Before I tried Tivoli NetWorks I thought my local jazz station was a waste. The signal was on-again-off-again and the announcers were self-styled musicologists intent on killing an inherently lively idiom with lectures that lasted longer than the music. Now I find that it's really my FM radio that is defective, because it can't draw in my new favorite station from across the ocean in London. The Tivoli can and I never have to snore between tunes again.
Tivoli NetWorks works by tuning into stations all over the world by Internet. You simply plug the device into your broadband connection and it picks up an international selection of radio stations that also broadcast online. You can search out stations by location or genre. Say you're into son music—head for the Caribbean and then to Cuba (making sure to avoid the government propaganda station) and listen up. Alternatively, you could pick Latin music from the genre list and whittle your way down that way. The types of music are extensive, including rock, country, blues, classical and styles of world music you might not be aware of. Of course, there's plenty of talk, as well as comedy and drama plays. It's also perfect for the homesick. Listen to the mother country when you're abroad or tune into football games at your alma mater.
It must be said that you could do all this via your computer, but you wouldn't be getting Tivoli's serious fidelity nor the self-updating software system that sorts stations for you. You would also quickly miss something called SuperBuffer that fights the stuttering sound dropouts so common to Web listening by increasing the buffer time by a multiple of four. It stores the sound on a sort of delay before feeding it to you smoothly.
NetWorks will also tap into your home computer and/or network via USB connection to play any sounds you have stored digitally. And, oh yeah, it has an optional FM radio antenna and tuner, but something tells me I won't be tuning in with that.