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Portable MP3 Player Sends Music Wirelessly To Radios

Digital Innovations, developer of Skip Doctor disc-scratch-repair products, has begun offering its first electronics products — a pair of headphone MP3 player/recorders that transmit music wirelessly to nearby FM radios for playback through home and car audio systems.

The Neuros-branded devices come in a 20GB HDD version and a 128MB flash-memory version, both available at at $399 and $229, respectively. J&R also offers the device, and CompUSA and others will join in the fall, a Neuros spokesman said. Both devices incorporate flash memory or HDD in a swappable clip-on module.

The wireless feature, dubbed MyFi, works like this: a built-in FM transmitter in each device scans for and locks onto an unused FM channel. The device then displays the unused frequency on its LCD screen so a user can tune a nearby home or car radio to that frequency.

The devices also feature FM radio, built-in microphone, and ability to encode in MP3 format from a line input, built-in radio or built-in microphone.

Both devices feature MP3 encoder/decoder, but the company will offer downloadable upgrades for the Windows Media Audio (WMA) codec and the Linux-based Ogg Vorbis codec.

An automatic song-identification system, dubbed HiSi (for Hear It, Save It) lets users record a 30-second sample of a song recorded from the internal FM radio, transfer it to PC, and with Neuros-provided software, log onto a Web site to identify the song via its waveform. The waveform database currently identifies 26,000 songs, but the company’s goal is to expand that number to 200,000 by spring.

For now, consumers can’t use the device to identify a song recorded through the device’s microphone from a home or car radio, but the company plans to add that capability in a few months.

The 128MB model weighs 5.8 ounces, including rechargeable NiMH batteries providing 10 hours of use. The 9.4-ounce HDD model’s lithium-ion batteries also deliver 10 hours of use.

Wall and car power adapters are included.