Wednesday, September 03, 2008

BBC socialises radio listening

Back in May BBC showed off Olinda - a quirky internet radio prototype that tells your friends what you are listening to and allows you to tune in to what they are enjoying. People have been using Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other sites to post updates to tell their friends what they are doing. shows what music people are listening to - so why not have something to tell people what radio programmes they are listening to now?
Well - I'm not sure that it is very interesting! But then I wasn't convinced by the facility in Facebook etc. Knowing that Harry has missed the bus may well be important to his employer who was expecting in on time for once or his girlfriend who faces missing the start of the film again but is it really more than a gimmick? If Twitter cannot sustain the cost of sending SMS in Europe will users pay for it?

However, I can see that aggregated information about listening habits could be useful, especially to advertisers, commissioning editors or public service broadcasters wanting their charter renewed - but I doubt that many people will switch over to listen to a programme that they had forgotten about because some of their friends are.

But - now with RadioPOP going live - - it does mean that there will be data collected and published in full colour.

Right now it is not directly linked to the popular BBC iPlayer - and only provides live streaming (not Listen Again) but it will be interesting to see how much use it gets.

At least two suppliers of the technology underlying many internet radios are based in the UK - and provide access to the BBC live and Listen Again programming. If they add support for this as well then it will give it an extra boost. However, once it gets into BBC iPlayer then the figures really will make interesting reading.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

New internet hi-fi devices - Pure and Intempo

- Pure and Intempo with new models

All sorts of product information comes out around the time of IFA in Berlin.
The official announcement of the Squeezebox Boom that I mentioned in the previous blog entry was timed to coincide with IFA opening - and indeed shipping started on the same day.
Other products that were announced around the same time include the Intempo RFI-W and the Pure Evoke Flow.

They are both priced around the same level at the Squeezebox Boom but have a few immediately obvious differences. For example - both Pure and Intempo include regular FM radio.

Pure also include DAB (with promise of availability of future firmware upgrade to DAB+). Pure Evoke Flow
The Pure device has a single speaker and, like others in the Evoke range, can have an extra speaker added at additional cost. Another costed option is a ChargePak (rechargeable battery to you and me).
It will be interesting to see where their internet radio database comes from. The front-end to it is at but at the time of writing this it is not open. My guess is that the data comes from vTuner but I am less confident about the portal itself. Logic says that it would be a varient on that offered by Frontier-Silicon given the relationships between Pure, their parent, Imagination Technologies and Frontier-Silicon. But perhaps Pure have done their own to differentiate themselves from other brands using FS.

Intempo include an iPod dock and ability to play from SD memory card and USB disk.
Intempor RDI-W
Again it will be interesting, to me at least, to see where they are sourcing their internet radio technology from. They used Reciva for their first model, the GX-01, but a few of the early suppliers of badged internet radios are trying things with more than one manufacturer. It is due out at the end of September 2008

Logitech have put a lot of effort into the audio design of their new Squeezebox.
Logitech Squeezebox Boom

On announcement they published this great document. It contains a lot of technical detail, written in a very easy to read way - Logitech Squeezebox Boom Audio Design White Paper (PDF)
As usual, senior staff from Logitech have been active within the SlimDevices forum to answer questions about the new system. There was a private beta program running since April 2008 with some of the most active community members getting the chance to try things out and give feedback. I think that this approach is one of the big reasons why SlimDevices has both great products and passionate supporters.

It is going to be interesting to see if Logitech can steal a march on the competition by being available a full month earlier.
Will people go for what looks like more ways to listen from Pure and Intempo?
Are the audio qualities of the Squeezebox Boom going to be important?
Will the ability of the Pace device to run on an optional rechargeable battery make it more attractive to the outdoor types?
Will this new activity spur Roku into kicking new life into Soundbridge Radio?
How about Philips - I should really go and have a look at their new model to see how they have moved on since I last tried one a few years ago.

Or - will people seem them as much of a muchness and buy based on what they can find in the shops and which one has the most appealing looks and/or cheapest price?