A site of endless curiosity

Global Internet Distribution of Cultural Media: how Internet Radio was oh so 5 minutes ago

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Global Internet Distribution of Cultural Media:
How Internet Radio was oh so 5 minutes ago

vTuner_AIRJ01F_image1Aluratek USB Internet Radio Jukebox

While at the local Frys’s Electronics I saw a bunch of Internet radios from Aluratek. Most of the models were in the $100 price range which is typical of appliance design internet radios.

However, there was one device available for $29.  This was advertised as a USB Internet Radio Jukebox.  A recent issue of Monitoring Times had a review of this device.  The reviewer in Monitoring Times was not too impressed with the USB Internet Radio.  My guess from the review was that what you really got in the Aluratek USB Internet Radio Jukebox was a standard USB memory stick with software.  So, I passed it by.

On the way home I was wondering what Internet source was feeding the Aluratek radios.  I knew about Reciva as a major site that feeds some Internet radios.  But what about the Aluratek?  Did Reciva feed Aluratek?

Oh Grasshopper

Well, who cares anyway.  I have all the internet radio I can deal with.  I have the Apple iPod Touch with all those great application plus I know about Reciva.  Between the iPod Touch applications and Reciva I have everything I need.  Oh Grasshopper.

“Quickly as you can, snatch the pebble from my hand.” The young Caine tries and fails. “When you can take the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave. -Master Kan

When I got home I did a bit of research.  What I discovered was that vTuner feeds Aluratek appliance Internet radios.  My conclusion was based on the fact that I discovered that the vTuner site cites Aluratek as a device maker partner.

vTuner Internet Media feed and receiver application

Go to the vTuner site and what do you find?  For $29 – as a one-time fee – you can download software to your PC to get access to Internet distribution of media.  So I suspect that the Aluratek USB internet radio is some version of this software on a traditional USB memory stick.

vTuner allows a 15 day free trial of the software.  So, I gave it a shot.  This is some really great stuff.

The differentiators – Reciva vs vTuner

At the time of this writing Reciva is pure audio.  vTuner adds video to the audio offering and tight integration with Real Player.  This is some really great stuff.

vTuner_TVCollegeRedefining the offering.  Internet Radio to Internet Media

At some point one needs to redefine the language with regard to these devices.  These are not Internet “radios” ( one infers a limitation to audio) but these are Internet media distribution services in the broadest sense of the word.  These devices collapse the traditional distinction between radio and television as differentiated by the appliance needed to receive these types of media.

Basically, anything that can be digitized, coded, and pushed down an internet pipe is fair game.  This includes radio (audio), television (video), web cams, scanners, and everything else that can be tuned into bits and recovered at the other end.

vTuner_RealLibraryA real win with Real Player

There is another real win with vTuner over Reciva.  And that real win is the tight integration with Real Player.

vTuner integrates with Real Player and offers a feature to record just about anything you are listening to or watching.  Real Player automatically tags the media that you are listening to or watching  and places it into its media library on your PC. This is really a great feature.

There are some media streams that are protected and can not be recorded.

“Enough is never enough” – Ferengi Rules of Acquisition

Here’s a partial summary of what you get with vTuner not in Reciva

Television (including distance learning)

There are many categories of television stations.  Some of the categories are College, Government, Public, Religious, Sports, variety, and a number of other categories.  Nearly one half of the 49 College television programming is Distance Learning. If you are into ad hoc or ala carte education then you might enjoy this

Web Cams

There are also a large number of web cams.  Want to see the live traffic in Hong Kong or Belfast Northern Ireland? Then take a look.  Want to look at Burbon Street in New Orleans? That is there as well.  Do you want to see research experiments in progress?  How about the Pitch Drop Experiment in Brisbane Australia?  Don’t know what it is?  Then find out.


You can listen to about 100 scanners across the United States and a few across the world.

Amateur Radio Repeaters

At the time of this writing, there is one Amateur Radio Repeater streaming audio to vTuner


The term “Internet Radio” applied to infrastructure systems such a vTuner is a misnomer.  The general public hearing the term “Internet Radio” associates and infers the traditional meaning of radio with all its limitations.  The limitation of audio associated with ‘Radio” is no such limitation of Global Internet Media Distributors like vTuner.

So for now, go and download the free 15 day trial of vTuner and have some fun.

Watch for our follow-up posting on the societal and cultural implications on importing and exporting cultural media.


Here is another USB-based device

It’s a good bet that all of these USB devices are nothing but some version of the vTuner software made to run on a traditional USB memory stick.  The advantage is that all the configuration and saved stations are on the USB stick and can taken from PC to PC.  The downside, is that you have another device to deal with.  vTuner software is $19.95 at the time of this writing.  The question would be – If you buy the vTuner software on how many PC’s can you install the software?  If the answer is only one, then it’s probably better to have the USB stick.

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Written by frrl

May 17, 2009 at 8:59 am

One Response

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  1. If one is mainly interested in being able to listen to radio over the internet because of over-the-air reception problems, how do the two services, Reciva and V-Tuner compare. I could not find my local NPR station (KPBS in San Diego) listed on V-Tuner but I do not know whether this is due to a problem with the station or with V-Tuner.

    California Nerd

    February 6, 2010 at 6:13 pm

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