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Americans are among the most mobile citizens in the world, so it's likely that you occasionally miss a city you once called home. Or perhaps you now dwell somewhere with a dearth of radio stations that appeal to your tastes. Or maybe you're foreign-born, and you miss the language, news, and music of your home country. Enter the emerging hardware category of subscription-free Internet radio that leverages your home network.
The Infinite Radio (above) from Acoustic Research is a Wi-Fi radio with features found on more expensive Net radios. Its built-in alarm clock lets you wake up to your favorite over-the-air AM or FM station, Internet station, or personal music. You can store six station presets per source. It includes the Slacker Personal Radio feature that lets you create customized music stations using Slacker's signature heart and ban buttons. Also included is Weather Bug, which provides on-demand forecasts and alerts for up to three days at a time. Another cool feature is 512-Megabytes of internal memory that enables you to record Internet or FM radio programs.
The Wolverine WIR900 WorldRadio WiFi/Ethernet Internet Radio (right) is dedicated to streaming more than 15,000 stations from around the globe via the vTuner Web site. You can search stations by country or genre. The radio also enables you to stream music from your Windows Media Player 11 application on a network-attached PC. You can listen using the built-in red-outlined stereo speakers, your own headphones, or by attaching the radio to your stereo system. A remote is included. There are four presets and analog-like volume and tuning dials. Since there is no over-the-air tuner, a local station could only be received if streamed.
The Aluratek AIRMM01F Internet Radio Alarm Clock with built-in Wi-Fi (left) is a clock radio that lets you awake to alarm tones, FM radio, music files on a plugged-in USB flash drive, or Internet radio with two programmable alarms. The integrated vTuner enables you to access more than 11,000 Internet radio stations from some 150 countries. The AIRMM01F can play MP3, WMA, and WAV files. It can also stream music stored on a networked computer. A remote control is included. There's a stereo output for connection to your stereo system, a headphone jack, a USB port, and an FM antenna.
Strip away the speakers and clock radio capabilities from the AIRMM01F, and Aluratek comes up with its WiFi/Wireless Internet Radio, Home Theater Edition. The included stereo cable is for connecting the Wi-Fi audio receiver to your stereo system and your main speakers. The same 128- x 64-pixel back-lit blue and white display lets you search by genre or country. You can save up to 500 stations in a favorites list for faster retrieval. And you can access the music stored on a networked-computer using such audio servers as Windows Media Player 11 or MusicMatch Jukebox.
So there you have a quartet of Internet radios designed to expand your musical tastes beyond what's available locally. And you don't have to sit in front of your computer to enjoy them.