I recently received a IS9181 WiFi Internet Radio to test out and eventually use as a giveaway here on BSMW. (details upcoming on that.)

vtech-is9181-wi-fi-internet-radioA product from VTech, this unit was promoted to me as something that transplanted sports fans could use to keep up with sports talk back home. Sports radio stations such as WEEI and WBZ-FM do stream their programming on the internet, making it available anywhere in the world. It’s not always convenient however, to sit in front of the computer listening to hours of sports radio. You can listen through some mobile phones, but my experience has been that it is a battery killer to do so for any length of time.

If you have a wireless router in your home or office, you can plug in this radio, (or put in 6 AA batteries) and it will connect to your WiFi network, and let you choose from about 11,000 streaming radio stations worldwide. The menu allows you to choose by location or by genre. Once you find your favorite stations you can save them as favorites. You can also connect this unit to a home stereo system, or hook up your MP3 player to play through the unit.

It also has a built-in FM tuner, and clock-radio wakeup. The time sets automatically over the internet, and you can get the accuweather 5-day forecast for your local area on the full color display on the front of the unit.

I took it out of the box, plugged it in, and connected without trouble to my wireless network. I then browsed to WEEI and WBZ-FM, and started streaming each. I then went and looked for other sports radio stations around the country, WFAN in NY, KNBR in San Francisco, WIP in Philadelphia. They all came right up. My wife listened to Alice 97.3 FM in San Francisco when she lived out there, and we connected to that and set it as a favorite.

You can control the unit either with the buttons on top of the device or with the provided remote control. The remote is small, and didn’t seem to work from very far away, but was still nice to have.

The unit has a suggested retail of $149.95, but is selling on Amazon for $136.87. It’s not exactly cheap, but when compared to many audio devices out there, or a subscription to Satellite radio, it’s not bad either.

It was easy to set up and easy to use, and does the job. In the time that I’ve listened to it, I’ve never had a station drop out on me, and the sound quality is really good. If you’re a Red Sox fan living in California, or anywhere else in the world, this could be a good way to stay connected to all the Red Sox talk here in Boston. WBZ-FM has streamed several Patriots games on-line this season. If you were somewhere in the country where you couldn’t see the game (didn’t have Sunday Ticket) you could listen to those broadcasts with this.

IS9181 Features and Specifications (VTech)

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12 thoughts on “Product Review – IS9181 WiFi Internet Radio

  1. I fail to see why a fan of the local teams would want to listen to Boston sports radio. I left Boston 15 years ago and enjoy the Sox, Pats and Bs 10x more since I don’t have to listen to the crap that you get fed by Jason Wolfe, Glen Orbway and the others.

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  2. You lost me at VTech. Every single one of their products I have ever seen haven been the cheapest garbage around. Unless the company has seriously changed their ways, then I doubt the radio will work for 6 months.

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  3. My wife bought me a Logitech Squeebox Wifi radio for Christmas — works incredibly well, streams not only radio but also music from your PC/external hard drive. Apparently it also has a rechargeable battery pack that’ll be available this month too.

    Not trying to do a plug for it, but I’ve been stunned at how well it works and how easy it is to find other stations and talk programs on it. Great sound quality also. Especially down here in southern RI it’s tough to get 98.5 so now I can with just a few button presses.

    If you’re worried about the VTech technology, I would not hesitate to go with the Logitech. It’s also $150 at Amazon so the slightly higher price is probably worth it.

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  4. I asked in a comment yesterday why a product advertisement was replacing content at BSMW, and my comment gets deleted?

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    1. No, you didn’t ask a question, you just made a snide remark about BSMW now just shilling for products.

      They asked if I wanted to test one out and write a review on it, I said sure, so this is what happened. I thought it might be something that out-of-town sports fans could use to keep up with things back home.

      It’s the first time I’ve ever reviewed something on here that wasn’t a publication, so your comment about now how content is being replaced by shilling for products is misplaced.

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      1. The real story is the utter disrespect for the Andelman Brand. Your Kowloon and Phantom gift cards will not be in the mail this year sir.

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      2. Yes, it was a comment not a question, and yes it was too snide. But, don’t you see what promted it, and why deleting the comment adds to skepticism? A company gives you (or your readers if you do a give-away) a free product, and then you give that product exposure with your audience. It seems like the things you have reviewed in the past were almost all media products about Boston sports, or about the media itself. So a random description about a new product that has no direct connection to Boston stood out to me. As a regular reader, it seemed more like ad copy than the usual content (i.e. something that would be critiqued at BSMW if it appeared somewhere else in the media).

        Apologies for the accusatory snideness of my earlier comments.

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        1. dollar bill yo. so what. banner ads don’t work, this stuff is going to be more predominant. ‘buzz agents’.

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  5. You had me, Bruce, until you said that a “Sox fan living in [Nevada] could listen to Red Sox talk”. As I’ve often said onthe BSMW message boards, the best thing about being out here is being away from the constant shoe-peeing and WEEI.

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  6. For someone who doesn’t even own an MP3 player or IPod, sign me up for this contest whenever you run it, even if the radio was produced by a member of the Hokies.

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