Where to buy

You can buy these devices, smartphones and receivers by clicking on the images or on the links under each description.

DAB plus unofficial logo
Streaming ahead with your favourite stations in any room is now a cinch: multi-room on the cheap

Cheap multi-room audio has come a long way - you no longer need to spend a fortune to hear the same digital radio station around your house.
Amazon Echo 2nd Generation and Amazon Echo
Amazon Echo range - radio's calling from £49.99

The Amazon Echo, a voice-controlled handsfree personal assistant, listens to you from across the room. We've a comprehensive review of its audio and radio features. Available in two sizes, Echo Dot and a full-size Echo, simply call out "Alexa, play Classic FM" and the assistant will connect to the audio stream of the UK's popular classical music station and start playing radio. Of course that's not all it can do, but Radioplayer and TuneIn have teamed up with Amazon to offer radio station streaming as one of the special 'skills' the Echo has.

You can ask the mains-powered Echo to play one of 450 (and growing) stations in the UK - and even ask digital assistant Alexa to recommend stations where you are based in the country. National and local BBC and commercial radio stations are available by voice command, using a unique phonetic database created by the Radioplayer team, to make sure Alexa understands which station you want. Podcasts are also available using the Echo's special functionality - letting you catch up with a show you missed - though it's difficult to specify catchup radio shows.

The Echo connects your own bigger speaker system using Bluetooth audio, and you can add an adaptor if your favourite home audio system is missing this functionality, provided it has an AUX in or audio line-in socket of some sort. You can have multiple Echo boxes, with the option to play your preferred radio station in every room around your home.
Chromecast Audio dongle
Chromecast Audio dongle - yours for just £30; multi-room audio from £60 - what's not to like?

Google Chromecast Audio is another simple way to get radio to your powered speaker system. It works via your wi-fi internet connection, powered by a USB adaptor. If you've an iPhone, iPad or Android-based device, or use the Chrome internet browser on your PC or Mac, you can choose from many apps, such as BBC iPlayer Radio, TuneIn, Spotify and Google Play music to 'cast' the audio to the Chromecast Audio streamer. The Chromecast then takes over, streaming your chosen audio directly from the internet via wi-fi, leaving you to use your smartphone or computer for other purposes (rather than interrupting the sound from the Chromecast with tinkling notification noises, for example). The box of tricks handles streaming by itself, piping the sound via its dual-purpose (supplied) 3.5mm audio jack and digital optical output to your powered speaker setup with audio line-in socket or digital input. You can buy an adaptor cable if your hi-fi prefers RCA phono hook-ups; note also that the mini Toslink to Toslink digital cable is not included in the package.

Like the Echo, you can have multiple Chromecasts located around the house; with each given a different name, you can choose which one to 'send' your music to, or simply play the same music on every Chromecast for a 'round-the-house' soundstage. The Chromecast Audio offers a very inexpensive way to achieve multi-room audio, using the internet rather than Bluetooth to stream your music collection to each Chromecast device.

BBC iPlayer Radio has a huge catalogue of on-demand ('listen again') programmes, audio clips and podcasts, which can all be streamed by the Chromecast Audio. Then there's TuneIn Radio, which offers access to thousands of stations from around the world, including a huge range of UK-based national and local commercial and community stations. Both of these can be your reference point for radio on the Chromecast Audio.
BBC iPlayer Radio app on a Windows 10 mobile smartphone
Get a cheap smartphone and start listening to thousands of stations here and abroad

If Android or iOS aren't your thing, you could arm yourself with the Edge browser in Windows 10 mobile, via a cheap Windows smartphone, where you'll have access to BBC iPlayer Radio, TuneIn and RadioPlayer, amongst others, for streaming radio via your wi-fi network right from the browser: just hit the big play button at the station's website. Simply hook the 'phone up to your chosen speakers via a standard 3.5mm audio cable or Bluetooth, and you'll be listening in no time at all. You can connect a Bluetooth transmitter via the smartphone's headphone socket for a no-frills two-room experience.

Search out a cheap Android 'phone if you prefer dedicated apps, such as BBC iPlayer Radio, TuneIn and RadioPlayer - and use the 'phone's built-in Bluetooth to share audio with your favourite powered speaker system. Leave your favourite smartphone with the job of checking social media, while your cheapo secondary device gets on streaming lots of free radio.
Roberts Stream 93i fascia
The Roberts Stream 93i is compatible with the BBC's listen again catalogue and podcast services

Rather have a traditional box with speakers and dispense with audio cables? Look no further than the Roberts Stream 93i, which streams countless stations broadcasting worldwide, as well as UK national and local radio stations. The 93i is compatible with the BBC's on-demand ('listen again') catalogue, thanks to a recent firmware upgrade, making it an attractive proposition to get your radio fix. When you're away from the internet, the receiver is DAB and DAB+ compatible, which provides further comfort - ensuring it can receive all types of digital radio broadcasts here in the UK through its telescopic aerial. It also sounds excellent - no tinny transistor sounds here; the 93i's enclosure features a bass port for increased oomph.

Alas, the 93i isn't multi-room, but you could connect a Bluetooth transmitter via the radio's audio out socket for a fuss-free two-room (or more if you add multiple transmitters) experience.

Have a set of analogue radios around the house you're happy with? Just buy one decent DAB and DAB+ digital radio (see more suggestions here) or wi-fi internet radio with headphone/audio out socket, together with an FM transmitter to pipe your favourite station around the house, on a spare FM frequency. Then, tune your FM analogue radios around the house to the same frequency for instant fuss-free (but perhaps a little hissy) multi-room sound.

More information and related links:
Amazon Echo Dot hands-on, images and review
recommended wi-fi and wired internet radio suggestions
see our DAB Buyers' Guide for more advice and suggestions

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