If I buy a WiFi radio, can I only pick up internet stations? Will I have to give up my favourite FM stations?
This is the main concern of people thinking of buying a WiFi radio – That they’ll have to make the switch from the FM stations they know and love, over to the online world of international stations and web shows. The good news, though, is that the majority of FM radio stations also broadcast online these days. In addition, most WiFi radios also include FM radio tuners, meaning you’ll still be able to get the stations you can receive now – Plus the whole new world of internet stations.
How difficult are WiFi internet radios to set up?
Not at all! Set-up is made as straightforward as possible, with most models offering simple onscreen instructions which you simply need to follow through once, when you switch on for the first time. Most likely, all you’ll need to do is select the WiFi hotspot you want to use, and enter the secure code needed to access it (if required). After that, the radio will connect automatically when you switch on.
If there are thousands of stations available, how do I find the ones I like?
WiFi internet radios are designed to cope with the masses of stations which are out there. Most models organise stations by easy-to-navigate categories, such as Location (where you select stations by country and region) and Genre (the general style of station, for example Pop, Talk Radio or World Music). You can also save your favourite stations as presets, so you won’t need to go hunting for the same stations each time you switch on.
Does my PC need to be switched on for the WiFi internet radio to work?
No – Your WiFi internet radio works independently of your PC, and you can listen to stations whether the PC is on or not. In fact, believe it or not, you don’t even need a PC to use a WiFi internet radio! The radio simply needs to connect to a convenient WiFi hotspot. If you have wireless internet access in your home, you’ll probably use this same WiFi for an internet radio. Alternatively, the radio can connect to any available WiFi hotspot to which you have access. Some radios even have the option to add a rechargeable battery, meaning you can take it out and hook up to any WiFi hotspot on the move.
Will a WiFi radio use up my bandwidth allowance?
This is a common concern of many people whose broadband package includes a monthly usage limit. Whilst a WiFi internet radio will use a portion of this allowance, it shouldn’t eat up too much bandwidth. Listening to a standard online radio station for one hour uses around 23Mb – About the same as if you were watching YouTube videos for the same period. Listening to two hours of internet radio per day would therefore mean a monthly bandwidth usage of 1.4Gb. As long as your broadband package includes at least 2Gb of bandwidth per month, internet radio won’t drain your allowance.
I’d like a WiFi internet radio, but won’t it be yet another gadget cluttering up my house?
It does seem that another must-have gadget comes out every year, and that as soon as you buy one, it gets overtaken by another even-more-essential gizmo. But one great thing about WiFi internet radios is that they often incorporate several gadgets in one. Find the right model and you can use it as an FM radio, DAB radio, MP3 player, iPod dock and even a sound system to remotely play out tracks from your PC and Last.fm account. That should save you a lot of valuable gadget space!