What is WiFi Internet Radio?
Radio stations have broadcast online for many years now. Most FM and digital stations are available online, as are thousands of internet-only stations covering a huge variety of genres and styles. Originally, to listen to a station online you would need to visit its website and listen through your PC or laptop. However, internet radios have changed all this and made online radio much easier and more enjoyable.
An Internet Radio is a physical unit which looks a lot like a standard radio – A box with buttons and speakers (although more elaborate designs are also available!) To use it, all you need is an internet connection. Most Internet Radios are designed to use your WiFi (wireless internet) connection, although if you have a router you can often connect to this using a cable.
Setting up your internet radio is incredibly easy. Typically, all you need to do is switch it on, find your WiFi connection from a list on-screen, enter some basic security details (such as the WPA key) and then start listening.
Thousands of radio stations are available online. Along with existing FM and digital stations who also broadcast online, many stations broadcast solely over the internet. Whatever your interests, there’s a good chance you’ll find a station online that’s perfect for you. Every style of music is covered, from jazz to ambient, folk to blues. There’s a world of speech radio to discover too, from audio books to news from around the world.
Should I Buy a WiFi Internet Radio?
WiFi Internet Radios are great for people who have a broad range of interests, or who love exploring. You’ll never be stuck for something to listen to with an internet radio, and you’re bound to discover something you like every time. If you’ve ever scanned through the limited range of FM stations and found nothing to inerest you, internet radio is the perfect choice. You could be listening to a French college station one minute, and salsa the next!
There’s no need for any technical expertise either – Internet radios are extremely user-friendly. You can usually navigate the thousands of stations through a simple menu, selecting by location or genre.
Most importantly of all, if you’re thinking of choosing either a DAB or internet radio, remember that most internet radios also include a DAB tuner (and often an FM tuner too). This means you don’t need to choose between one or the other – With an internet radio, both devices are included in one unit.
- Thousands of stations are available, so you’re bound to find something to interest you. You’ll never get bored with the same small selection of stations.
- Finding a station you’ll love is much easier via an Internet Radio, as it will most likely hold a huge list of stations organised by country and genre, as well as allowing you to store your favourites as presets for easy selection.
- They require no computer knowledge to use – If you can press buttons and pick your favourite types of music, you can use an Internet Radio!
- Prices are coming down, and more and more shops and websites are beginning to offer good deals.
- Internet Radios can boast incredible sound quality. Even a small unit like the Roberts Stream 83i provides an impressive room-filling sound that you wouldn’t expect from a single radio.
- Many Internet radios incorporate FM and DAB radios, and can also play music from your PC or laptop, so there’s no need to buy separate appliances.
- If your internet service provider imposes a monthly bandwidth (i.e. internet usage) limit, bear in mind that a WiFi internet radio will be using this bandwidth too. Listening to a good-quality stream will use just under 60Mb per hour, so if you have a particularly low monthly bandwidth then you should consider this before deciding to buy.
- Although they don’t suffer the same interference as FM and DAB radios, your listening can be interrupted by occasional breaks as the connection ‘buffers’ (catches up). This depends upon the reliability of your ISP.
If you’re thinking of buying, take a look at the best WiFi Internet Radios.