Help Bring Pandora to Home Theater PCs

Jul 3, 2014 by

Pandora is one of the oldest, and most loved, names in online streaming radio. Most of us have been using the service to enjoy playlists that are full of only the music we like for years. Last year Pandora created a new view of their website that was intended to be used on televisions. It was specifically created to work with the Xbox 350 and PlayStation 3. Fortunately, Chris Barnes was able to find a work-around that enabled home theater PC (HTPC) users to get the same great experience.

We’re sad to report that Pandora has updated their site again, and this time around no one has been able to find a way to make it work on HTPCs. That’s where you come in! We’ve received numerous comments and emails about how the site no longer works. And for every person who does contact us, there are many more who are experiencing the same problem, but haven’t written in. It’s time to go straight to Pandora about the issue. Our hope is that if we can show an overwhelming demand for this experience that they’ll re-enable this functionality.

We’re making it really easy for you to give Pandora your feedback.

Take to Twitter. Are you on Twitter? So are they, so send them a tweet! Here’s the tweet we’ve been sending to @pandora_radio:

tv.pandora.com can bring Pandora to HTPCs. But it’s blocked! @Pandora_radio: Please make it available, in beta, to any Chrome user!

Tweet this message, or something similar, and as long as you include @Pandora_radio, they’ll see it. You could even just retweet our original message!

Send them Email. You can also send feedback to them at pandora-support@pandora.com. Express your interests, but be respectful (remember…these are real people we’re appealing to)! Here’s the email message that one of our team members sent:

A while ago, you released a 10-foot interface for Pandora that you’re using as a hack for enabling Pandora on Xbox and PlayStation through their respective browsers. The UI is designed to work with standard arrow key/d-pad buttons and as a result, it works great with home theater PCs, including Windows Media Center. I should say that it worked (past tense), because through a series of updates, you’ve seemingly strategically blocked anyone trying to use this interface if they’re not on the Xbox or PlayStation? Why?

Home Theater PC users are often the most avid of technical users, and I could argue HTPC users trying to access Pandora on their big screen are likely significantly dedicated users. So how about ending the cat and mouse game and, instead, allowing anyone who goes to tv.pandora.com to enjoy the 10-foot experience you’ve created?

You should expect to hear from more of your paying customers (like me) about this issue. I write for a blog about digital media, and I host a weekly podcast about Windows Media Center. Our listeners and readers are asking about this, wondering why any company would block users from accessing their product.

At this point, you’re unlikely to support a platform like Windows Media Center (which is in its last years of expected support). But an unsupported beta/labs version of your 10-foot interface would be a great addition to any HTPC. So why not throw a bone to the enthusiasts who know their way around a URL? Seriously…these people really do. Check it out: http://thedigitalmediazone.com/2013/06/13/using-pandora-on-an-htpc/

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  • Scott Lilien

    I don’t get it. I have a full featured Windows 7 HTPC. If I want to listen to Pandora, I open a browser type in: “Pandora.com” and my password is already cached, so I’m in right away. I hear it through my speakers. Is what you are asking is that Pandora provide a Windows Media Center Plug-in? It’s not really a big deal to open any old browser and go to Pandora, is it?

  • jpollarddmz

    No, it’s not that difficult to open a web browser from an HTPC, but it does still require a mouse/keyboard in the living room. We just don’t think being required to use a mouse/keyboard is a very usable solution. We only want to use physical remote controls. They provide the best user experience.