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Internet Clock Radio Unveiled

Palo Alto, Calif. — Roku, the maker of networked media and music players, has developed the first clock radio that wakes consumers up by playing Internet radio stations and networked-PC music files.

The $349-suggested SoundBridge Radio, due in stores in November, is the company’s first networked player with built-in amplification, speakers, AM/FM tuner, memory card slot (for SD/MMC cards) and alarm clock, said founder/CEO Anthony Wood. It features Ethernet port and built-in wireless 802.11b to stream radio stations through a networked broadband modems and stream music files residing on a networked PC. A 16MB RAM buffer eliminates dropouts, the company said.

The radio is preloaded with 50 WMA and MP3 Internet-station URLs, 18 of which are preloaded into presets. Consumers can use their PC to expand the device’s Internet-station selection with the URL of any MP3 or WMA station that they want. The radio is also compatible with subscription streaming services.

When networked to a PC, the device streams the PC-based music files in the MP3, protected and unprotected WMA, unprotected AAC, WAV and AIFF formats. PC-based songs can be selected by title, artist, genre or playlist. The radio also streams subscription-based, or “rented,” music downloads.

In each house, multiple SoundBridge Radios can be networked to simultaneously stream a different Internet station or PC-based music file, Wood said. If the radios are networked by wired Ethernet, the number of simultaneous Internet-radio streams is limited only by the bandwidth limits of a home’s broadband service. If a wireless 802.11b connection is used, the limit is based on 802.11b’s bandwidth limit. Internet stations usually max out at 64kbps, Wood said.

Multiple PC-based files can be streamed up to the limit of the PC’s music-management application. The radio is compatible with the MusicMatch and iTunes apps, the latter limiting PC-based streams to five at a time, Wood said.

On the audio side, the radio features 60-watt RMS Class D amplifier, two satellite speakers and a ported woofer. The speaker complement was designed by a/d/s/ founder Godehard Guenther.

Other features include atomic clock, IR remote and light-sensing vacuum-fluorescent display.