We’ve been wanting a wifi internet radio player we could listen to around the house and perhaps take outside, plug in, and listen to out there. So, after a week or two of looking around online (and not really knowing what we needed) I made a spur of the moment decision and above you can see our new Cord Panorama WiFi Internet Radio/DAB+ Digital Radio / Media Player / FM Radio. We just bought it at 40% off of normal price from JB Hifi at the insanely good price of $132. It can play 100,000+ internet radio channels, stream media from a DLNA server, is a DAB+ digital radio receiver, and is a regular FM receiver too. And to top it all off it has an auxiliary input so you can plug in your iPod or other device and play music from that too. It has a bit of a retro look wood finish on the sides and top and a silver front panel with a black and blue OLED display. There’s a single speaker with a 7W digital amplifier, which it turns out is more than loud enough to fill our living area with music or to put it under our verandah and hear it while we’re in the backyard. There’s also a little remote which you can see below.
The device can work with a WiFi or wired connection and has a very simple setup wizard that allows you to enter your WiFi password pretty easily. Once setup the radio is controlled from either the front panel or remote. It operates in one of several modes (FM, DAB+, Media Streaming, Internet Radio, or AUX) each mode has slightly different menus and it’s own set of user selectable favourite stations. DAB+ and FM tuning were fairly effortless and intuitive. The media streaming mode detected our media server without a hassle and browsed quickly and easily through our media library and played our music perfectly.
Internet radio proved to be a little more problematic as the Cord unit kept timing out when attempting to retrieve a channel list from the internet. It started working after a day or so and allowed us to choose from many different Australian internet radio stations by genre. We could also search through the complete radio list allowing us to find our favourite stations easily. I’m not sure what the problem was with the network timeouts but I do note that the Cord Panorama has some sort of online integration with Wifi Radio Frontier site. And that site was down yesterday and this morning so I bet the two events are linked. The online integration allows the Cord Panorama users to find internet stations online and mark them as favourites and then have those stations downloaded to the radio unit. Pretty neat.
So what do I think of the Cord Panorama Internet Radio Player? I think it’s perfectly fine. The user interface is easy to understand, I didn’t have any problems with it and my partner has been using the radio from the front panel without issue. The front panel display is clear and useful and the tactile feel of the buttons and dials are quite nice. I’m even fond of the retro wood-grain finish. If I had anything bad to say I’d restrict it to the remote which is a bit small and fiddly and probably not that useful. But putting that to one side the Cord functions as advertised and pretty much flawlessly. The sound quality is good and it plays music from a variety of different sources exactly as advertised. And at the price we got it at I consider it to be something of a bargain. Highly recommended if you’re in the market for a wireless internet radio player.
Update December 9 2013
When I was having problems with the player connecting to internet radio stations I shot off an email to the distributor of the Cord Panorama in Australia (Volition Australia) asking them if they knew what the problem was. To be honest I wasn’t expecting a response as I’ve never had much luck contacting service departments by email before. But here we are at 10:00AM on a Monday morning and I got a response! Amazing service. Here’s what they had to say:
Thanks for your enquiry.
It seems that Vtuner, the internet radio service used by panorama was down for a period of time over the weekend.
After checking this morning, it is up and running.
Let me know if you still have any problems.
So, there’s your answer. The Cord Panorama uses the Vtuner website to get some data and it was down on the weekend.