Wi-Fi radios are among my new favorite toys and Internet radio among my favorite interests. While others may like them primarily for their ability to receive interference free local AM stations long since given up, I like them for different reasons.
Sure, I like to listen to local AM and FM stations from just about any city I’ve visited while I am back at home. Most users may buy these for their ability to wired or wirelessly connect to and stream music from computers on the home network. My favorite use is one of nostalgia, in addition to interference-free AM radio listening. I’ve fallen for old time radio, the way it was before I was born and when I was a wee lad in the fifties and sixties, before radio as it was then was gone for good, as late as 1982 when the CBS Radio Mystery Theater left the air. Relive those golden days of radio with Wi-Fi radios.
My favorite Wi-Fi radios are the Squeezebox models from Logitech, starting at about $150 online (see Amazon link below). WOW! What a find this has been. When I travel by car to lodging that has in-room Internet over Ethernet or wirelessly, I often take one with me and use it in my room. It’s everything just as it is at home, but also while I am away. Please click this LINK to read my review of this now-discontinued Squeezebox Boom model just to whet your appetite. This is the finest, most thoughtfully and intelligently designed radio ever produced, though not in their catalog any longer! I am sure it was a victim of the expense and technology. It is not capable of keeping up with the newer Internet formats to which many radio stations are converting. It’s all too complicated to go into here and most boring other than for geeks. Regardless, I stand firmly behind this statement citing is as the best ever.
While the Wi-Fi radio concept may seem difficult to understand, Wi-Fi radios can quickly become indispensable to the user. Logitech models are relatively easy to configure using their online setup that sends all settings to the radio. The currently available Logitech Squeezebox Radio (Read my review), a smaller version of the Boom model, and with almost all the features of the Boom, along with a smaller price, too, of only $150 online! Squeezebox Radio, as you will read from my review has a color screen and some features not on the more expensive Boom model. Rounding out their Squeezebox lineup is the Squeezebox Touch, $299 (Less online, of course.) This minimalist styled device sits quietly anywhere, connected to external speakers, and has all the functionality of its brothers (or is it sisters?) under the skin that have built-in speakers. The Touch also has high quality digital audio out, for connection to your high-end audio system. Functionally is just about the same as the others, too, though it comes with a more comprehensive remote befitting its purpose to control the unit from relatively afar. When using the remote, the display shows larger characters more easily seen from a distance. The Logitech duo of Squeezebox Radio and Squeezebox Touch is the best Wi-Fi radio lineup in the world. I am disappointed in other vendors’ products in this category. Don’t bother with them as those others do so much less, operate with greater difficulty and are simply inferior. The ONLY exception is as noted, the CC Wi-Fi Radio is a fine “starter” radio in this category, with expanded capability that also includes connection to Pandora, Aupeo and Live365 feeds. This is a significant content improvement and at only $139.95, it is worth the money. Best prices for ALL Squeezebox radios appear to be through Amazon! Remember, accept no substitute for these Logitech models, with the exception of the CC WiFi Internet Radio from C. Crane Co.
New to the game are Internet radio capabilities included in smart phones. Check yours to see if there’s an app for that. Be sure to ONLY use this capability when on Wi-Fi to avoid the expense of using your data plan. On my iPhone, I have apps called ootunes, Live365, I Heart Radio, Pandora, Rhapsody, and MP3 Tunes, DAR.FM and others, both free and paid. While away from home or at home, I can “tune in” home stations as well as stations from just about any city in the US or the world, plus all my favorite Old Time Radio content available only through Internet Radios as above and through smart phones. I can be anywhere (with Wi-Fi) and listen as if I am home to local and Internet-based Old Time Radio. To me, this is living, bringing a bit of home with me wherever I travel!