The 610 connects to the stream very quickly. Once connected the Now Playing screen will display the station name, song/title, the quality of the connection and type, and the date and time. The quality line displays the data rate, the encoding type, e.g. MP3, stereo or mono, and the sample rate of the stream. From the front menu under presets, the now playing station can be saved. Via the Web interface all that needs to be done is enter the URL and click Save as Preset. Up to 10 presets can be stored. I have run Internet loss tests by unplugging the network connection. I have been notified of stream losses. Each time the 610 experienced a loss, it reconnected to the stream. Some of the radios I have used in the past failed to reconnect after an outage.
I used the Web interface to configure the device. Under Alarms and Notifications there are options to choose the audio loss timer and audio threshold, select what conditions to send email notification, and to view and change alarm log settings. An email notification can be sent for audio loss, stream loss and Internet loss. All alarms are logged, and the alarm log can be downloaded for record retention or analysis as a comma-separated value file. Configuring the email preferences is straight-forward, and you can use webmail type services such as Gmail. Time and time zone configuration is a matter of choosing the UTC offset and daylight savings time options. Otherwise, the 610 is embedded to contact a Web based time server, so no clock adjustments are needed. If the device is located behind a firewall, be aware of this. Administration configuration is limited to password protection and saving/uploading hardware profiles. If security is enabled, a password is required to access the front of the 610 and the Web interface. The user cannot be changed nor can you add users. The drawback to a complex password is the time it takes to enter it via the jock wheel, and the now playing information cannot be seen until after the password is entered. In addition, the screen saver timeout is preset and cannot be changed, so if the screen goes dark, the password must be re-entered.
Every device has attributes worth mentioning and even some limitations. I already mentioned Dynamic DNS and email notifications. I have received stream loss email notifications, and having the logs the 610 will be a great troubleshooting tool if we ever have to discuss these things with the streaming provider. Of the limitations, I have already discussed them with Inovonics. Another minor annoyance is the screen saver time-out. This is a fixed time, but that is all it is, a minor annoyance to me. The device does not have SNMP capabilities. Some facilities have the need for SNMP, and when the time comes, a firmware update will be available. The current firmware is version 188.8.131.52.
The 610 is not necessarily inexpensive, but the value is not only in the hardware, but in the support behind the device. Any questions I had were answered by the support staff. The notification features, today, may seem a bit much, but as the industry pursues digital delivery, having a reliable monitor will be a must. Finally the device is designed to move forward via firmware updates that can be done in the field.
The 610 Internet radio monitor is shaping up to be an excellent monitor. As in all early products there are some growing pains, but nothing that prevents the unit from operating well. Any engineer or programmer who wants the ability to really monitor and be notified of an issue will like this monitor. It is more than just another Internet radio; it is a tool that we have lacked until now.
Eisenhamer is the chief engineer of the San Diego cluster for Lincoln Financial Media.