VTech plunges into home audio market with IS9181 WiFi radio

Darren Murph
D. Murph|01.06.09

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VTech plunges into home audio market with IS9181 WiFi radio

VTech, the company you likely associate with old school telephones and educational toys, is breaking out of its shell in a big way. The outfit has just announced its first foray into the wide world of home audio with the IS9181 internet radio receiver. Said device packs 802.11b/g WiFi connectivity and can easily tap into over 11,000 free internet radio stations; additionally, it handles traditional MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV and RealMusic audio files stored on a WiFi-enabled computer (Macs included), and the built-in auxiliary jack enables it to play back jams from practically any other source, too. You'll find a pair of three-watt stereo speakers, a ten-watt subwoofer and a Class D amplifier pushing everything to 11, but you'll have to curb your enthusiasm until it launches this Spring at $199.95.


Total Music Hub for the Home Offers Dynamic Sound Quality, Ability to Stream Music from 11,000 Internet Radio Stations, Computers and Digital Audio Players

LAS VEGAS, January 6, 2009 – VTech® Communications, Inc. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of VTech Holdings Ltd. HKSE: 303; ADR: VTKHY), today extended its wireless expertise into the home audio market with the introduction of a feature-rich music streaming device designed as a complete music hub for the home.

VTech's new IS9181 is the first Internet radio receiver to offer a rich range of features and superior sound quality for under $200. The competitively priced music hub delivers higher sound quality than other similarly priced music devices and enables consumers to play Internet radio selections, stream music libraries stored on their computers (PC/Mac-compatible) and connect any digital audio player using the line-in cord provided.

Once users connect the IS9181 to their home wireless network (802.11 b & g), they can enjoy the variety of music offerings from more than 11,000 free Internet radio stations worldwide, as well as audio files (MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, Real) stored on a Wi-Fi-enabled PC, Mac or laptop. The IS9181 also includes an auxiliary audio cable to play files from MP3 or CD players or any other device with a 3.5mm headset jack.

The IS9181 un-tethers music lovers from their computers to enjoy digital music in the living room, bedroom or anywhere in the home, and takes Internet radio to a new level beyond the PC listening experience. With dynamic, room-filling sound quality superior to laptops or other currently-available devices of its kind, the IS9181 offers built-in 3W front facing tuned stereo speakers, as well as a 10W subwoofer with class D amplifiers for powerful bass response. Other streaming devices include only either one or two front-facing speakers.

"This new music hub provides the ultimate freedom and flexibility for consumers to enjoy a quality music listening experience with a rich variety of content options – all at an affordable price," said Matt Ramage, senior vice president of product management, VTech Communications, Inc. "We have applied our long history of innovation in developing feature-rich wireless products for the home phone market to delivering a Wi-Fi music streaming device that is a level above what's currently on the market today."

Global Music Exploration at Your Fingertips
With access to music from every corner of the globe, IS9181 listeners can easily switch from New York-based dance station ElectricFM, to St. Petersburg, Russia-based oldies station Channel Melodia and more. The IS9181 offers music enthusiasts access to thousands of Internet radio stations and the ability to search for music by country, state and genre.

Simplifying audio exploration even further, a comprehensive guide to all available stations will be available at www.vtechphones.com. Once a desired station is located using the guide, users can push their favorite stations directly to the IS9181 for one-touch access.

Stations can be preset for easy recall, and the remote control ensures convenient management across the room. With optional battery power operation (requires six AA batteries, not included), users can even take the IS9181 out of their home or office to the patio or backyard, as long as the Wi-Fi signal is in range for streaming.
Even More Features Packed in the IS9181
In addition to music options, the IS9181 also offers localized weather (based on zip code) and personalized horoscope content, as well as a full color LCD for easy viewing.

Key features of the IS9181 include:
• Best-in-class 802.11 Digital Wi-Fi technology, providing superior range and streaming rates
• Internet radio streaming from 11,000 stations or ability to search for any stations that stream online
• Internet radio stations search from VTech's site or on the device itself
• Preset favorites online
• PC or Mac-stored MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, Real music file playing
• Connect a MP3 player or any audio device directly to the radio using the provided cord.
• Connect the IS9181 via RCA connections to other audio systems for streaming access.
• Internal 2.1 speakers
• Weather and horoscope text updates based on zip code
• Convenient remote – browse, select and control music from across the room
• Large full-color display
• AC Power Adapter
• Battery-operated option (requires six AA batteries, not included)
• MSRP: $199.95
• Available in Spring 2009 at www.vtechphones.com

VTech's entire 2009 product line will be on display at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, January 8-11, at the Palms Casino Resort. The new VTech DECT lineup, including the IS9181 Wi-Fi Internet Radio, can be purchased at major retail outlets and online at www.vtechphones.com in Spring 2009.
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