My Smart TV is smarter than me

Suzanne and I have had a morning routine since way before the pandemic started. Yogi comes in the bedroom around 6:00 and jumps up on the bed. He’s mostly our wake-up call. Sometimes, I get up right away, but occasionally, he’s not ready to begin the day, so we snooze a little more. Then, I get up, get dressed, and he and I go downstairs. I start the coffee, put on his harness and we go for a walk. Most of the time, we wander around the neighborhood for fifteen or twenty minutes and by the time we get back, Suzanne has gotten up, come down and opened the patio blinds. That’s our signal that she is indeed up. Yogi runs in and jumps up on the sofa with her and we spend the next hour really waking up. When Suzanne gets up, she turns on the radio, which is tuned to WFMT in Chicago. It’s a classical music station that we generally have on most of the day. On Saturday morning, when she turned the radio on, it wouldn’t play. We have an old AM/FM radio that has a jack for an iPod. I bought this one at Costco in 2009 and it’s been used mostly to stream music from TuneIn radio. For some reason, there was a glitch in the app and I couldn’t reconnect. After many simple tries, I tried all the not-so-simple ones and finally determined that the TuneIn app has been updated several times and will no longer play through iOS 5.1, which the last operating system the iPod can be upgraded to. So, our usual way of listening to WFMT was stymied. I spent a couple of hours on the Web investigating Bluetooth radios that we could replace our old radio with. There are hundreds of possibilities at hundreds of price points. I didn’t want to spend a lot, so I narrowed my choice down to the Google Echo Mini and the Alexa Dot. Costco had a deal on two Echos for $49 and Amazon sells the Dot for $29. After reading a dozen reviews and comparison, I decided to buy the Dot, which is scheduled to be delivered today (5-11). We missed listening to WFMT on Sunday morning, before CBS Sunday Morning, but for some reason, while Suzanne was watching the Buddhist service from Unity Temple on the Plaza, it occurred to me that perhaps I could find a way to stream WFMT on our Smart TV. I’ll admit that I’ve done almost nothing beyond watching TV on our Smart TVs. I pulled them out of the boxes, hooked them up to cable, plugged them in and turned them on. That’s about it. But, I knew there was more they could do and bingo! there is. Through the app store, I was able to find TuneIn and a separate app for WFMT specifically. So, I set up TuneIn, found WFMT and started listening. I even found a way to turn off the picture on the TV while we are listening. Now the question is: do we keep the Alexa Dot when it is delivered. I suppose I’ll experiment with it and see if it is a useful product. But in the mean time, we’ve got classical music streaming in our house again. Good times.

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