By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Tivoli Audio entered the networked-audio age with the launch of its first two network connected radios, both of which stream Internet radio via built-in Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet without the use of a networked PC.
The NetWorks tabletop radio with furniture-grade wood cabinet and NetWorksGo Internet travel clock radio are also the company's first radios to:
stream music from a network connected PC, thanks to the use of universal plug-and-play technology;
play music from a connected USB drive or USB-equipped MP3 player; and
be user-upgradeable to add functions, thanks to Internet downloads direct to the radios.
The devices also incorporate a terrestrial-FM tuner but not AM because AM is not supported by any of the Internet Radio IC modules in the marketplace, said Peter Skiera, senior product manager.
Both models decode MP3-, WMA- and Real-format streams from Web-only stations as well as the Web streams of AM and FM stations, including many FM stations' multicast channels. They don't play protected music files or play music from subscription streaming sites although upgrades could be offered later.
The radios will be available in late fall in retail stores as well as direct to consumers via Tivoli's toll-free number at (877) 297-9479 or via Tivoli's Web site. Pricing hasn't been set.
"In keeping with Tivoli Audio's design philosophy," said Tivoli chairman and CEO Tom DeVesto, consumers "just connect it to the Internet and start listening. You don't have to be a computer expert or even need a computer to operate it."
Via a networked broadband modem, the radios access AM/FM stations streamed over the Internet as well as thousands of free Web-radio stations worldwide, the company said. They search for stations by country, genre or call letters. Sites can also be stored in presets. To deliver Web-radio access to the devices, Tivoli uses an aggregator, whose site is contacted whenever one of the radios is turned on. Once the site is contacted, the radio accesses the site's menu to link to different music sites.
The NetWorks table radio is a mono unit with optional stereo speaker. Additional features include digital clock, dual independent alarms with sleep timer and snooze function, compact remote control, four-line back-lit display with 16 characters per line, and RDS (Radio Data System) for analog FM over-the-air broadcasts.
The table radio also features a 3-inch magnetically shielded, full-range driver. A right-channel output is designed for use with the optional matching stereo speaker. It includes Ethernet port and USB input as well as stereo headphone, record and subwoofer outputs. An auxiliary input is available for connecting an iPod or other audio device. A mixing input can be used for use with a PC.
The NetWorksGo travel clock radio operates on batteries or AC and is sized to fit into suitcases and briefcases at 6.13 inches by 7.31 inches by 2.69 inches. The radio features digital clock; built-in alarm with sleep timer; and 2.5-inch magnetically shielded, full-range driver. It features an Ethernet port, USB input, auxiliary input for an iPod or other audio device, as well as an output for stereo headphones.
NetWorksGo comes with AC power adapter but also runs on six C-size batteries or a 12-volt power source. It also comes with a built-in charger for use with NiMH or NiCAD batteries, which aren't included. A rear keyhole cut-out allows for wall mounting.
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