Although becoming more well-known recently, Internet Radio is still not fully recognised for what it brings to the average listener. This approach to audio broadcasting is however fast taking its place alongside traditional AM/FM terrestrial methods and the more recent Satellite Relay systems. Known as internet streaming, it has brought the opportunity for a huge increase in the number of radio stations that can be generally received. A review of the features offered in a typical domestic receiver, in this case the Grace Digital GDI-IRDT200 Hi-Fi Internet Radio Tuner, can be found here:
Amongst the thousands of streams available you will undoubtedly find your favorite terrestrial stations, but in addition you will find numerous new ones, a lot of which are designed to only broadcast online over the internet. The latter are taking advantage of two aspects unique to Internet Radio:
1. The much lower overhead and start-up cost incurred compared to terrestrial.
2. The reception range is actually world-wide and not just line-of-site as for traditional radio or satellite radio.
The net result (forgive the pun), is to produce radio channels that can remain viable, whilst either serving a very niche audience or whilst serving a more generalised audience with a very wide reach. Music publishing in particular can now be much more cost-effective and you will find many small music stations covering every feasible genre and sub niche, from Classical to Country and Folk.
The first ever terrestrial radio station to take advantage of this new radio distribution channel was reported to be Internet Talk Radio in 1993. This was followed in 1995 by the first station to be set up to solely broadcast on the internet, which was reported to be Radio-HK. The technology (Peer-to-peer or P2P broadcasting) is easily obtained and widely available for anyone to broadcast over the internet, so it is no surprise that the number of stations available just keeps on increasing.
Internet radio overcomes many of the limitations experienced with traditional local or national radio stations. People in small towns that might otherwise limited to just two or three local stations monopolising the airwaves with their regular and repeated program outputs, can now search world-wide for their preferred listening pleasure and can change genre or subject matter at will. Yet at the same time, people around the world who may be ex-patriots, far from home, can tune into their home country national radio or even home town local radio just as easily as if they had never left.
At first, the advent of internet radio was partially dismissed as being 'mainly for geeks'. This is certainly no longer true. Just about every domestic radio manufacturer has now incorporated internet reception facilities somewhere in its range of models. If you are ready to choose you first internet radio, or perhaps are looking to update from early models, then a good place to start is to visit the 'BestInternetRadiosChoice.com' website where you will find information and feature reviews of many of the top internet radio models currently available.