Gadget Friday: Tivoli NetWorks Radio

by

Scott McGrew:
Scott McGrewTivoli NetWorks Radio: Nice but expensive
Price: Starting at $599
Company website: http://www.tivoliaudio.com/home.php?cat=271

The NetWorks Radio from high end radio maker Tivoli Audio is an FM radio with a neat secret:  it’s also a WiFi device.  Plug it into a power socket, turn it on and it finds your WiFi signal.  Use the included remote to tell the radio your WiFi’s access code (if you have one) and it will stream Internet radio stations from around the world.

There are other devices that do this (for a lot less than the whopping $649 price Tivoli wants), such as Logitech’s Squeezebox.  However, the Tivoli looks much nicer than the Squeezebox, and eschews the “high tech” factor:  it doesn’t look or act high tech.

Instead, you treat it much like a regular radio, “tuning” it to various radio stations that stream over the Internet like the BBC, the excellent WGBH in Boston, and hundreds of others.  While you can’t tune into any station, if the one you like is missing from the comprehensive list, you just send Tivoli an e-mail and they’ll add it.

I like the device because it is not intimidating.  I could, for instance, set it up for my non-techy parents and just tell them it’s a very good radio – they would never have to know, or be intimidated by the knowledge, that it’s really an Internet WiFi device.

Complaints: There’s a cheesy plastic volume knob on the top – I would have liked to have seen a more obvious power/volume knob.  Maybe even a “tuning” knob where a non-techy sort of person could spin from station to station without using the remote.  And the price is ridiculous.

Praises:  The remote has “quick tune” keys that you can set as easily as a car radio.  The styling means it would look just fine in an upscale living room.  A neat server trick (transparent to the user) adds podcasts on demand.   Audio quality is excellent.

Scott McGrew
NBC Bay Area Business & Tech Reporter

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