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Photos: Rhapsody 4
The latest version of Rhapsody features a sleeker interface, with improved navigation and modular features. It's a worthwhile upgrade.
CNET Reviews staff
Version 4 still has all the great content that Rhapsody is known for. It's laid out the same way, though now you get dark text on a light background, and it's a bit easier to read than the opposite. You can browse music by genre, new releases, staff picks, exclusives, and so on, or you can use the search bar at the top to search by artist, album, track, keyword, or composer.
Rhapsody Radio is now Rhapsody Channels. There are more than 100 programmed stations, in addition to artist-based stations. These can be saved to your library, and now you can transfer them to the SanDisk Sansa e200R. Then, each time you connect the player, the Channel will automatically update with new content. If you hear a song that you like, you can save it to the player to keep it there.
Real added a pop-up track list window, which activates when you double-click a playlist or the Now Playing button. This window contains handy controls (share, transfer to device, create playlist, and so on).
You can drag and drop Channels directly to the Sansa e200R. You can also do this with all of the other content in Rhapsody. (The latter works with PlaysForSure devices as well.) And continuous transferring means you can add more songs to the transfer queue during syncing.
Streams play at 128Kbps in WMA, while RAX (AAC wrapped in Helix) is used for downloads (160Kbps) and purchases (192Kbps). Thanks to Real's transcoding technology (Helix), tracks purchased in Rhapsody can be transferred to the iPod and PlaysForSure devices alike. PlaysForSure devices also support subscription tracks. On the downside, other than a selection of streaming music videos, there's no video (or photo) support--this is strictly a music jukebox.