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MagicBox The Imp Wi-Fi internet radio

MagicBox The Imp WiFi radio details

It can be a pain to keep switching your computer on and off, waiting for it to boot and then connecting to the net if you regularly listen to radio stations that broadcast over the internet. If you tend to tune in to your favourite stations over the web quite often, MagicBox's The Imp may well be the solution for you.

Just like the Acoustic Energy Wifi internet radio, the MagicBox Imp wireless internet radio makes use of a broadband internet connection and wireless router (if you have a hard-wired router you'll have to have your PC switched on when using The Imp). Mac users need not feel left out, since The Imp also works with Apple's Airport WiFi connection to link to the internet. The Imp will also stream and play music stored on your Mac.

With only minor variations in appearance and with very similar functionality as the Acoustic Energy Wifi internet radio, The Imp wi-fi radio combines a large, centrally-mounted selection dial with access to ten presets from other buttons mounted above. The radio runs on the same Linux-based operating system as the AE wifi radio, too. There is also no difference in Mac compatibility between these two products, either; The Imp handles the AAC format, which is commonly found at download sites such as iTunes. Protected AAC tunes cannot be played via The Imp.
The Imp wifi internet radio

The round speaker enclosure indicates the presence of just one - instead of the AE's wi-fi's two - loudspeaker. A headphone socket is to hand for personal listening without disturbing others around you.

The Imp radio deals with BBC 'listen again' requests and will happily select stations streaming via AAC, Real Audio, MP3 and Windows Media. When you switch it off and back on again, it searches for updates and stores new stations.

To access streaming internet radio is free and there are no subscription charges to pay. It's just like listening to radio through your PC, but gives you the freedom to move the radio around (as long as it has access to a Wi-Fi hotspot generated by your router). More and more stations, such as Capital Radio, are switching to "super-hi" quality to make use of increased broadband transfer speeds.

The Imp adds Apple Mac compatibility over the AE Wifi radio, but on specification alone there's little to choose between them. Obviously, Mac users will go for The Imp, but the AE wi-fi version has twin drivers for stereo sound whereas The Imp makes use of just one.

The Imp is now shipping. Find out where you can buy The Imp wi-fi internet radio online.

For: An easy way to tune in to the burgeoning number of internet radio stations
Against: Needs a wireless router (and broadband connection) if you don't want to keep your PC on while you use The Imp
Verdict: Fast becoming the defacto way to receive internet radio
Price: GBP149.99

The Imp is now shipping. Find out where you can buy The Imp wi-fi internet radio online.
Magic Box The Imp Wi fi radio Tech Spec

Manufacturer's specification and further details

Just plug The Imp into the mains and switch on. Once registered to your network, the Imp automatically connects to your existing WiFi network (with WEP encryption if enabled) to access the internet radio portal. Stations are uploaded alphabetically, country by country. Turn the dial to display the station you want, then press Select to play.

When you switch off and switch back on again, all stations are updated and any new ones automatically added meaning the internet radio will be fully up to date with all the latest stations.

The Imp radio key features:
* Free and simple access to over 2500 stations from around the world
* Listen to your favourite station from home wherever you are in the world
* List of available radio stations checked and updated daily
* Plays all major digital audio formats including MP3, Real Audio, Windows Media Audio, and AAC. Supports iTunes
* Wirelessly plays from your PC or Mac music library

* Dedicated preset buttons for easy access to your favourite stations
* Superbright easy to read backlit display, shows name of station broadcasting
* Listen to archived programmes from the BBC
* Includes Wi Fi - supports WEP and WPA security
* Quick browse - browse through thousands of radio stations by country, genre or station name
* Headset socket for private listening
* Full function clock and alarm - wake up to your choice of digital music or radio stations

MagicBox The Imp radio technical details:
* Supports AAC, Real Audio, MP3 and Windows Media streams
* Uses 802.11b and 802,11g WiFi connectivity
* Offers 128-bit (max) WEP security
* Supports HTTP protocol
* 'Reply Key' enables future interactive features
* Uses Linux OS Kernel

MagicBox The Imp radio FAQs:

Do I need a broadband internet connection?
Yes. The Imp accesses internet radio stations through a wireless link (802.11b or 802.11g) to your existing WiFi enabled broadband connection.

Does my PC have to be switched on?
Not necessarily. If you have a broadband router with built-in WiFi, you do not need to turn your PC on to receive internet radio. The Imp connects directly to the internet without the use of a browser.

Where can I get a WiFi router?
WiFi routers are widely available in electronics shops and on the internet.

Will it work with my Apple Mac computer?
Yes. The Imp also works with Apple's Airport WiFi connection to seamlessly link to the internet. The Imp will also stream and play music stored on your Mac.

What if the WiFi network encrypted for security?
If The Imp detects an encrypted WiFi network it will simply ask you to enter the WEP key before it accesses the internet.


Other links:

more wifi internet radios, on this website.
features and reviews, on this website.
guide to DAB digital radio, on this website.
where to buy DAB digital radio, on this website.
what to buy - a DAB Buyers Guide, on this website.
more DAB radio receiver, system and tuner reviews, on this website.