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Media The Internet Entertainment Linux

When Internet Radios Get Affordable 139

Posted by timothy
from the slightly-more-convergence dept.
DeviceGuru writes "Grace Digital Audio has just released a new device that functions like an Internet radio tuner in a whole-house audio system and is being sold at a surprisingly affordable price point. The Solo Wi-Fi Receiver works in tandem with Reciva's Internet radio station selection web service, provides excellent Pandora support, and also supports optional Internet services such as Live365, MP3tunes, Aupeo, and Sirius. It has built-in buttons and a display for easy control, comes with a dedicated IR-remote, and is supported by a free iPhone remote access/control app. We hear a lot about the high-end Sonos gear, but at just over $100, this little gadget seems like a breakthrough in cost-effective Internet radio, much as the Roku Netflix player broke ground in low-cost Internet video streaming."
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When Internet Radios Get Affordable

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  • Since the goal is cheap, what about the Chumby One?

    Oh... I live in Canada, I can't have one.

    boo.

    • by CityZen (464761)

      My main complaint about the Chumby is that the user interface isn't ready for prime time. It's like it was designed to do the job, barely. It seems like little thought was given to polishing it and making it user friendly. It just requires far too many button (touch-screen) presses to get it to do what you want it to do.

      On the flip side, the UI is just a flash download that you could replace with your own, in theory.

  • Yup, the site acts slashdotted 8 minutes after this posted up...

    I probably won't be buying one of these anytime soon, but that is only because of my extensive music & stereo collection combined with 7 Linux & windoze machines at home. At this price, they should start selling well, Maybe they'll be the new hot xmas gift this coming season.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    How is a pricepoint different than a price. And how is 105.37 dollars a price point. Who says, "I'm looking for an internet radio, but I don't want to spend more than 106 bucks?"

    • by Nerdfest (867930) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @07:53PM (#32143108)

      How is a pricepoint different than a price.

      It's harder to sound like a douchebag if you only say price.

  • by Bloom Berg (1743432) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @07:13PM (#32142836)

    You can always make your own [parallax.com]

    It works great, only $75

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @07:13PM (#32142838)
    I'm not really seeing the market for this. So I want a device that plays internet radio, but don't want to just get an iPod dock, use a laptop/netbook and uses Wi-Fi so it isn't like your getting always available portable internet. If you have a home theater system, why wouldn't you just have a HTPC and just use VLC and connect to the internet radio that way, if you don't have a home theater system, why not just use an iPod or laptop?
    • by carlzum (832868)
      I was thinking the same thing. An iPod Touch with a dock satisfies most features on his checklist, and the article's screenshots are mostly images of the iPod application. I don't see what value the additional device offers.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Because Grandpa has no idea what VLC is.
      • Right, and a technophobe who wants a more modern radio system would go the XM route anyway.
        • XM compression is shite. No respectable technophobe would ever use XM.
          • by rockout (1039072)
            I think you're confusing the GP's "technophobe" with "technophile". A technophobe would certainly use Sirius XM - it's extremely user-friendly these days, and although it may not be CD-quality, it certainly sounds better than FM, which is good enough for 95% of the population.
    • by mcrbids (148650) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @10:47PM (#32144098) Journal

      I'm not really seeing the market for this.

      That's because you are a tech weenie. For you, going to websites and downloading software patches comes as naturally as hair dye comes to a platinum blonde. But the truth is, downloading patches and setting up handler applications and all the other stuff that you have to do is... HARD for most people!

      As a software engineer, I find over and over again that "possible" isn't the same as "easy" or "automatic" or even "useful".

      Some years ago, I wrote a tool to keep paperwork in electronic format, at a tremendous savings to our client organizations. My first attempt was usable, but required significant training, and we got a few nibbles. My next revision was better, and we got some strong interest from previously cool clients. My most current revision is drop-dead simple to use, needing little more than a button click, and customers are practically lining up.

      It can be very hard to do, but easy is, for most people, the difference between doable and not worth the bother. I've many times wanted to listen to KGO radio in San Francisco. I can sorta get it with an AM radio, but it's static-y and unpleasant. I can stream it online, but to do this, I have to get a big, relatively expensive computer, plug it into the Internet, turn it on, load the browser, go to the website, and click to start, then plug the speaker jack into my stereo.

      So I end up with a pile of wires, and a laptop that likes to fall asleep every few hours of listening while burning about 60 watts. Ouch!

      If only I could just hit the power switch, and then turn a knob to the "KGO" station... ? I'd be pretty likely to buy something like this.

      • Squeezebox RADIO (Score:3, Informative)

        By posting this, I'm undoing some much-needed moderation I already did on this thread, but nobody's said anything about it so I gotta do it.

        Squeezebox RADIO. No, not a Squeezebox, a Squeezebox RADIO.

        http://www.logitechsqueezebox.com/products/squeezebox-radio.html [logitechsqueezebox.com]

        Knobs. Buttons. A little display. Wired and wireless Ethernet. A powerful loudspeaker.

        Quote: If only I could just hit the power switch, and then turn a knob to the "KGO" station... ? I'd be pretty likely to buy something like this.

        And I did

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by davek (18465)

      I'm not really seeing the market for this. So I want a device that plays internet radio, but don't want to just get an iPod dock, use a laptop/netbook and uses Wi-Fi so it isn't like your getting always available portable internet. If you have a home theater system, why wouldn't you just have a HTPC and just use VLC and connect to the internet radio that way, if you don't have a home theater system, why not just use an iPod or laptop?

      I reject this argument for three very important reasons:

      1) people have been predicting the death of radio ever since the invention of the TV, yet somehow, its still here. With the invention of the internet, people still predict the death of live media and live broadcast. They remain wrong. Internet radio will adapt to become as simple as the transistor radio is today.

      2) I can play my internet radio station on an iPhone anywhere that 3G service is available. However, I would not purchase a $100 radio and

    • by jeroen94704 (542819) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @03:02AM (#32145238)
      Well, I have an HTPC, but still I recently built and installed a DIY-version of the Squeezebox [mightyohm.com]. Why? Because for listening to music an HTPC is a bit impractical (need to switch on TV, HTPC and Amp) and overkill (That's a full fledged PC used exclusively to play a dinky little FLAC/MP3). Also, it's nice to have an internet radio/alarm clock in your bedroom, or be able to distribute music throughout your home.
      • by DavidTC (10147)

        I have no idea why you think PCs can't have speakers built in, or why you have to have the TV on.

        A lot of people seem very confused about how a HTPC 'must' operate. There is absolutely nothing stopping an HTPC from operating without the screen on. There is nothing stopping them from having tiny LED displays for when the TV is off. There's nothing stopping them from having control buttons on the front.

        In fact, plenty of them already fit all those qualifications.

        If you want an internet radio device just do

  • And on the other end(s) of the loudspeaker, is the idea of multicasting going anywhere? After radio more and more TV, eventually in HD, will be streamed and having a full 1-1 connection for every client seems terribly wasteful.

    Is multicast tied too tighly to IPv6, already obsolete, can it be jury-rigged into IPv4 by the ISP and a smart enough router? I always feel bad when listening to a niche radio station for the bandwidth cost I incurr...

    • by maxume (22995)

      If you weren't paying for it, you probably wouldn't be able to use it.

    • by tagno25 (1518033)

      Is multicast tied too tighly to IPv6, already obsolete, can it be jury-rigged into IPv4 by the ISP and a smart enough router? I always feel bad when listening to a niche radio station for the bandwidth cost I incurr...

      You seem like a troll (because you say IPv6 is obsolete). Multicast was designed on IPv4.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Is multicast tied too tighly to IPv6, already obsolete

        You seem like a troll (because you say IPv6 is obsolete).

        No, he was saying "Is multicast tied to tightly to IPv6, is multicast already obsolete, etc"

        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          by thms (1339227)
          Indeed, fellow literate :) - And troll is such a harsh word...

          Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. (not saying whose)

          Does it think too far ahead and thus has the same problems as IPv6? Does some other technology make it obsolete for carriers? Such as maybe the technology of deep packet inspection and bundling known internet streams into one.
      • by Kizeh (71312)

        Multicast works just peachy over IPv4, and has for a long, long time. That's how we distribute much of our streaming media on campus and over Internet2. Also, many interior routing protocols such as OSPF use multicast, as do various other systems management protocols/tools.
        Why ISPs like aren't using it for video and radio delivery is beyond me.

        • by amorsen (7485)

          Why ISPs like aren't using it for video and radio delivery is beyond me.

          They do, but only the content they themselves provide. The whole point of the Internet is that you don't have to contact every ISP in the world when you set up a server.

  • by riker1384 (735780) on Saturday May 08, 2010 @07:31PM (#32142980)
    An Ipod Touch can receive Internet radio through various apps, and it can fulfill many other functions as well. Why bother buying these one-purpose devices that usually cost almost as much, if not more than an 8GB Ipod Touch? There are probably smartphones (including the iPhone) that can do it, as well.
    • by Mutio (1204504)
      Exactly, I'm a paying pandora user and have many other internet radio stations that I use regularly. The answer to this is my Android phone, there are multiple apps for internet radio (shoutcast and others) and there is a dedicated Pandora app. With a touchscreen, and a very close price (i got my phone for $200 Ebay), i see no need for a device like this.
    • by Nerdfest (867930)

      Why bother buying these one-purpose devices that usually cost almost as much

      Better sound quality?

      • by dangitman (862676)

        Better sound quality?

        Buh? An iPod is capable of providing higher quality audio than any of the internet radio streams offer, so what are you talking about?

        • SomaFM [somafm.com] is offering its Groove Salad station in 128 kbps AAC.
          • SomaFM is offering its Groove Salad station in 128 kbps AAC.

            And what is your point? The Touch can reproduce audio with a lot higher quality than a 128kbps stream offers... itunes by default now is 256k for music.

            Really though, the question would be how well each device would do with audio output... I think either would be more than able to reproduce a 128k stream perfectly well, but as the original poster noted a Touch is more flexible.

            • My understanding is that 128 kbps AAC is better than CD quality. What is the source material?

              My point is just that nearly any device capable of decoding an AAC stream can produce extremely high quality music. Most headphone jacks, even very cheap ones, have a very flat frequency response and little noise, especially considering the final amplifier.

              • >My understanding is that 128 kbps AAC is better than CD quality.

                Your understanding is totally wrong. How can a compressed version be better than the original?
                After all, most of the source material are CD's.
                • Actually, that was a totally screwed-up amalgam of two sentences. What I meant to say is that most people are getting their material from either iTunes or a similar service or torrents, which are not CD quality, and generally lower than 128 kbps. I fully realize that AAC is a 'lossy' compression and not as good as a CD, but the bast majority people are not buying CD's and then converting to FLAC and playing on their iTouch or what have you.

                  To tell you the truth, I've been totally disappointed with the mus

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Hurricane78 (562437)

      Except for the ability to use YouTube on it. Or play J2ME games on it. Or make phone calls. Or make photos. Or install what you like. Or have infinite space trough a memory card slot. Etc, etc, etc. ;) (I’m not informed on the latest from Apple, so feel free to remove what is now available.)
      I’m not saying you shouldn’t use what you like. Go ahead, have fun! :)

      I’m just saying that my mobile phone does all of the above, and lots more, costs less, and the sound quality is great. I use a

      • Except for the ability to use YouTube on it.

        Dude, it ships with a YouTube app!

        Or play J2ME games on it.

        HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.

        Wouldn't you rather play some of the literally 50k commercially produced games that are in fact written for the Touch??

        I seriously cannot believe you are saying you'd rather buy a device that supports J2ME over a Touch for GAMES!!!

        I'm just saying that my mobile phone does all of the above

        Right, it "does" that in the same way a rock and a stream "does" laundry.

        I use a Internet flat-rate

      • by DavidTC (10147)

        Except for the ability to use YouTube on it.

        Oh, a YouTube App. Why, on an iPod Touch, that takes several seconds to launch!

        Or play J2ME games on it.

        You can play J2ME games on your internet radio hardware? Weird.

        Or make phone calls.

        You can make phone calls on your internet radio hardware? What, using Skype?

        Or make photos.

        You can make photos on your internet radio hardware? Isn't it awkward having to get everyone in the right room in the right place? Can't your cell phone just take a picture where

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by discojohnson (930368)
      Because it just works simply enough that I turn it on and turn it up. No crazy menus or the like. My kids can use it. Plus it does one thing well, unlike the bolt-on camera on my phone. I do not have an Internet radio standalone unit, but I do have a divx player that my 4 year old operates (no moving parts and no disks). The price point still makes me cringe though, and historically these web music players have been overpriced. My $70 picture frame is wireless, gets images over UPnP, but can still str
    • by Luyseyal (3154)

      Nokia E75 [nokia.com] (S60 platform) does Internet streaming over wifi rather nicely. I bought it to listen to my beloved WOXY [woxy.com], but alas, they are dead right now.

      -l

  • Older palm tops like my Nokia 770 work well too. I have an old P75 with Debian and Darwin Streaming Server installed, plays my mp3 collection non stop on a few different play lists, I use the Nokia as a radio while mowing the lawn.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Internet radio can't be cheap as long as unreasonable download caps exist, as are common, at least in Canada. Broadcast radio costs effectively nothing, leave the radio on 24/7 if you want. If you try that with your net connection you'll be paying for surplus usage long before the month end.

    • by MobyTurbo (537363)

      Internet radio can't be cheap as long as unreasonable download caps exist, as are common, at least in Canada. Broadcast radio costs effectively nothing, leave the radio on 24/7 if you want. If you try that with your net connection you'll be paying for surplus usage long before the month end.

      Maybe for Canada, for USAians, we typically have "unlimited" service which is quite reasonable. Now, if you start running servers or doing a lot of bittorrent, you'll get temporarily capped or even booted off for running a server against your TOS, because upstream bandwidth is rationed, but downloading a radio stream at 128kbps? No problem.

    • Not sure where you live in Canada...
      I live in Saskatchewan. The provincial gov't owned Sasktel does not impose any caps that I am aware of (well, at least they don't enforce them, if they do define them in the ToS).

      I would consider myself a heavy internet user in the sense that I download a lot (various sources, and mostly legal). I used to run a web server for development and testing but now rent a very cheap VPS after my hardware died. My wife watches and listens to streaming media daily while I'm at work

  • Internet radio? What if the internet goes down? Now software radio on the other hand can be useful in all sorts of situations whether you use the internet or not.

  • What is the point?

    • Maybe you should get out more.

      Nowadays, few people are born, grow up, settle down, marry, get children, grow old and die in the same little village.

      There is a whole world out there with hundreds of countries and thousands of states, with thousands of radio stations, that you cannot receive over the air in your little burg.

      • I was going to post something about that statement maybe being valid in North America and Western Europe, but not for the bulk of the world's population, but it turns out that a few minutes' Googling hasn't given me anything to back my position up with...go figure.

  • The entire review is apparently predicated on the idea that you'll control the thing from an iPod Touch or iPhone.

    If you have an iPod Touch or iPhone, what the hell do you need this thing for?

    Tell us what it's like to actually use the device itself.

  • I've a couple of DAB+ digital radios that also have WiFi/LAN connection options so I can tune in or play music from UPNP shares on my home network and network radio (and FM broadcast too but I've no need for that as the broadcast stations of interest to my ears all broadcast digitally now). I quite like these Linux-driven devices and think the convergence quite handy - clock radios that can play practically any audio content I'm interested in. I hardly ever use them as network radios but, should I have a su
  • It's worth a bit more but worth it. The cumulative benefit of the system is great, considering you can add nodes easily once its in place and sync or not sync. Especially awesome when combined with MusicIP.

    TFA looks like a troll. There are actually a lot of devices out there which meet the criteria.

    If you're conscious about price and have lax wireless security get find a linksys wmls11b on line. For $30-40 it can't be beat!

  • I've had a freecom Internet Radio[1] for about 2 years now which cost about $100 (GBP 60).

    Its a flexible unit with WLAN, Ethernet etc.

    Andy

    [1] http://www.freecom.com/product.asp?CatID=1148017

  • This is a veiled slashvertisement for Parallax Propellor.

    In related news, each of my WiFi internet radios cost under $150.
    We're almost there already.

    • by Kizeh (71312)

      I was wondering if I was the only one the slasdot posting struck as straight ad copy, for a product that's not particularly new, unique or cheap.

      • by kriston (7886)

        The original article just completely changed to something else that doesn't even mention the Propellor. You have to love the journalistic integrity around here.

  • I got myself a ramsey fm transmitter from here [ramseyelectronics.com] and hooked up a cheap dedicated PC with my 3 terabyte music collection and I can hear my music from anywhere in the house or outside on cheap fm radios.

    Sometimes people over think things.
  • What am I missing here?

    Ok, I run wifi via an Airport Extreme and Optimum Boost [custhelp.com] (30mbps down, $10 a month extra.)

    I have four Airport Expresses [apple.com] with AirTunes and PandoraJam [bitcartel.com] sending either "radio" (AirTunes) or Pandora to each Express, each hooked up to its own stereo/wireless speakers.

    I can send different content to each Express, which I don't think a Roku/Grace device can do. So what's the advantage? Serious question, not being rhetorical....

  • Or I can just set up my psp/droid phone/netbook to my sound system and stream 128k+ shoutcast stations for free
  • Streamtuner works for me. One does need a good internet connection of course, else the sound will be choppy on these things.
  • I've had one of these for over a year, and it works very well. It also receives AM and FM stereo, has 512 megs of memory for audio record/playback and also will play files off a USB drive. It doesn't do AAC, but does do Real Audio. It has a headphone output and sounds quite good. It works with an Internet portal. It also has personalized weather forecasts, an atomic clock, alarm, and works with Slacker, etc.

    83 dollars including shipping and also comes with a wireless access point.

    http://www.amazon.com/R [amazon.com]

  • Most Revo models do DAB, DAB+, Wifi or Ethernet powered internet radio, FM, play your Windoze hd and your ipod. http://revo.co.uk/ [revo.co.uk]

    NN

  • I bought a refurbished Revo Blik a few months back, and it's fantastic! The only problem is if I go to bed having queued up three or four files on BitTorrent it's impossible to listen to it as you fall asleep - you get five seconds of sound, ten seconds of silence repeated until the BT download finishes.

  • http://www.gracedigitalaudio.com/solo-wireless-radio-media-streamer-p-94.html [gracedigitalaudio.com]

    145 Table './gracedig_gracedigital/zen_gda2_whos_online' is marked as crashed and should be repaired
    in:
    [delete from zen_gda2_whos_online where time_last_click '1273407072']

    Don't these incompetents know that you have to prepare for heavy traffic when you purchase a slashvertisement?
    $100 is about two times too much for this; when you can get HD video for $99, paying $99 to stream internet radio seems retarded. You could buy a used P

  • About 3 years ago, the UK Currys/Dixons in-house brand Logik came out with the IR100 (also Reciva based) at GBP79.99. Within a few months they were marked down to GBP39.99 - a significantly lower price point than the USD100+ for the Solo.
  • by fm6 (162816) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @02:03PM (#32148666) Homepage Journal

    A price point is an economic term. It refers to a theoretical optimum on a price curve. The word for the actual price of something is (drum roll please) "price."

    Yeah, I know, this sort of semantic nitpicking is obnoxious. But I can't help myself, because people keep giving me money when I do it. Hence the name of my website.

  • Microchip has an "Internet Radio" with an OLED display as a demo board: http://www.microchipdirect.com/ProductSearch.aspx?keywords=DM183033 [microchipdirect.com] It is completely hackable, the complete source is available.

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