Internet Radio for Cars

By Robert Menta- 2/21/00

Talk about being plugged in. Now Internet radio is coming to your automobile.

Washington, DC based PenguinRadio, in partnership with, announced they are developing the first Web radio player for the car.

The Rio Volt SP250 has an FM tuner and is available on Amazon

"One day, every radio will work this way" boasts PenguinRadio cofounder Andrew Leyden. The radio, still over a year and a half away from release, will broadcast MP3 music from Net stations all over the world via Ineva's Ellipso Satellite division.

The unit, based on the Linux operating system, will be able to broadcast radio streams originating from anywhere in the world, overcoming the range limitations of traditional radio. More important, it will fill a missing piece of digital transmission for the present crop of MP3 car stereo's shipping, like Empeg Car, which play digital music recorded on an internal hard drive.

Stations are selected using the WEI Cataloging System, a unique numbering system designed by PenguinRadio that replaces complicated URL addresses for the delivery of Internet audio streams. The WEI numbering system has already been adopted by, which is a streaming media portal for cell phones and other wireless PDAs.

"Today, people are increasingly listening to radio stations from around the world through their PCs' cheap speakers, because they don't have any other way to receive the radio signals they truly desire. They end up using a $1,000 computer to get the sound quality of a $15 radio," says Leyden.

PenguinRadio is waiting for the launch of Ellipso's first satellites before it begins production. The Ellipso project includes the participation of some pretty big players including Lockheed Martin Global Telecommunications, the Harris Corporation, L-3 Communications, Israel Aircraft Industries and The Boeing Company.

PenguinRadio is due to release a home stereo version of its radio this spring. The home radio, which does not rely on satellite technology, will have access to 5,000 stations worldwide and will sell for about $200.


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