What Would Jeff Spurgeon do?
December 6, 2010 2:03 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for the best stand-alone streaming audio player with has a dead-simple interface, will play WQXR's webstream, and, really, really, a dead-simple grandparent-compliant interface.

The only radio station my wife's parents listen to, NYC's classical WQXR, switched frequencies this year and no longer reliably comes in at their house.

I'd like something with built-in speakers that I can put on my in-law's wifi and then they'll be able to use to play audio. The simpleness of the interface is really, really all I need. I've seen the speakers that integrate with an iPod touch, but I am certain the touch's interface will baffle them.

They have a few computers running Windows, but struggle with iTunes and other players. I'm not interested in plugging a laptop into powered speakers, I just want a dumb device. I'll do the initial setup but don't want to drive an hour to fix it.

On and off, a volume dial, and something I can program to hit the WQXR stream is really all I need. A remote would be nice but isn't critical. Sub-$150 would be ideal. Amazon and some vintage-2008 askme threads point me to the Logitech Squeezebox - any better (or cheaper) alternatives?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed to Technology (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I LOVE Screamer Radio. It only does streaming audio, can handle MP3, WMA, and most (all?) AAC variants. The GUI is minimalistic, it has support for favorites and an auto-updated directory in case they feel like branching out.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 2:18 PM on December 6, 2010

Vorbis audio works too.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 2:22 PM on December 6, 2010

The Squeezebox Radio would be great for this kind of thing, but there's the chance that, with its many options, it might be a bit confusing.

The Livio NPR Player is a little more limited, but also a bit cheaper and has a quite simple interface for this kind of thing. There's even instructions on how to listen to WQXR on it on Youtube.
posted by eschatfische at 2:40 PM on December 6, 2010

Response by poster: Sorry, when I say stand-alone, I mean a physical hardware device.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 3:05 PM on December 6, 2010

I'm on a similar quest, and right now I'm gravitating towards the Chumby. I'm not thrilled with either of their models (you get either stereo speakers or a volume knob... wtf?), but it looks like it'd be easy to use once set up.

The other contender on my list is some variant of the Squeezebox. The reviews of those are spotty, though, and the interface seems complicated and the device is expensive.

So I'm leaning towards the Chumby, but will be watching this thread closely for better options.
posted by plantbot at 6:26 PM on December 6, 2010

Your question reminded me of this AskMe thread from a few months ago (not sure if it's one of the results you found already):
"Wireless internet radio without turning on laptop?"

There's a few more devices/manufacturers mentioned over there. (BTW, the units from Pure look like they're only available in the UK right now, but their site has a US page showing products "coming soon" and some other info.)
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 8:41 PM on December 6, 2010

An alternative is to keep the radio, but add in a nice indoor FM antenna - Terk and C. Crane get pretty good reviews.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:31 AM on December 7, 2010

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