As a San Francisco Giants fan, watching the the recent Fox Sports broadcast of the NLCS games was agony: the duo of Tim McCarver and Joe Buck were dumb and dumber (they were even called that on air during the series with the Phillies by a member of the Fox team, no kidding). Worse, there was no way to mute the television audio and listen to the excellent local radio broadcast, since the video was delayed by more than 20 seconds. By the time a pitch was thrown on the screen, the batter was out and the inning was over on the radio. Looking around, I found an elegant solution from Griffin Technology, a vendor known for its support of the Mac.
The product in question is Griffin’s $49.99 Radio Shark 2 Radio Recorder. It comprises a USB-powered AM/FM radio receiver with a built-in antenna and Mac OS X (and Windows) software package. The kit also comes with a USB extension cable, which was necessary to isolate the antenna from interference.
The setup didn’t require any guidance from the user manual. I simply plugged in the receiver and installed the software. After launching the program, I tuned in our local KNBR AM radio station that carries the Giants games (all the controls are in software). I found that had to move the Shark 2 receiver about 6 to 7 feet away from my computer to stop the interference. So far so good.
The software interface is very familiar to anyone using a DVR or any modern audio device. There’s a button with a heart to set Favorites. Users pause the live feed by toggling the Play button.
However, I found it a bit tiresome to get the broadcasts synced up by ear. Time to look in the PDF manual.
After a quick search, I found the answer: I opened up the Record & Playback tab in Preferences and entered a number of seconds into the Skip Left control setting. Changing this setting let me quickly sync the broadcast by hitting the Live button followed by the Skip Left button, which delayed the audio. It took me about 3 attempts to settle on a 22 second delay. It’s very close.
There are other features that I will discover later. First things first. All I can say is that I’m overjoyed that the Shark arrived during the top of the first inning of Game 1! I had gambled on the standard UPS shipping and it arrived in time. This device has already saved the series. Go Giants!
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