Digital radios: Internet radios explained Using an internet radio
To start using an internet radio you need to connect it to your wireless home network, so you'll need a wireless router.
Setting up the connection between the router and radio is simple, but can take a few minutes. Once connected, you don’t need to go through the set up process again, unless you want to add the radio to a different network – for example if you take the radio to a friend’s house and need to use their network.
Connect an internet radio to a wireless network
When you first turn on the radio, or select internet radio from the listening menu, the radio will search for the wi-fi networks within range.
The most common way of connecting is to select your network and then type in the network key of your wireless router. The network key is a sequence of letters and numbers that can be found in the router's documentation.
Many internet radios have small screens and no dedicated alphanumeric buttons, so entering the network key involves using the controls to scroll through letters and numbers on the screen and then press to make a selection. This can feel rather long-winded and isn't as quick as typing.
Once you’ve entered the network key, the radio will connect and you can start listening to internet radio stations.
For more information on setting up a home network and how to network your devices, see our home networking guide.
Finding internet radio stations
To make the thousands of internet stations a little easier to sort through,you can search in a number of ways including by genre, location and station name.
Some radios have a 'new stations' option where you can find stations you've probably not heard of before.
Searching by station name involves keying in the name which, as with entering the network key, can be time consuming if the radio has quite a small screen.
You don't need to type in the full station name though - the first three or four letters or numbers will help you narrow down your search.
Presets and Favourites
Many radios have a 'last listened' option in the internet radio menu, making it quicker to find a station you've listened to recently. Dedicated preset buttons are even quicker to use and 'my favourites' options are handy for saving more stations that you like.
Saving presets varies from model to model but usually you can save a preset by holding down the preset button whilst listening to the station that you want to save as a preset. After that you'll be able to access that station again by simply pressing the preset button.
Most 'Favourites' menus can hold as many stations as you like. If your internet radio has a large colour touchscreen - like the Roberts ColourStream and Pure Sensia - you can easily add favourites by touching the 'add to favourites' button while you're listening to the station.
Some radios come with remote controls and have an 'add to favourites' button on the remote.
Adding favourites to internet radios with smaller screens and no remote control is often less straight forward, involving using your computer and an online internet radio portal.
Internet radio portals
Wi-fi internet radios have a portal associated with them. A portal is like a website - you access it using your computer and an internet browser, such as Internet Explorer or Google Chrome.
You can listen to internet stations on your radio without ever visiting the portal site, but using it may enable you to do more with your radio,
If you have a Pure radio, the portal will be the Pure Lounge.
Radios from other manufacturers are likely to use Reciva or Frontier Silicon portals. There are a few others - you'll find details of your radio's portal site in the user manual.
When creating a free account with the portal you can register your radio and take advantage of any extra features it offers. These may include enabling you to stream music from your computer to the radio, buying tracks - as with Pure Flow radios - and the ability to add stations to the 'my favourites' menu on your radio.
Streaming music from a computer
Most internet radios can be used to stream music from your computer to the radio - handy if most of your music collection is saved on your computer.
Exactly how this works will depend on your radio.
Pure radios use Pure Flowserver - a piece of software you download to your computer. You'll need to have a free account set up on the Pure Lounge website to download the software.
With Roberts radios you don't need to use the portal website, but your computer needs to work with the Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) protocol - if you have Windows XP or Vista or Windows Media Player version 11 on your computer it's likely that you'll have this - details on how to connect your particular radio will be in the radio's user manual.
See music streaming in action in our video review of the Roberts Stream 105 internet radio.