This review appears in the May issue of PC Advisor, on sale now.

Forget FM and even DAB (Digital Audio Broadcast); internet radio is the future. More than 10,000 radio stations around the world broadcast using the web – that's most big FM stations and pretty much all DAB ones. AE's WiFi Internet Radio is an ingenious way to board the bandwagon and is almost as easy to use as an ordinary radio.

You'll need a wireless broadband connection. If your network isn't protected with a password, the radio will work instantly. If there is a password you need to configure it, which is a little fiddly because there are only 10 buttons and a dial. Navigating 10,000 radio stations is not an easy task, but the AE does a reasonable job considering its meagre allowance of controls. Most of the navigation is done via the dial and the select button.

Turn the dial to select stations, then select either Location or Genre. If you choose Location you are given a selection of continents, then countries. Once you get to country level it becomes a list, which is fine if you are looking for a station in New Zealand; there are six to choose from. The UK has 375, which is a little more difficult to handle. Fortunately you can assign stations to the preset buttons. Otherwise the system would be too ungainly to be useful.

The AE's sound quality is generally good, although it is dependent on the bitrate of the streaming audio available. The radio can play MP3, Real and Windows Media feeds without any special configuration. With a good feed – and most of them are – the audio quality is really very good indeed.

It is a mono speaker, but most feeds are mono anyway.

AE WiFi Internet Radio: Specs

  • Supports Real Audio, MP3 and Windows Media streams
  • 802.11b/g
  • 128bit WEP security
  • uses Linux OS Kernel
  • 125x125x180mm
  • 950g
  • Supports Real Audio, MP3 and Windows Media streams
  • 802.11b/g
  • 128bit WEP security
  • uses Linux OS Kernel
  • 125x125x180mm
  • 950g

OUR VERDICT

Despite the shortcomings of the media player function – the AE doesn't use the UPnP AV standard, so working with iTunes can be a hassle – this is an amazing piece of equipment. If you have a wireless broadband connection, listening to any internet radio station is simple. Sure, you could listen on your PC, but that doesn't sit in the kitchen. The price, admittedly, is bit of a hurdle – at £199 the AE WiFi Internet Radio is more expensive than a DAB radio – but the number of available stations is hard to beat.

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