State of the Art Internet Radio Made Easier
By DAVID POGUE The New York Times August 9, 2007
You've heard of air pollution and noise pollution? Don't look now, but another depressing form of toxicity is taking the fun out of life: ad pollution. That's the creeping commercial crud that has sapped the pleasure out of TV, faxes, e-mail and, of course, radio. These days, it seems as though AM radio has 52 minutes of ads an hour.
But you have an alternative. Internet radio stations offer an endless smorgasbord of audio entertainment. Some of it is a simultaneous broadcast of what's on from NPR, ESPN, the BBC and so on; others are Internet-only stations that serve both mainstream and niche tastes. The variety is staggering, all of it is free, and it is largely uncluttered by ads.
Trouble is, to listen to Internet radio, you pretty much have to sit at your computer all day. Why doesn't somebody invent a physical radio that can tune in all of this streaming goodness? Not a stereo component or computer peripheral, but a true-blue old-time tabletop console, with a row of preset buttons and built-in speakers?
Somebody finally has. Several somebodies, actually. Companies like Roku, Com One, Revo, Terratec and Tivoli have all produced tabletop or bookshelf radios that are freaky hybrids of the old and new. You tune into radio shows just as you have for decades, but the radios' antennas are internal Wi-Fi receivers that connect to a wireless home network. Talk about good reception: these radios can pull in any of10,000 Internet radio stations from all over the world, without a single pop of static.