On the cheap for manufacturers, at least: Cambridge Consultants has managed to pack every feature needed for Internet radio, in which streaming stations are picked up via a network feed, into a package of chips, a small monochrome display, and other goods that cost just $15 to build. They use two integrated circuits to achieve this task, one handling processing and audio; the other 802.11b/g. Their platform could lead to Internet radios costing $50 to $60, the company said.
Their system can support several streaming and download methods, including RTP and HTTP, and MP3, WMA, AAC, AIFF, and WAV audio formats. And they even support all the Wi-Fi encryption methods for home: WEP and WPA/WPA2. The company says nearly 25 percent of people in the U.S. listen to Internet radio each week (60m people), with growth expected to reach 180m by 2010.
Current Internet radios are typically designed as either a component in a multimedia gateway to handle streaming audio and video over a network, or as part of a tabletop radio that has built-in speakers and often support for other media.