It is very uncommon for our site to feature a review of audio hardware but there is a new product that has come to my attention which has blown me away. It is a major step forward in the way we consume music in our daily lives, reminding me of the impact Sony's walkman had back in the 80ies. I am talking about Roku's SoundBridge Radio, a Wi-Fi music system in the shape of a normal tabletop FM radio. All you need is a highspeed internet access like ADSL or cable modem and some kind of wireless router (in my case an Apple airport network) and you are all set to receive thousands of Internet radio stations anywhere in your house. Basically you don't need a computer (but it helps to make a few settings over the network or to stream music from your own collection). Additionally, the device is able to recieve AM/FM radio and serve as an alarm clock. It has some premium stereo speakers and a built in subwoofer for great sound and a remote control for your convenience.
With the recently launched SmoothVibes radio channel on the Internet, such devices are instrumental in helping this mode of radio broadcasting to reach a wider audience. Listening to music on the computer has been not as easy to achieve as one would want. You had to set up software, enter addresses and hook up external speakers to your computer. With Roku SoundBridge Radio and the menu guided setup, this has become a breeze which should help the Internet radio stations to become accessible to more listeners. You are allowed to program 18 stations directly into the device; if you need more presets you can solve this problem with a playlist which is stored on your computer (for instance in iTunes).
So the Roku SoundBridge Radio along with the SmoothVibes radio channel is the perfect companion for your life. I am entirely happy with it and you should be, too!Posted by Peter Böhi at July 22, 2006 5:42 PM