music to any these three computers. If you don't want to use disk space, you can stream all music instead. You've got to connect to the Rhapsody service at least once a month to authorize these downloads.

With a subscription to TivoToGo, you are authorized to download and store an unlimited amount of music on three different music players. You can buy a music player for yourself, for your wife, and for your kid and you still pay the same monthly fee. Each user can have their own music, their own playlists, etc on their device. At least once a month, you must connect your music player to the PC to re-authorize it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AbMagFab
Some additional questions:
a) When I buy a song, is it MP3? Is it DRM'd in any way after I pay for and download it? Do I have to burn it to a CD to remove the DRM?
Most music has DRM, but the service keeps a record of your purchases so you can grab the files again if you lose them. With most music, you've got to burn it to CD to remove the DRM. Rhapsody now offers DRM-free music from Universal, but that only represents a small percentage of their catalog.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AbMagFab
c) Is there any Rhapsody portable player that also has a built-in FM transmitter? How do most of you integrate it into your car?
There are two types of Rhapsody-compatible players: "Rhapsody optimized" and "PlayForSure Compatible" devices.

The Rhapsody-To-Go service works with any player that supports Microsoft's PlayForSure DRM. These devices are fairly widespread. A few have FM transmitters. A number of Windows Mobile and Palm devices (including phones) also support PlayForSure DRM, and thus will work with Rhapsody-To-Go. Some of Motorolas new phones support it as well. Note these PlayForSure devices support standard playlists and playback of Rhapsody music, but they do not support certain Rhapsody-specific features such as Channels.

There are two "Rhapsody optimized" players -- the Sansa E250R and iRiver Clix2. Both of these can take advantage of Rhapsody-specific features such as Channels and dynamic playlists. Channels provide a wide selection of continually updated music in different genres, so users can regularly update their players with new music in their genre of interest with virtually no effort. You can see the full list of channels here; each channel includes 75-100 popular songs. These channels are updated several times a week. Whenever you plug in your music player, it updates your channels with new songs. You can have as many different channels as you want on your player, although each requires 275-375Mb of space.

Another nice Rhapsody feature is dynamic playlists. Like channels, these playlists update whenever you plug in your music device. Examples of dynamic playlists include the Top 25 Rock songs, Top 25 Country songs, etc. Dynamic playlists are useful if you always want that week's newest songs or the billboard's top25 on your music player without having to do anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AbMagFab
d) Do the Rhapsody players support "resume last position", so if I have a PodCast MP3 on there (that I downloaded myself), and I play a song, can I resume the PodCast where it left off?
I don't have much experience with podcasts, but with music, you can pause the song, turn the music player off, and then resume where you left off later. As long as you pause your song, the device remembers where you were.

Last edited by bkdtv : 10-15-2007 at 02:33 PM.
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Old 10-15-2007, 02:11 PM   #6
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My guess from the csr's email is that they are refering to portable devices that are compatible with Rhapsody to Go and couldn't find "Tivo" on the list.

As for Replay Music, this is not useless at all. I found this software a little while ago and use it all the time together with Rhapsody. I have an Ipod and play my mp3's that I ripped from my personal collection. I have been using Rhapsody for a long time but since the Ipod is not compatible with Rhapsody to go, I found another solution to use my Ipod with Rhapsody. Hence ReplayMusic. The players that are optimized for Rhapsody would be cool, but since myself and my daughters all have Ipods...

What it does is captures the stream on your sound card and then automatically tags and converts them into mp3's. I then can use the mp3 files wherever I like. For personal use of course.
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Old 10-15-2007, 02:12 PM   #7
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If I pause a song, go to another song, then come back, will it pick up where I left off?

This is less important with songs, but very important with PodCasts, which can be an hour or longer. If I want to listen to some of a podcast, then play some music, I need to be able to come back to the podcast where I left off.

More than just pause/resume - makes sense? Anyone know if the Sansa 250R supports this?
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Old 10-15-2007, 02:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AbMagFab
If I pause a song, go to another song, then come back, will it pick up where I left off?
No, the E250R will not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AbMagFab
This is less important with songs, but very important with PodCasts, which can be an hour or longer. If I want to listen to some of a podcast, then play some music, I need to be able to come back to the podcast where I left off.
I doubt it, but don't know for sure.
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Old 10-15-2007, 02:35 PM   #9
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Thanks for starting this discussion; this is good information. I think my 1st generation shuffle is about to die, so I am in the market for a new player. I'd like to free myself from the Apple monopoly in this space.

I am seriously considering a Rhapsody subscription. I've been playing around with the trial service as integrated on the TiVo. It's pretty neat.

The iRiver Clix 8GB device has my attention so far.
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Old 10-15-2007, 02:37 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by 20TIL6
Thanks for starting this discussion; this is good information. I think my 1st generation shuffle is about to die, so I am in the market for a new player. I'd like to free myself from the Apple monopoly in this space.

I am seriously considering a Rhapsody subscription. I've been playing around with the trial service as integrated on the TiVo. It's pretty neat.

The iRiver Clix 8GB device has my attention so far.
Do you know if that has a resume play feature like I describe above? iPod/iTunes does this, and apparently the new Zune's will as well.
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Old 10-15-2007, 02:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YazooWho
Hence ReplayMusic. The players that are optimized for Rhapsody would be cool, but since myself and my daughters all have Ipods...

What it does is captures the stream on your sound card and then automatically tags and converts them into mp3's. I then can use the mp3 files wherever I like. For personal use of course.
Is there any loss of quality when you do this? I have a fair amount of songs that I have purchased from iTunes. Most of my song files are ripped from my CDs (I chose AAC, I think, but they are not protected). I think I can play my AAC files ripped from my CD's on most of the players (non iPod). The purchased songs from iTunes I know would only work on Ipods.

I'd like to somehow make all my song files playable on other players than iPods. The ones purchased from iTunes, and the ones ripped from CD (if necessary). But I would like to keep from losing sound quality.
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Old 10-15-2007, 02:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AbMagFab
Do you know if that has a resume play feature like I describe above? iPod/iTunes does this, and apparently the new Zune's will as well.
If it were me, I would probably wait to see how the new Zunes turn out before buying one of these players. They're about a month off.

Microsoft has a similar subscription service for the Zune, and the Zune Flash looks like a nicer player than the Sansa E250R. I also understand that Microsoft will have a car mount for the Zune Flash with a built-in FM transmitter.

I have never used Microsoft's subscription service so I don't know how whether it has anything comparable to Rhapsody's dynamically updating playlists, channels, etc.
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Old 10-15-2007, 03:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 20TIL6
Is there any loss of quality when you do this? I have a fair amount of songs that I have purchased from iTunes. Most of my song files are ripped from my CDs (I chose AAC, I think, but they are not protected). I think I can play my AAC files ripped from my CD's on most of the players (non iPod). The purchased songs from iTunes I know would only work on Ipods.

I'd like to somehow make all my song files playable on other players than iPods. The ones purchased from iTunes, and the ones ripped from CD (if necessary). But I would like to keep from losing sound quality.
The quality is great. You can set it to record the mp3 at either 128,192,256, or 320kpbs. It will basically take any audio that is currently being played on the soundcard and capture that. I have played back the mp3's I created on everything from the car stereo to my home theater (via Ipod) and they sound great.

My girls figured out that they can record the audio from YouTube videos and then play them back on their Ipods.
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Old 10-15-2007, 03:18 PM   #14
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"..Is there any loss of quality when you do this?..."

The music is in a lossy format to begin with so yes, capture and create mp3 will result in some loss of quality. Really depends on what you will be playing it on.

...small personal stereo or iPod like device, probably not a big deal unless the sample rate is really low.

...decent home theater, yes, a big deal to those who have an ear for or care about music reproduction.

Although even ripping a cd to mp3 results in quality loss due to the fact that the cd is compressed audio already.

Last edited by andyw715 : 10-17-2007 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 10-15-2007, 03:42 PM   #15
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Takeing the downloaded files from Rapsody and playing them through a program to convert them to MP3 format is removal of the DRM. It is illegal and even its discussion is a felony. Not to mention a violation of the rules of this site, set to protect it and keep TivoCommunity going. I am not a moderator but warn you that discussion of removal or circumvention of DRM on copyrighted files will get folks in trouble. There are sites on the net where you can learn about such things. This one is not one of them.

Lets talk about how to use Rhapsody or other music services within the limitations of the service. Some services are better in this respect than others and deserve such consideration.
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Old 10-15-2007, 04:12 PM   #16
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Takeing the downloaded files from Rapsody and playing them through a program to convert them to MP3 format is removal of the DRM. It is illegal and even its discussion is a felony. Not to mention a violation of the rules of this site, set to protect it and keep TivoCommunity going. I am not a moderator but warn you that discussion of removal or circumvention of DRM on copyrighted files will get folks in trouble. There are sites on the net where you can learn about such things. This one is not one of them.

Lets talk about how to use Rhapsody or other music services within the limitations of the service. Some services are better in this respect than others and deserve such consideration.
I was wondering how long before it would take someone to start questioning ReplayMusic and how it's "Illegal". For the record as a long time Tivo and Rhapsody user, I wanted to pass along information that will enhance their usage.

ReplayMusic does not remove any DRM from files that you download. All it does is capture the streaming audio (much like a dvr captures video) and then converts into another format. This is then in turned used for my personal use.

Further reading ... http://www.replay-music.com/legal.php

On another note.. I'm still waiting for my Rhapsody feature to be installed on my Tivo... hint hint.
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Old 10-15-2007, 04:45 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AbMagFab
Do you know if that has a resume play feature like I describe above? iPod/iTunes does this, and apparently the new Zune's will as well.
I don't know if it has that feature. I've been looking over the iRiver site, and I know CNET reviewed it. If I find out, I'll share.
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Old 10-15-2007, 06:26 PM   #18
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The discussion of how to circumvent DRM is just as illegal and off topic here as removal. Two means to the same end and the law clearly covers both. I hate defending this stuff as I HATE DRM. But the law is what it is and TivoComunity is a valued resource in danger where this discussion is headed.

ReplayMusic and several other pieces of software that accomplish the same thing are not legal for sale in the US. Please let folks that wish to discuss this go to other offshore websites set up for that purpose and keep Tivo Community forums out of it.

I am NOT in favor of DRM, just IN FAVOR of keeping the Tivo Community alive. This is dangerous ground and has killed other web sites that were also very useful and brushed too close to the law.

I'll bow out from here. If the moderators want to step in they will I suppose. No one here wants to run a foul of the law, agree with it or not. i was just pointing it out.
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Old 10-15-2007, 07:44 PM   #19
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If it were me, I would probably wait to see how the new Zunes turn out before buying one of these players. They're about a month off.

Microsoft has a similar subscription service for the Zune, and the Zune Flash looks like a nicer player than the Sansa E250R. I also understand that Microsoft will have a car mount for the Zune Flash with a built-in FM transmitter.

I have never used Microsoft's subscription service so I don't know how whether it has anything comparable to Rhapsody's dynamically updating playlists, channels, etc.
Now I'm more confused...

So if all I want to do is pay a monthly fee to Rhapsody, and download as many songs as I want (no CD burning), can I use *any* "Plays4Sure" player? Can I use the new Zune's?

And the only thing the Rhapsody-specific players add (to regular PLays4Sure players) is the Rhapsody channel synching?

Or do I need a Rhapsody-specific player for any Rhapsody subscription downloading?
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Old 10-15-2007, 07:48 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by AbMagFab
...can I use *any* "Plays4Sure" player? Can I use the new Zune's?
Latest MaximumPC (Vol12 No12 p.38) says even the new Zune's coming this holiday season still are not Play4Sure.
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Old 10-16-2007, 02:56 AM   #21
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So if all I want to do is pay a monthly fee to Rhapsody, and download as many songs as I want (no CD burning), can I use *any* "Plays4Sure" player?
Yes. There are Rhapsody optimized players out there that do a better job with channels, but regular PFS is supported.

Be warned that PFS is a pretty loose spec, and so there's no guarantee that a given player is really compatible with any given PFS service.

The players that we've tested against Rhapsody and are willing to vouch for can be found on this page : http://shop.rhapsody.com/plans/rtg, in the "Find A Rhapsody To Go Player" box.
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Old 10-16-2007, 08:49 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sstatman
Yes. There are Rhapsody optimized players out there that do a better job with channels, but regular PFS is supported.

Be warned that PFS is a pretty loose spec, and so there's no guarantee that a given player is really compatible with any given PFS service.

The players that we've tested against Rhapsody and are willing to vouch for can be found on this page : http://shop.rhapsody.com/plans/rtg, in the "Find A Rhapsody To Go Player" box.
So based on the Rhapsody web site, you're saying that Microsoft doesn't make a Microsoft Windows Plays4Sure unit? That doesn't make much sense to me. Are you saying a Zune won't work with Rhapsody's subscription service?

Unfortunately, most of the other MP3 players you list are kind of also-rans. The new Zune's are the first non-iPods that seem like they are pretty functional. If you don't work with them, that's a pretty big market you're leaving out, aren't you?
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Old 10-16-2007, 09:59 AM   #23
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That's right. Plays4Sure was microsoft's effort to beat Apple/iTunes by creating and maintaining an open standard for media DRM. It suceeded in that both content and hardware providers liked it, but it failed in that iTunes totally destroyed them all. The Zune/zune store is exactly like the iTunes/iPod. It's an entirely closed and integrated ecosystem. Having failed with an open standard, MS is cloning iTunes and trying to beat them at their own game. I'm sure Rhapsody would love to work on Zunes, but MS won't let them.

It is confusing.
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Old 10-16-2007, 11:28 AM   #24
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That's right. Plays4Sure was microsoft's effort to beat Apple/iTunes by creating and maintaining an open standard for media DRM. It suceeded in that both content and hardware providers liked it, but it failed in that iTunes totally destroyed them all. The Zune/zune store is exactly like the iTunes/iPod. It's an entirely closed and integrated ecosystem. Having failed with an open standard, MS is cloning iTunes and trying to beat them at their own game. I'm sure Rhapsody would love to work on Zunes, but MS won't let them.

It is confusing.
Microsoft's service does differ in at least one significant area. They copied the iTunes model but then added a Rhapsody-like subscription service for a monthly fee, which means you can download thousands of songs every month to multiple players and still pay only $14.99/mo total.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AbMagFab
And the only thing the Rhapsody-specific players add (to regular PLays4Sure players) is the Rhapsody channel synching?
I believe channels and dynamically updating wishlists are the only differences, aside from performance.

The Rhapsody-specific players download music from the Rhapsody service 3-5x faster than the Play4Sure players. With my 30Mbps FiOS connection, I was literally able to download and transfer music to my Sansa E250R as fast as one song per second. If you have multiple channels on your E250R, you've got potentially hundreds of new songs to download every week, so Internet throughput does become an issue for that feature.

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Old 10-16-2007, 11:45 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AbMagFab
So based on the Rhapsody web site, you're saying that Microsoft doesn't make a Microsoft Windows Plays4Sure unit?
That's correct. Microsoft decided to abandon PFS for the Zune. I don't want theorize whether or not it was a business decision (to create a walled garden like iTMS, forcing you to buy both the device and the service) or a technical decision (an acknowledgement of the weaknesses in the PFS spec), but it was a clear decision on their part.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AbMagFab
Are you saying a Zune won't work with Rhapsody's subscription service?
We are.
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Old 10-16-2007, 11:51 AM   #26
sstatman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AbMagFab
Unfortunately, most of the other MP3 players you list are kind of also-rans.
And at the risk of being accused of endorsing a device, let me recommend that you look at the latest iRiver and Samsung devices.
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Old 10-16-2007, 12:02 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcthorne
The discussion of how to circumvent DRM is just as illegal and off topic here as removal. Two means to the same end and the law clearly covers both. I hate defending this stuff as I HATE DRM. But the law is what it is and TivoComunity is a valued resource in danger where this discussion is headed.

ReplayMusic and several other pieces of software that accomplish the same thing are not legal for sale in the US. Please let folks that wish to discuss this go to other offshore websites set up for that purpose and keep Tivo Community forums out of it.

I am NOT in favor of DRM, just IN FAVOR of keeping the Tivo Community alive. This is dangerous ground and has killed other web sites that were also very useful and brushed too close to the law.

I'll bow out from here. If the moderators want to step in they will I suppose. No one here wants to run a foul of the law, agree with it or not. i was just pointing it out.
My suggestion to use a product to supplement Rhapsody is not illegal or does anything illegal pertaining to DRM. I have not discussed on how to remove DRM and thus not taking the risk of having this forum be removed. It's merely a product that falls into the same category as CD ripping, VCR, DVR (Tivo) because it's used for persoanl use. Take a quick look at the law pertaining this product and how it's used before jumping to the conclusion that it's illegal for personal use.

The OP wanted feedback on the subscriptions for Rhapsody and I suggested to go with the Unlimited and save the money instead of adding the "to Go" portion. Thats all.
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Old 10-16-2007, 01:07 PM   #28
AbMagFab
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sstatman
And at the risk of being accused of endorsing a device, let me recommend that you look at the latest iRiver and Samsung devices.
Which models?

At this point, my primary purchase decisions are:
- Works with Rhapsody for single-song, subscription downloads (don't really care about genre channels, although those would be nice-to-have's).

- Supports Pod-Casts, specifically "resume play", even if I've played something else. That is, if I listen to 30 minutes of a 60 minute podcast, then listen to some music, when I come back to the podcast, it starts where I left off (at the 30-minute mark in this example).

Anyone know if any Rhapsody-compatible device supports resume play as I've described? iPods support this, as do the new Zune's, but neither of those support Rhapsody.

(I can't believe how hard it is for me to make this CE purchase. I've never had this much trouble figuring out the subscription model, compatibility, MP3-player support, etc. If Rhapsody is going to survive, they better fix this soon, as I'm about as gadget-savvy a customer as they'll have.)
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Old 10-16-2007, 06:15 PM   #29
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Learned that the iRiver's don't support bookmarks or resume play, except on audio books (and you can't fake it out and have an MP3/podcast be an audio book).

So, anyone use the Archos 605 (or 604)? It says it's Plays4Sure, but Rhapsody doesn't list it on their site. *sigh*

Also, does the Archos do bookmarks/resume play?

This is the most rediculous consumer space I've seen in a long time. No wonder Apple/iTunes is so successful. As proprietary as it is, at least it works, and it's clear what will and won't work.

Archos doesn't have a contact e-mail unless you buy their product, unfortunately.
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Old 10-16-2007, 06:23 PM   #30
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I'm going to ask our devices specialist for a recommendation, given your needs. I've used the Clix2 and the latest Samsung, so I can personally say how much I liked them, but I haven't tried the bookmark or resume play functionality, so I can't vouch for it.

(I'm test driving the latest Toshiba GigaBeat right now, and I'm enjoying it. I do believe that one will save your pause state between restarts, but I don't think it bookmarks.)
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