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Kerbango Logo Internet Radio

Posted: January 2000 - Updated 4/12/01    

500 Channels - and more...
It took a millenium change to make it a reality. 5000 channels is not the limit!

Technology has a funny way, sometimes, of reinventing some of the great pioneering products of human ingenuity. At the Demo 2000 Technology Conference in Indian Wells, California, just such a product was unveiled which will radically change how people think of radio.

Kerbango Radio

Developed by a Silicon Valley start-up (where else!) founded by former executives from Apple Computer and Power Computing Corporation, the Kerbango Internet Radio is the first true, standalone radio that allows you to listen to audio streams being broadcast through the Internet.

In other words, the Kerbango radio allows you to "tune in" broadcasts ranging from those originating from local radio stations, to those being broadcast from across the country, and across the oceans to international programs in foreign languages.

The setup is relatively simple: all one needs to do is connect the "retro box", radio that is, to a standard dial-up, cable modem, DSL, or network.

Press the "ON" button, and the radio automatically connects to the Internet and displays available stations on a medium sized LCD display by category. These include: rock & roll, classical, talk radio, country & western, jazz, and about a dozen more.

By using the tuning knob on the face of the radio, you select the desired category and then individual stations or streams will be displayed to you. Press "SELECT" and you have the desired stream automatically being broadcasted to and played over the radio.

Tune In
Using an embedded version of the RealNetworks® RealPlayer® G2, the Kerbango radio tuner always stays up to date with the latest stations available over the Internet through an extensive database, termed the "Kerbango Tuning Service", which stores information about all stations which the device finds on the Internet. Each audio stream is screened to ensure acceptable broadcast quality. Once added to the Kerbango station library, special automated programs, called "StreamBots", continuously check the station's transmission quality and reliability to confirm suitability.

If you have an always-on connection provided by a cable-modem, DSL or an ISDN line, then the radio can be left connected to the Internet and is "radio ready" all the time. An additional feature of the Kerbango product that will excite the Gen "Y" crowd is the ability to play back stored MP3 files from a computer when both are on the same Local Area Network (LAN). Via the LCD display you can select a local directory on the computer's hard drive that contains MP3 files, so that you can play the files by name, date, or in a random play option.

Looking like a stylish, retro 'Fifties' radio with big knobs and push buttons, the Kerbango design supports modem and Ethernet, and USB connections. The USB port can be used to connect other forms of networking or storage devices, such as a USB hard drive or a portable MP3 digital audio player (sorry, no copying from the radio to the MP3 possible.)

Info World
With a push of a button you can find out more about the current song playing and even order the related CD. (This service will be available for some channels.)

Digital World

To get an idea what your "reception" of national and worldwide radio stations through your net connection could be, go to the Kerbango Web site, enter your favorite station in the Search Field, and listen via any of the available audio players available for your PC or Mac. We found in a random search more than 1260 stations!! Kerbango's Tuning Service tracks over 4600 channels total as of this time - and the number is steadily growing.

Through the Air  -  The Analog World
However, a built-in AM/FM tuner lets you listen to local stations (in case you are off-line), and makes the Kerbango a well-rounded product (not just from it's physical appearance.)

It has two full-range speaker built-in (right for its size) and line outputs to connect to your larger audio system and, as with most radios, it incorporates clock radio functions and a headphone jack for private listening.

Specifications:

  • Plays streaming audio from the Internet via modem, DSL, cable.
  •  An always-on connection is prefered.
  •  Large and growing database of stations (>4800.)
  •  LCD display as control panel and user interface.
  •  Modem, Network, and USB (2) connectors.
  •  Two, 2 watts speakers.
  •  Headphone and audio connector.

  Dimensions:
   10.5" x 8.0" x 7.5" (W x H x D)

  Powered by:
  Linux™ and an external power supply for 110-240, 50/60Hz

  Availability: June 2000
                now in February 2001... still waiting
         ...now in March 2001 - - - - 3COM, the company that bought young Kerbango decided not to release the product. It became a victim of the dotcom bust.

  Price: just under $300

  Comments:
  - great for out-of-the-area stations specially from abroad
  - receives local AM/FM stations through the air

 

Send us e-mail about what you think about this review. Was this review useful for you?

See the Kerbango listing on Amazon.com.

As late as September 2000 3Com was demonstrating the Kerbango and there might even be remnants of the Kerbango Tuning Service code still in use in Apple's iTunes Internet Radio section.






The best deals on CD alarm clock radio for your music-listening needs are available online.



After 3COM bought Kerbango in late 2000, it killed it for cost cutting reasons - becoming a victim of the Dotcom bust.


 


 

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