Saturday, August 4, 2007

You Asked, I Answer! iPod on the Radio: Transmitters

Hello web friends!!

So many of you have been emailing me over the last two days about the iPod transmitter that I recommended to Ross "the Intern" Mathews after he mentioned it on his blog (click HERE to check it out), that I decided to post a whole blog about it. Also, Episode 3 of my Video Podcast, which is coming up soon, is going to feature all of my favorite gadgets, and I will be including this transmitter in that video as well.

First things first, in case you missed it, here's Episode 2 of my Geek Girl Podcast:

Ok, now, for the piece de resitance...

Before I tell you all about this transmitter and where to find it, I have to give you all a quick brief about how these things work. Lots of people have emailed in about problems with transmitters and the static and interference and plain non-functionality of the devices that they have bought. What you need to know is that there isn't a device (yet) that is external (plugs INTO your car as opposed to having it wired inside of your car radio, which I had done and I LOVE) which will cut out ALL of the static from the airwaves. The way that these transmitters work is like this:
  • your car cigarette lighter acts as the power source for the transmitter.
  • you plug the transmitter into your iPod (which also, as a bonus, charges your iPod via the cigarette lighter)
  • you turn on your car radio and scan for a station that is nothing but this case, the more static the better
  • you program this station on your car stereo, and then you turn on the transmitter and program that same station on it as well (the transmitter that I'm recommending actually has 3 channel pre-set buttons, so that's a plus, because you can have different stations for different areas you drive in)
  • you turn on your iPod and play it, and the transmitter actually transmits what your iPod is playing via the preset station you have selected, and your car radio receiver picks it up. It's like your own mini-broadcast radio station in your car!
But here's the drawback: no matter how good a transmitter you get, you are still dealing with radio waves. Radio waves, even on the best, biggest stations cut out when you are out of the area (i.e. when you go on road trips and there are long stretches of road where you can't get ANY reception). Lots of environmental factors also influence radio waves, such as weather and clouds (random fact: did you know that at night, if the cloud coverage and temperature are just right, you can pick up AM stations over the radio that you couldn't pick up normally? The radio waves actually bounce off the clouds and reflect back down to earth in places they wouldn't normally transmit. Neat, right? Actually, if anyone reading this knows more about that phenomenon, please post about it in the COMMENT section below...I'd love to hear more about it!).

Anyhow, the moral of the story is that you will never get perfect reception with a transmitter. But the one that I show you above has some advantages that help minimize the interfering factors. It's a
Kensington Digital FM Transmitter/Auto Charger, and you can buy it at the Apple store HERE. The advantages are:
  1. It is digital, which transmits a clearer signal
  2. It has 3 programmable stations, which allow you to switch stations depending on the area you are in
  3. And it has a Patented Aerielle wireless technology, which enhances noise reduction and stereo separation.
So there you go, blog buddies. Everything you wanted to know about the transmitter. I personally think it's also worth it, if you have the money and a car that will allow for this type of hook up, that you have your iPod cord installed in your car. Then you just plug in your iPod like you would to your computer, and control it via your car CD control buttons, as opposed to the radio. If you do it this way, there is absolutely no radio interference because the car stereo treats the iPod input like a CD, as opposed to a radio wave.

Lastly, a few of you have asked about an iPod cassette adapter. I've found one HERE, however can't personally vouch for it's effectiveness since I don't have a tape deck. Make sure you check out the specs, because you have to have a front loading tape deck, etc. The reviews for this one look pretty good, but make sure to always do some online investigating before you buy any electronics products. Or, check with me. :)

Ok fellow geeks and geeks-in-training...that's all for now! To email me your questions, or even video questions for a chance to be featured in a future podcast, email me at

To check out my YouTube Channel, click HERE.
To check out my MySpace and become my friend, click HERE.
And make sure to subscribe to my videos on iTunes...they are FREE and the quality on iTunes is way better than on YouTube. Plus, you can take me with you on your iPod. :)


Geek Girl


Anonymous said...

Daria, you are always so helpful and informative! I want to be HALF as good as you one day! LOL

Thanks for your dedication to finding us "geeks in training" the answers we need!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Daria!

Anonymous said...

Hi Daria,

Thanks for the info. I am tech challenged and keep reading your blog to see if I can learn something!

I am passing your site along to my more savy friends!

marisol said...

Thanks for posting the FM transmitter that you recommended to Ross. I was going to ask about it since I have tried many different ones and never worked. I bought the one you recommened and it has worked wonderful so far. Thanks and look forward to your next video blog.

Anonymous said...

hey daria!! thanks so much for your e-mail reply and for this update. when i saw the link on ross's page i was like "nu uh, no way that's THE daria..." but it is!
thanks for showing us cheeky girls can be geeky too.

marisol said...

Can I ask what kit you wired your car with? I am thinking about getting it done to my car.

GeekGirl said...

hi me-

i actually had it done at the dealership--my car came pre-set to be wired for an ipod, so it was just a simple install of a wire and a power source on their took all of 3 hours, and it's awesome! i can't vouch for any kits...i would check online in regards to the year, make and model of your car, and see what other people who have your car would recommend. hope that helps!

geek girl

nate said...

same thing and 20 bucks cheaper.

GeekGirl said...

Thanks Nate! That's a great tip...i usually use the Apple store because i trust them (plus i get discounts through my work! LOL) but i know there are lots of great deals on the web for brand-name electrics...thx for the tip for my blog buds!


Geek Girl

Numbers Geek said...

Can you tell us the web site where you can upload songs fromyou computer to then download as ringtones to your cell? Can't find it and need it!

Love the podcasts and the blog, keepit going!

Geek to Geek

Anonymous said...

Unknown said...

you're welcome!
i've used newegg a couple of times before and they have fast shipping and good deals on products. very reliable!


Tippie said...

I have used both FM transmitters and the cassette version. If you have a tape player go for the cassette adapter. Less fuss and more reliable

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