The two main players in the iPod FM Transmitter market come from Griffin Technology and lately, XtremeMac. FM transmitters became a popular means to integrate the iPod to your automobile’s stereo system. Especially since, less and less car stereos come equipped with cassette decks, transmitting iPod tunes over FM frequency seemed the logical solution.
So, why buy one over another? Especially since the two enter the market at about the same price?
Some countries expressly ban the use of such FM transmitters, eg UK, owing to broadcast laws restrictions. Please check with your country’s laws before purchasing and using FM transmitters.
How do these two FM transmitters measure up against each other?
#Option 1. Griffin Technology’s iTrip, USD$35.00
Griffin Technology’s iTrip has been around for about as long as the iPod itself. Most consumers favoured this over other bulkier options, since it integrated to be flushed with the iPod’s industrial aesthetics and drew power directly from the iPod itself. This is great in the looks department, unless… you’re the proud owner off more than one generation of iPod.
Then the dosh slowly adds up as you purchase one iTrip after another for the various generations of iPods that you own. The fact that a software upload into your iPod, is a ‘love it’ or ‘hate it’ affair. I believe there are two school of thoughts out there, there are those who love everything to be integrated and for this group of people, integrated software to control the iTrip is heaven-sent. The more pragmatic group of people might otherwise, view this necessity as a cumbersome interface design and unneccesary use of iPod hard disk space.
#Option 2. XtremeMac’s AirPlay, USD$39.95
Enter XtremeMac’s AirPlay, boasting compatibility with all generations of iPods and iPod Mini’s, with the exception being the 1st and 2nd generation iPods. Unlike the iTrip, there’s no software to install and frequency changes are operated using the two buttons built into the face of the AirPlay.
The AirPlay also boasts utility of the entire FM frequency spectrum, allowing you to tune your AirPlay from 88.1 to 107.9 MHz. A far broader FM band than Griffin Technology’s iTrip. The only real setback to the AirPlay would be its obvious clash with the iPod’s industrial aesthetics but its a definite winner for the pragmatic.
Aside from the two FM transmitters featured here there are a plethora of other FM transmitters available for the iPod but most do not integrate into the iPod’s design like the iTrip and AirPlay.
Like Belkin’s Tunecast Mobile FM Transmitter, most of the other FM transmitters utilise a simple head phone jack, and run off dry cell batteries housed within its own structure. Making these units bulky and not very cost effective to run. Other forms of FM transmitters come in the form of car kits, that mount permanently in your automobile.