Grace Sharpens Internet-Radio Focus

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San Diego -

Grace Digital

, which claims to offer the widest selection of home and portable Internet-radio products on the market, has further expanded its selection with its first component-style Internet radio tuner and first portable AC/DC model.


The company lists 10 models on its website, including tabletop radios with built-in speakers and amps. All models also stream music from a networked PC. The

Next year, the company plans its first under-cabinet models for kitchens, first ruggedized model for garages and outdoor use, and first retro-style model, sales executive VP Rich Tosi told TWICE.

The company's goal is to offer an Internet radio "in whatever form factor that radio takes today," Tosi said. He called Internet radio "the biggest opportunity for us in the long term and where we're focusing R&D." Grace sees the potential to replace the five to seven radios in typical households with Internet radios.

The company, founded in 2007, also offers outdoor wireless speakers, speaker-equipped protective cases for MP3 players, and what Tosi called archiving products, which include USB turntables and cassette decks that convert physical media to MP3s for PC storage. Other archiving products include nostalgia-style tabletop USB radio/turntable/cassette decks with MP3 conversion and nostalgia-style tabletop radio/turntables with built-in CD recorders.

"We believe the Internet radio business will be a mass product in the next three to five years, and we want to plant the flag in the ground now so that when Internet radio goes beyond the early adopter stage, we'll be the clear leader," Tosi said.

About 80 million people already listen on a daily basis to Internet radio and podcasts, and they're learning they don't have to be tied to a PC to hear Internet radio stations and services, in part because of the growing awareness of Internet-connected TVs, Tosi noted.

For these consumers, Grace just launched its first component-style Internet-radio tuner, the $219.99 GDI-IRDT200 tuner Wi-Fi radio and media player. It incorporates FM tuner, Ethernet port, and built-in 802.11b/g Wi-Fi. It's available on Grace's website, and the company plans to bring it to online and brick-and-mortar retailers.

Like all of Grace's Internet radios, the component incorporates Reciva's Internet-radio chip to access more than 17,000 stations. Also like the others, it accesses a variety of Internet music services, including Pandora Radio, NPR on-demand, iheartradio, CBS Radio, Sirius Internet radio, Live365 and MP3tunes.

The tuner features two-line backlit display, external Wi-Fi antenna, coaxial and optical digital outputs, USB Host capability to play music stored on MP3 players, memory-card slot to play music stored on an SD card, and full-function remote.

The tuner also offers two new services that also became available recently on the company's other radios. The first is access to 150 NOAA weather stations. The second is a MyLocation service that recognizes a radio's IP address, enabling it to automatically capture the URLs of 50 local AM/FM stations that broadcast over the Internet.

 The tuner and other Grace Internet radios can also be controlled from a free iPhone/iPod Touch app.

Another new product is the recently launched $169 Allegro AC/DC portable, the company's first such model. The mono model features Wi-Fi b/g, 10 station presets, access to 100 saved favorites, alarm clock functions, 8-watt Class D amp, and display of song metadata. It runs via AC adapter, six AA alkaline batteries or six AA NiMH rechargeable batteries, which can be recharged when in the radio.

Grace's new $124 tabletop Solo is a tuner connects to existing audio systems via stereo RCA jacks. It features Wi-Fi b/g, alarm-clock functions, full-functions emote, storage of up to 110 favorite stations, and four-line LCD display.

 The company sells its Internet radios on its website and through such retailers as Best Buy, Fry's, J&R, P.C. Richard, Sears and Ultimate Electronics.

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