Spring Audio Capitalizing on the Web
Its Internet Radio tuning service is managed through a Bose online database that is updated in coordination with a company called VTune and is streamed using RealPlayer. The software comes preset with 700 known Web-based stations, but the company says users can add channels to the online database which is updated, ac-cording to Bose, frequently. All of the de-compression for the radio occurs on the PC itself, including MP3 decoding of files stored on the PC hard drive. The Bose software en-coder defaults to a compression rate of 192kbps, but can be raised or lowered if the user chooses to do so. Although the industry standard is often 128, Bose engineers, said Hanoz Gandhi, director of Bose.com, felt that 192 was the "sweet spot" for encoding MP3s without compromising too greatly on audio quality. It encodes in MP3, but can playback WMA, AAC, AVI, WAV and MP2 audio files.
For a retail price of $449, the radio ships with a 15-foot serial cable, while a 50-foot cable is sold optionally. It is available as of May 10th through Bose stores and its online direct sales channel. It will not be offered to retailers. Gandhi said that, for now, the Wave/PC system would be the only convergence device the company will be marketing.
Philips is getting ready to release its latest contribution to the convergence PC/Audio trend, the FW-i1000. Originally shown at January's CES, this boom-box style mini-system features the ability to tune Internet radio stations without the need to connect to a PC. An Ethernet jack in the back connects the device directly to a broadband Internet connection. Using a tuning service provided by iM Networks, Philips' partner company, the user can select stations by genre, language or region. Station presets can also be programmed. Additionally, the shelf system features a 3-CD changer capable of playing back MP3 files burned to CD-R or CD-RW discs.