Another technology roundup today by Mr. Pogue. Today’s looks at stand-alone Internet radio devices, devices that tap into your home network and let you listen to Internet radio, podcasts, MP3s, etc. without having to remain tethered to your computer like the guy in that Pearl Jam video (3:01 in). The biggest thing to take away from the roundup is that these devices haven’t hit prime time quite yet. Beset with clunky interfaces, minimal portability and generally unattractive aesthetics (“the emphasis was clearly on engineering rather than design or user friendliness”), these early birds should only be looked at by technology enthusiast.
Us, in other words.
Pogue looks at several Internet radio models, including one the Phoenix, Pico, Noxon and SoundBridge Internet Radio. Of these, the SoundBridge seems to be your best bet. It has actual stereo speakers (most of the others only support monaural sound—lame, but how many Internet radio stations broadcast in high fidelity to begin with?) and gets along with both Macs and PCs. AM/FM radio support, iTunes playlist support and buttons that actually make sense—a source buttton!—all help to put this radio ahead of the others.
Internet Radio Made Easier [New York Times]