19 September 2012

Wireless Internet radio?

Does anybody reading this blog have experience with a wireless Internet radio? I mean a radio set — un poste de radio — that connects to a wireless router and lets you receive radio broadcasts over the 'net from all around the world.

We have very poor FM radio reception here in Saint-Aignan. I can get France Inter (French public radio) fairly well, and I can sort of get RTL in French (if I get the radio antenna positioned just so). Radio Nostalgie and Chérie FM are hard to get over the air (even in the car), and Chante-France from Paris is not available at all. What I want is a radio that I can listen to in the kitchen and that will receive broadcasts over the 'net from all over France and — why not? — all over the world.

I know such radios exist, at least in Europe, but I don't know which one to try. I don't want to spend a fortune — 100 euros or less, for example. But I want a radio that is fairly easy to use and that has decent sound quality. Two examples of such radios that I can get from amazon.fr are shown in the pictures here. Customer reviews of both are really mixed.

We get radio stations over our satellite TV system, and that's great. But there are a lot of stations out there (in France, I mean) that aren't included in the satellite package — France Bleue Touraine, for example. And besides, there's no easy way to get the satellite signal into the kitchen, as far as I know.

Help, s'il vous plaît. Maybe what I need is a little netbook computer with speakers, but that might take up too much space in our small kitchen.


  1. Ken, Pauline and I will be following the comments with interest. We've just got this laptop back after burning out the power supply by using it continuously as... our internet radio!
    We are looking at one that will pick up wirelessly from the Livebox. We've also been looking at ones that plug into the Hi-Fi and use those speakers and acts as the amplifier [viz: The Yamaha V73 network-enabled RX-V473, £340, or the 7.1-channel RX-V573, £440. but we haven't got room for seven speakers without tripping over the wires!] This is mainly because the old amp is just that and has a bit of trouble from time to time with its knobs! But there is also the Logitech Squeezebox Touch... all you need is a power socket and speakers, access to a computer is not needed, just Wi-Fi. I'll bet Simon has a mine of information on these...

  2. We have had a Logitech Squeezebox in the kitchen for the last couple of years and it's great. It connects to internet radio via our WiFi, it's not too big and the sound quality is good. We're in London and can get radio from around the world - I assume this would be the case in France too.

  3. I have a Logitech Squeezebox as well, and LOVE it. I listen to my local PBS station, a Paris jazz station, and many others, as well as my own music collection stored on my hard drive. The sound quality is very good for a tiny little box, it's easy to set up and operate, and I can pick it up and carry it to anywhere within range of my wifi. I highly recommend it!

  4. I have a Roberts internet radio - Stream 831 - which I bought in John Lewis in London. It works perfectly via my wifi connection. I`m up a mountain in Spain but I get perfect sound quality and reception of any (I imagine!) radio station on the internet. I listen mainly to UK and French stations. I can thoroughly recommend internet radio.


  5. I have a Samsung SII smartphone connected to a Philips dock and that works fine as an internet radio unit. It also plays my music collection. The sound is good. (Not up to Bose standard, but not the same price, either!) Unfortunately, the dock is in the bedroom, not the kitchen. I'm seriously thinking of getting a second docking station, but I'm going to follow your radio progress. Maybe I'll just get a radio.

  6. Does the Logitech Squeezebox have stereo speakers or a single monaural speaker? Does it have a headphone jack for stereo speakers?

    More than 200 euros for such a radio is out of the question for me. It just won't get used that much. I think I might try the little Archos model pictured in my post. Anybody tried it?

  7. Ken: Look here for an independent review...http://www.wired.com/geekmom/2012/08/logitech-touch-review/

    It fits into the hi-fi system or takes stereo speakers [presumably with a built in amp]

  8. There is a Squeezebox Radio too:


    It has a stereo headphone output on the side, so will power a pair of stereo speakers. £114 from Amazon UK and you can pay in Euros for delivery here now, too.

  9. Tim, the Squeezebox is less expensive from amazon.fr. And it would come with a French-plug power supply, not British.

  10. Tim, thanks for the Logitech Squeezebox Touch review. I'll look into that one, definitely.

  11. I have one! My sister gave it to us for a wedding gift! It's a Sangean like this one. But, I know the price is well over what you want to pay. I think ours is from 2007, though, so technology has surely changed by now, to make less expensive models. I love ours! It has built-in stereo speakers. It comes with a link to a website where you can go and make a radio station list from what is available out there. Supposedly, you can also input any other URL of your choice, but I haven't had success getting that to work. In any case, it works off of the WIFI signal in the house. The method for putting in your password is pretty awkward, though, and, again, I'll bet this has changed since 2007. I hope you find one, and enjoy it!

  12. Thanks, Judy. Does the radio let you store your favorite stations as pre-sets? That would be important to me as I probably wouldn't have more than half a dozen stations I would listen to. With the time difference between France and the U.S., I'd probably listen mostly to French radio stations. It's amazing how poor our FM reception is here in the Saint-Aignan area.

  13. If there is a place in your kitchen where you can place a small shelf near an outlet that might work. I have done that with my small kitchen and it worked really well. Especially now with notebooks being so small--and speakers come in all shapes and sizes as well. Just a thought.

  14. I too have a Logitec Squeezebox (Christmas present from BEST friend. It is wonderful and I can only say it is simplu the best. The sound is excellent and it also has a jack socket to connect to speakers - in my case in a nearby room. I can get stations all over the world as well as nationl stations. There are six preset buttons for favourites, and multiple function settings.
    If you want to try another way have you tried this http://www.wunderradio.com/
    Its excellent and all you would have to do is get a pair of speakers in your kitchen with a lead from your computer, Oh, its free too. Good Luck.


  15. How about something like an ipod touch with a little dock? Can you get radio stations via iTunes? I don't know anything about this, but Lewis thought of it off of the top of his head.

    We are living in high tech times!

  16. Thanks Angiemanzie. A netbook might make for a good internet radio, with the benefit that it would be a good machine to travel with too.

    Blathnaid, thanks. Wunderradio looks to be an app that could work with the Android-run Archos 35 Home Connect. Good to know about that.

    Evelyn, I don't know about radio stations via iTunes. I'll explore that option.

  17. Lately I've been researching this extensively. All of the radio stations that are available on these stand-alone units are also available via a regular computer with a sound card. You ought to try some of the services via iTunes, Windows Media Player, or directly from the websites before you decide to buy a stand alone media player.

    PS. The Logitech Squeezebox is no longer being made. It was discontinued in August.

  18. Ken

    I listen the International radio stations via iTunes. I can even get the different France Bleu stations @ 32 kbps ( currently I just switched to France Bleu Touraine and they are playing the song about Madame Thatcher and info with Olivier Fenbach (??) )

  19. Thanks Tom, didn't know that about the Squeezebox. I've been looking at iTunes and I see a lot of radio stations there. I'll have a look at Windows Media Player now. The question is: how do I receive the radio signal in my kitchen when my computers and satellite TV boxes are in other rooms?

    Beav, I see all those France Bleu regional radio station in iTunes. But where is Radio-Canada in French?

  20. Ken

    For whatever reasons, Radio Canada and its English sister are not listed. However they want you to proceed this way:

    Y was miffed when he first got his iPad - he was asked to pay for the app. for CBC.

    PS: I hope it works because initially I had to use this procedure which was a pain :http://petercook.wordpress.com/2007/01/26/streaming-espace-musique-in-itunes-on-a-mac/

  21. If you have an iphone or ipad, you can use this app for internet radio: Tune In. The app is free, though obviously you have to have an iphone or ipad to use it. It works beautifully, and I use it every day to listen to BBC, Radio France, NPR stations, etc. I used to use a cheap version of the little receiver/speakers that other commenters suggest, but it never worked as well as the iphone app. It constantly cut out, and I had to keep rebooting it. The iphone app reboots itself if it gets interrupted.

  22. Thanks for all the ideas and information. I ordered a little wifi radio yesterday. It should come tomorrow. I'll report later on how well or poorly it works.

  23. We have a mae called PURE wireless internet radio in France. It works really well and we remember it costing just over £100.

    It had excellent write ups for 'ease of set-up' and we are very pleased with it.

  24. I'm a bit behind on blog-reading after an internet-poor couple of weeks in France.

    I did a big review of wireless radios and the like over the last year before finding one that I liked. I ended up going with a Roberts Revival (while my neighbours use the Roberts 83i).

    This enables me to do do a number of things such as get wireless radio, access music over my home network, and also play back from a USB stick. I download a lot of BBC podcasts and radio programs so that I have an endless amount of programs to listen to.

    The Revival also has a battery option.

    It's worth doing price comparisons of UK vs French suppliers as the French markup on domestic appliances and electronics is frequently significantly more than the postage difference.

  25. Hi Mike, thanks for the review. The Roberts models were too much radio for my needs. That said, the little Archos 35 Home Connect seems perfect for my needs. It does all you say your radio does, according to the specs, though I haven't tested it all out yet. For right now, we're enjoying listening to Nostalgie radio with the Archos 35 patched into our upstairs stereo system. Nice sound. And on it I can view web sites, blogs, etc. while I listen to the radio. I'm a happy guy at this point.

  26. Being an ardent fan of Pop and Adult Contemporary music, Sunny 107.9 is always my first choice for non-stop entertainment. Whether in my car or at home I’m always tuned in and
    kept entertained by the stations hottest DJs. Stream online at www.sunny1079.com or tune in live.


What's on your mind? Qu'avez-vous à me dire ?