June 06, 2013

Pandora’s First Foray into Television Starts with Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3

There’s a new force in television today, and it’s from a rather unlikely source: Pandora (NewsAlert). When most people think of Pandora, the first thing that comes to mind is music, and it’s not surprising that that’s the case. But the music powerhouse has now branched out into television, and the first two devices to help Pandora make the media leap are almost as unlikely as Pandora’s move itself: the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360.

The experience will, according to word from Pandora’s Chief Technology Officer Tom Conrad (NewsAlert), be much the same as the normal Pandora experience, but with some differences. Perhaps the biggest is that the new version of Pandora will boast some stabilization of the interface thanks to its HTML5 construction. While Pandora on televisions is really nothing new—those with Smart TV systems, Internet-capable Blu-ray players and a host of set-top boxes like the Roku have had the option of bringing in Pandora’s sweet, sweet sounds for some time—Pandora on television has come with a price: the need to develop a variety of custom interfaces.

Pandora’s need to develop several different modes of interface to accommodate all the devices on which it currently can be found means that bringing updates to Pandora is often difficult and time-consuming. But with a standardized interface, Pandora can develop one new feature and release it to all its various platforms all at once, meaning that the updates can move more rapidly and offer the user-base more new features, faster than previously.

Those interested in trying out the new interface can simply get on the Web browser, visit Pandora’s website, add Pandora to the favorites menu and go from there. Not only will users be able to log in and enjoy the stations currently established, but the users will also be able to browse the over 500 genre-specific stations Pandora has already established, while taking advantage of any media boosts that a television can offer, like enhanced speakers for those with full home theater rigs.

Pandora’s television experience so far has been pretty solid—I personally enjoy Pandora via my Roku box—but the point remains that the experience is somewhat fractured. Using a standardized interface—especially one driven by a system as powerful as HTML5—should help offer a better overall experience for the users. Not so much because there was anything wrong with the fractured experience that Pandora was offering previously, but rather, because Pandora will be able to offer better, more regular updates and keep up with user issues, as well as free up a lot of time and resources toward developing a better overall experience.

Any human-designed system has room for improvement, and as good as Pandora already is, there’s only room to improve from there. Pandora’s new interface—especially when it gets going on all the current systems—should prove to bring in a much greater overall value for its users.

Edited by Ryan Sartor


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