‘Help’! My internet radio doesn’t work anymore.
Jonathan Smith investigates the pitfalls of internet radio.
“Nation shall speak peace unto Nation”, the BBC motto, and with the coming of the Internet the possibility receiving radio station content from around the world, it was the answer to a prayer. No longer would I be dependent on short wave radio transmissions or constrained domestic VHF/DAB services, the world was my oyster, or so it seemed.
It was all going so well. I had bought a Tangent Audio radio, a superb example of a versatile audio product. It sounded so clear. It had a VHF section, but its best feature was the ability to browse through 16000 radio stations, by genre and country, using the internet. The stations could be heard interference free and in consistent quality. My naïve assumption; it was a, stand alone, world radio receiver.
What I had failed to appreciate was that on the front of my set was the word RECIVA. This is the module in the radio that quizzes a database somewhere on the internet. It was, essentially, a list of all the stations in the world and their internet addresses. The remote database maintained, and updated the links to the radio stations and without this information the radio would not function in the Internet mode. Suddenly last April the RECIVA facility was withdrawn.
Tangent Audio had bought this internet module from a third party called “RECIVA”. This company had been taken over, and the new company has decided to cease maintaining the “RECIVA” database which are also termed aggregators. Tangent Audio could not do anything about it. The “RECIVA” database was also used by other American radio manufacturers who have also found themselves unable to help their customers. My once, all embracing radio, is now reduced to a VHF service.
Lurking in the background to this problem is the digital music rights issue (DRM). Radio stations pay for transmitting music. In the past this was linked to the estimated coverage provided by their radio transmitter. With internet radio, this restriction disappears, as all stations that stream their audio can be accessed worldwide, through their internet address. The legislators are finally catching up, ending the digital music free for all, of the last twenty years.
I still like the idea of an internet radio so I decided to investigate two British brands.
Roberts radio confirmed they used the ‘Frontier’ aggregator and were confident of the future with their Frontier partners who also supply some of the parts for the Roberts internet radio.
Pure posted statement on their website saying some of their older models could have their internet service extended by another year, and current Pure internet radios would continue to receive internet stations.
An alternative solution to a dedicated radio is to use a computer tablet to search using the “TuneIn Radio” app. The BBC are also using the mysterious “BBC Sounds” app to provide reliable links. This does not get you the great audio quality in the first instance, as tablets are restricted by their size. The next solution is to link your computer tablet or smart phone to a Bluetooth speaker. I think I will have to get onto Ken Bruce’s show and play Pop Master!
If you wish to delve deeper into world of internet radios, check out this link. https://swling.com/blog/2016/07/wi-fi-radio-primer-part-1-radio-station-aggregators-and-altern