Stand-alone internet radios are the new 'must have gadget' for us fat, bald, forty something blokes, or so the hype would have us believe. Yes, you want one, but do you really need one? After all, you only need to go to http://reciva.com and you can listen to them for no extra cost. So is the investment of another gadget worth it?......................................... Yes it ferkin well is.
Depending on what ad you read, you can get between 2500 and 12500 radio stations from every corner of the globe, I would suggest that 8000 is not an unreasonable estimate as the number changes every day. Every single kind of genre you can imagine, and an awful lot of them just pump out the kind of content you want 24/7 with no ads and no DJ's.
So how does it all work?
Your stand-alone internet radio is basically a small computer attached to an amplifier, to keep costs down most use Linux software, but a lot of the unit cost is to pay Microsoft for a licence to use their media player. Make sure the set you buy also has Real Media enabled, if not then you could be limiting your available stations by up to 50%. The set is fixed to the Reciva portal (
www.reciva.com), so if the website goes offline, your set won't work apart from any presets you have saved, the presets are the same as bookmarks on your PC that link to the URL that streams the broadcast. So theoretically, if Reciva went bust and closed down, your expensive gadget becomes virtually useless, but don't panic, there are too many vested interests to allow that to happen.
Choosing a set.
There are a lot of 'customer returns' units for sale on eBay, Hmmmn, even if the seller offers a returns policy, as they ask about a tenner for postage then it's going to be expensive and timely returning them if they are no good. The most popular 'customer return' set is the Logik IR100, well, good news, DSG (Dixons, Currys, PC World) are now selling this at half price, £64.99, DSG don't have the best aftersales reputation, but consumer statutory rights mean you will get any problems resolved eventually.
There are two connection types for sets, some are Wireless only, which means you must have a wireless router, and some are wireless and LAN combined, which means you can use an RJ45 cable to connect the set directly to your broadband router/modem as well as use it wireless. The LAN version seems to be counter-productive to me, if you're going to use cables then you may as well plug a decent amp into your PC speaker socket and go to Reciva.com direct from your PC and save a lot of money.
Internet radios are currently in their infancy, and are therefore very crude, in the coming months and years they will evolve so that you can store URL databases on NV memory and host databases from your own website. And as they are basically a computer running software and firmware, they will do odd things and need re-booting from time to time.
An internet radio is the best thing I've bought for a while, since Primetime Radio went off of DAB last year there has been a void in my life (yes, sad) but now I have so many bigband and swing channels to choose from I really am spoilt for choice.
Log on to Reciva.com on your PC and have a listen, make sure you really need an internet radio rather than just fancying one.
Use Google to view reviews of various sets.
Shop around, eBay is not necessarily the cheapest, and the cheapest is not necessarily the best deal.
P.S. clicking the 'YES' this guide was helpful button at the bottom will not save the world but it will make you feel good.
Internet (WiFi) Radio
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11 September 2008
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