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Wednesday, 15 January, 2003, 09:06 GMT
Portable player unlocks net radio
InTune internet radio
The player has a range of 300 metres

An innovative radio that lets you listen to internet stations anywhere in the home has been showcased at the world's largest consumer technology event in Las Vegas.

The GlobalTuner InTune200 is a small portable radio that connects to a computer wirelessly, providing access to any music on the PC or to thousands of internet radio stations.

The radio is likely to be bundled by BT with its broadband service as part of a promotional drive in the UK.

PDT, the Manchester-based company that developed the portable player, says it could be just the thing to persuade more people to sign up for high-speed internet services.

"The idea of internet radio is great, but not the idea of sitting next to the computer to listen to the radio," PDT Managing Director David Holder told BBC News Online.

"With the InTune you avoid having to sit at the PC to listen to MP3 music files or radio."

No wires

The player is small and light, so that you can carry it around the house and listen to internet radio even if you are in the garden or the bathroom.

InTune internet radio
Controls are similar to a normal radio
It comes with a base unit that plugs into the USB socket on a computer.

This unit uses a two-way wireless data link to send music and information from the computer to the radio.

If the PC is connected to the internet, you can listen to one of the thousands of internet radio stations.

Or you could simply play back any songs on the computer's hard drive.

The InTune can also just be used as a FM radio set and has been deliberately designed to look and feel like a normal radio.

"We wanted something that looked familiar to people and that they would be comfortable using," said Mr Holder.

Emotive about radio

He believes the radio could be just what the UK needs to persuade more people to get broadband.

"Getting to one million broadband users was not difficult. Now BT is aiming for five million," he said. "But you need to give people a reason to get broadband."

"Most people don't care about speed or always-on, but people care about radio," he said. "It is a very emotive subject."

He believes having easy access to the wealth of radio stations offered by the internet could be enough to convince people to get broadband.

The InTune is scheduled to be released in the UK in April. The recommended retail price is 179.

But Mr Holder said it would cost much less if it is offered as part of a promotional broadband campaign by BT.

During their time at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which has just ended, PDT were trying to interest a large US retailer or broadband provider in the radio.

Consumer Electronics Show 2003, Las Vegas

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