While using a PC to listen to the radio is nothing new (radio and TV tuner cards have been available for years), D-Link's DSB-R100 offers a simple and affordable solution. Priced at $59.95, it costs a little more than the average radio, but is ultraportable (its tiny size will complement any messy desk), and offers the ability to record radio broadcasts as WAV files. An MP3 compression tool is included, and is neatly integrated with the DSB-R100's software interface, making it a simple task to record off the radio and create MP3s.
Because it's based on USB (you'll need at least Windows 98 or 2000), installation of the radio is quick and easy. It comes well documented with a manual, particularly useful in explaining the various options offered by the radio's software interface. You can, for example, pre-set up to 200 channels, scan for stations, or set Sleep and Wake Up functions. When recording, you can choose from three sampling rates (11025Hz, 22050Hz and 44100Hz - the latter for CD-quality), and 8bit or 16bit sampling sizes. The program also provides a variety of volume controls plus an "LED display" showing the output intensity of your PC's left and right speakers.
The sound quality will be as good as your sound card and speakers, but, to the average ear, there will be little difference to a normal radio. The only drawback that I can see is that the DSB-R100 is only an FM tuner, which may disappoint AM radio fans.
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