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The Sonicbox
(updated 6/15/00)

Remote Control for the RealPlayer on your PC


Two companies in Silicon Valley have come up with novel means for tuning in and listening to Internet radio broadcasts in the home.

One of these startup's, Sonicbox, Inc., of Mountain View, CA employs an innovative way of bringing the audio to your ears via their iM Remote Tuner.

Another, yet different approach is becoming available in late June from Kerbango, who has unveiled a standalone Internet radio that looks like an updated version of a stylish Forties' retro radio.

The imBand Remote Tuner™
The Sonicbox comes as a kit:

a base-unit that connects to your PC via a USB port

 

The SonicBox iM Remote Tuner™
(see a bigger image)

 
 The Sonicbox Specs


Uses your PC as a vehicle to
transmit streaming audio received
from the Internet via modem, DSL,
or cable.
An always-on connection to the
net is prefered, to eliminate audio
play interuptions.


Hardware:
Base Station - connected to your
PC via audio and USB cable set.

Receiver - connected to your
stereo/entertainment system.

iMRemote Tuner (shown above).
Add headphones and you can
listen to Web audio "anywhere".
   Dimensions:
   8.24" x 3.5" x 1.5" (W x H x D)

  
Availability:
Mid 2000

 Price: about $75 for all pieces?!

  Comments:
  - great for out-of-the-area
    stations specially from abroad
  - needs your PC and your FM
    radio as a "receiver"

and transmits the Web audio over 900MHz frequency to a credit card sized receiver connected to your stereo system; and a remote, wireless tuner control unit that resembles an ultra-hip handheld [transistor] radio.

The portable remote tuner device transmits commands back to the PC-resident base-unit, which allows the listeners to select and dial in hundreds (800 so far compiled on Sonicbox' web site) of Internet radio stations.

The end result is that your existing home FM receivers are converted into recipients of Internet broadcasts, so that you can listen to a wide range of radio programming from down the street, across the nation, or around the world.

In addition to tuning in live radio broadcast streamed over the Internet, the remote tuner can access digital (MP3) music files that have been downloaded to your PC and play these, as well, over home FM receivers. Other intriguing features found with the Sonicbox package are the ability of users to purchase CD's with the push of a button on the remote tuner, along with directly requesting further information on products marketed as part of the Internet radio broadcast.

However, a standard telephone modem connection will, in many situations, not support the audio stream required for Web radio broadcasts. So a high-speed Internet connection such as a T1, DSL, or cable modem hookup is more adequate if not essential.

Sonicbox is presently running a trial deployment of the imBand Remote Tuner package. For more information, visit the SonicBox site at www.sonicbox.com.

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Last updated:16-Jun-2000

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