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Rio Riot and Lyra Personal Jukebox 403

dschuetz writes: "SONICblue has the new Rio Riot up on their home page. It looks to me like an iPod killer -- 20 GB hard drive, very nice interface (better than Apple's), built-in FM tuner, powerful "DJ" functions, Lithium Ion batteries. And, at $399, it's priced competitively. The only question is -- how big is this thing? SONICblue has lots of other great systems out there, like the ReplayTV and Rio Receiver (which runs Linux), so the possibilities for hacking and otherwise extending this device are very good." Another submitter sends: "MP3 Newswire has a story on the RCA LYRA Personal Jukebox, a 20GB MP3/mp3PRO player that is the first portable to use the updated digital music compression scheme co-developed by its parent company Thompson. The new Lyra sells for $299. In related news, SonicBlue has released its first jukebox style player, also a 20GB unit called the Rio Riot that sells for $399. Both articles have pictures of the new players."
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Rio Riot and Lyra Personal Jukebox

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  • Still USB (Score:5, Insightful)

    by S-prime ( 550519 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @05:23PM (#2833513)
    Sure, it's got a 20gig drive and an FM radio, but given the fact that it still uses a USB connection, how long is it gonna take me to transfer all my fmp3's?
    I, for one, will stick with my iPod.
    • Re:Still USB (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Shuh ( 13578 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @05:30PM (#2833545) Journal
      Yeah... but Apple better get its iPod out there cheaper because it's only a matter of time before USB-mp3-player buyers realize the USB connection technology is too slow for 6Gb and now 20Gb drives. When that happens, will they pay $400 for the *only* IEEE-1394 version? Hell no. They will wait around for the USB2 versions to come out in a year and then buy them by the gazillions -- thereby marginalizing IEEE-1394 and helping that bus technology bust into wide acceptance. This in turn will be the springboard USB2 would need to make a stab at the already-established IEEE-1394-based DV camera/editing market.
      • Re:Still USB (Score:5, Informative)

        by Jeffrey Baker ( 6191 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @05:41PM (#2833616)
        USB2 is pretty pointless for non-computer devices. IEEE1394 devices can talk to each other, point-to-point. For example, you can have a 1394 camera interfacing directly with a 1394 editing console which in turn interfaces with a 1394 VTR. USB and USB2 devices require a computer to run the show. Thus you would plug your USB2 camera, if there will be such a thing, into your computer and your VTR into your computer, and use them. If you don't have a computer arbitrating USB traffic, the USB devices are useless.
        • Re:Still USB (Score:3, Informative)

          by eggz128 ( 447435 )
          If thats what you want, check the USB On the go [] extention to USB2.
          • If thats what you want, check the USB On the go extention to USB2.

            I'd rather just take the (proven, existant, and nearly ubiquitous in the DV world) 1394 interface.

            C-X C-S
            Logic on crapdot? No way!
        • Re:Still USB (Score:4, Insightful)

          by stripes ( 3681 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @06:38PM (#2833820) Homepage Journal
          USB2 is pretty pointless for non-computer devices.

          No, it is pointless for devices that you might never want to hook up to a computer :-)

          IEEE1394 devices can talk to each other, point-to-point. For example, you can have a 1394 camera interfacing directly with a 1394 editing console which in turn interfaces with a 1394 VTR.

          I don't know anyone who does that, which doesn't make it useless, but does make it less valuable. In fact everyone I know with a DV cam would much rather put the movie on their computer and edit it in iMovie or something.

          In fact the one place I know people wanted to use device-to-device FW it failed them. None of the new high end DSLRs want to look for a hard drive to write files on, they all want to have a computer suck them out. So no using the cute little portable firewire disks to store digital pics in the field, you need a bulky laptop, or a costly "digital wallet", and definitely no expensing the iPod for use as a storage device with your EOS-1D...

        • If you don't have a computer arbitrating USB traffic, the USB devices are useless.

          How long do you think it will take until someone comes out with a $30 fat cable that does the "arbitration"? It won't work as well as a system designed for it, but that hasn't kept lots of other poor technology from catching on.

      • This is a really bizarre bit of logic.

        You're saying that people will wait a year for a technology that they can't distinguish between current technology? The transfer times are immaterially different (anyone frustrated by USB1.1 mp3 devices right now would not care whether they can transfer songs in 6 seconds or 5), the cost of entry is immaterially different (buy a 1394 card, or a USB2.0 card - 1394 cards are cheaper now), but one is available right now. Heck, Creative is even stickin' 'em in their sound cards.

        Nice flamebait, though.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      For 20GB and maximum USB throughput (1.5MBytes/sec) it would take approx. 3 hours 47 minutes and 33 seconds. Ouch.
      • Re:Still USB (Score:2, Insightful)

        by aka-ed ( 459608 )

        3 hours 47 minutes and 33 seconds

        How often do you plan to wipe all 20 gigs? I can't see doing this very often.

        For my taste, 20, or even 5, gigs is way more than I need. The MXP-100 [] has up to a gig, and its weight is close to that of the 64 MB players.

        The real beauty is that you can buy a unit without memory ($149), pick up a cheap compact flash card and use that until the gigabyte microdrive becomes reasonable or is a "deal of the day" at

        I don't see how any other player could be the "geek's choice."

      • For 20GB and maximum USB throughput (1.5MBytes/sec) it would take approx. 3 hours 47 minutes and 33 seconds. Ouch.
        I have to step in here and remind everybody that that is a very raw speed. USB has an extreamly heavy protocol which limits your actual transfer rates to 600-800kps, IF, and only IF, there is nothing else connected to the bus.
        Yep, that's right, the mere existance of a mouse plugged into the same bus will slow down the transfer a little bit. Probably not much, but some.
        - RustyTaco
    • Re:Still USB (Score:3, Insightful)

      If you can't afford a couple of hours to initially load your music, but would rather pay $400 for something with 25% of the HD space and no carrying case, have at it!

      I'm using the money I save to build another server.
    • Re:Still USB (Score:3, Insightful)

      The intent with these large jukeboxes is that you put all your music on them and keep it there. Hence, you only transfer a given song once. The initial loading might take a few hours. After that, you can load new songs faster than you can rip them or download them from the net, so USB is fine for that.
    • Recharge via USB? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ryano ( 2112 )

      Nobody has mentioned the fact that the iPod recharges its battery via FireWire when you plug it into your computer. Is this even possible with USB? I know that USB delivers power, but is it sufficient to recharge this device's 10-hour battery within a reasonable time?

      The iPod does come with a power adaptor, but you only need to worry about it if you're travelling, and don't have access to a FireWire-equipped PC.

  • by SirDrinksAlot ( 226001 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @05:27PM (#2833527) Journal
    The iPod is so popular because of the size. This thing uses a laptop harddrive like all the others. The iPod it self could fit inside these mp3 players that use laptop drives. It also uses USB. Please, do the math on how long it would take to transfer 20 gigs on USB.
    • well, USB 1 has a max transfer rate of 12 Mbits/sec. 12/8 = ~1.5, so a little more than 1 megabyte per second. Therefore, 1 gig would be rougly 670 seconds, or 11 mins, give or take. Full drive would be over 220 minutes, or 3.6 hours. And that is at theoretical best rate possible. Realistically, closer to 4 hours. I don't know about the rest of you, but I dont have 20 gigs of mp3, or 4 hours to spare transferring them.
      • Lets look at that another way: an averga MP3 is 128Kbps, or 16KB/s. One hour would be approximately 56.25MB. In other words, you can transfer one hour of music in under a minute (at max speed, but that's assumed everywhere else). I've seen a post on this story saying "I can wake up and choose 500 songs to put on my iPod and have them there in no time" - how many of you do this every morning? Transfering enough music to listen to for a week straight (assuming you have the space) would take 157 minutes - under 3 hours. You could set it up in the afternoon and not have to stay up late to shut down the computer. But, most people don't listen to music all the time. If you only use it 3 hours per day, divide that by 8 - 20 minutes to transfer enough music to last you a week.

        Unless you reformat the drive and reload your entire music collection regularly, this really isn't bad. Sure, it could be faster, but the iPod is expensive and has a very small capacity - probably the smallest of the portable hard-drive based players. I think most of them are iPod killers.
  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jeffrey Baker ( 6191 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @05:31PM (#2833552)
    It looks like it has approximately the same interface as the iPod, is as big as a paperback book, and interfaces over USB. USB is 12Mbps. It would take 3.9 hours to populate a 20GB disk.

    This thing is no iPod killer. The great thing about the iPod is that I can put it in my pocket, and the firewire interface is so fast that I don't need to put ALL of my MP3s on it: it takes only seconds to load a fresh collection.

    • Re:Huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

      USB is 12Mbps. It would take 3.9 hours to populate a 20GB disk.
      This thing is no iPod killer. The great thing about

      I'm sick of hearing this. "Firewire is in many new PCs and sound cards, and it is a zillion times faster!"

      I have a 40 gig USB HD for my iOpener-based car MP3 player. It took me about 11 hours to completely upload all 34 gigs of my music to it. When I want to add music, I plug it into my PC (or almost *ANY* PC or Mac, since USB *IS* ubiquitous at this point), it mounts, and I spend 10 minutes putting another couple of albums worth of music onto it.

      If the initial load is *THAT* important to you-- that is you want your favorite 5 gigs uploaded in 15 minutes, instead of a couple of hours-- then pay the premium. I personally am willing to let the thing run overnight once to get my favorite 20 gigs onto it.

      Fact is, with the Riot you're getting a device with 4 times the storage space, plus an FM tuner, for the same price. Oh, and you get a carrying case, too!

      The gee-whiz effect Mr. Jobs used to have on me is gone. I marvel at the products, gasp at the price, then leave some other (more liquid) consumer to pay the premium.
      • by denjin ( 115496 )
        Still, they're using a laptop hard drive. The HD used by the iPod costs (to a normal end-user) about the same price as the iPod itself...

        I guess they could have released an iPod at a cheaper price w/more storage, but then it'd be just as large as the other options out there.
      • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by GoRK ( 10018 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @06:50PM (#2833871) Homepage Journal
        Well that's because you need a carrying case for it! Not only does it have four times the capacity. it's four times the size!

        If price were the only feature that people based their decisions on, then why are people driving the new VW bugs? This HDD may be 20GB but if I'm carrying around a 20GB HDD, and I find myself needing to take a couple gigs of photoshop files home from the office or vice versa, I sure as hell wouldn't use this to do it! An iPod would be right on task, though.

        Someone could produce a portable player with a 160GB Desktop HDD powered by a lawnmower battery with a small color screen that you could carry around in your backpack (included of course) for the same price as the Rio Riot or the iPod. It could make you download all your files via a 115200 baud serial connection, and then I could dish out the same argument you just did to defend it.

        Seriously, it's a different product for a different market. It may be a bit pricey, but then again, it's your choice to buy it or not. If apple could price iPod cheaper and it would increase the demand for it enough that it would benefit them to lower the price -- you know what -- they would. They have smart marketing people setting the price on their stuff. It's not like they just make it more expensive because they want to see who's stupid enough to buy it.

      • If the initial load is *THAT* important to you-- that is you want your favorite 5 gigs uploaded in 15 minutes, instead of a couple of hours-- then pay the premium

        What premium? Putting FireWire on a device is dirt cheap. I'm willing to pay and extra $10 to have both USB and FireWire.

        The real premium for the iPod is the Apple brand (worthless, but you pay for it), tiny size (and to me this is worth it, I have no use for something that won't fit in my pocket), and a clean UI (this has some value, but also some cost - I would like different EQ settings on the iPod then my desktop because the headphones are different from my speakers). The FireWire doesn't really cost anything.

        Fact is, with the Riot you're getting a device with 4 times the storage space, plus an FM tuner, for the same price. Oh, and you get a carrying case, too!

        On the other hand it looks really bulky. I don't want to walk the dog with it let alone run. When would I carry this thing that I couldn't take my laptop?

      • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Matthew Weigel ( 888 )
        I have a 40 gig USB HD for my iOpener-based car MP3 player.
        If the initial load is *THAT* important to you-- that is you want your favorite 5 gigs uploaded in 15 minutes, instead of a couple of hours-- then pay the premium. I personally am willing to let the thing run overnight once to get my favorite 20 gigs onto it.

        Well... for a car stereo, I quite agree with you. Most people don't spend enough time in their cars to need constantly updated 5GB of mp3s, and the beauty of it being in a car is... you don't have to carry it.

        The appeal of the iPod is that its drive is big enough that you can have a lot of variety in your music (more than the album 64MB players give you, or the small collection a single CD in a CD player gives you), and its fast enough that if it still doesn't hold all of your music, it can be switched over quickly.

        Something like the Riot, or your 40GB car unit, however, can only really be usable with incremental changes in their storage. If your needs ever outgrow it (I do know a few people who can/will overflow 40GB, and you yourself have already topped 20GB), it loses a lot of utility. And, of course, you won't be carrying your iOpener when you go jogging, or this Riot either.

        It bears repeating: the iPod isn't revolutionary or neat or interesting because it's completely new, but because it was clearly designed from the ground up to be used the way people would like to use an mp3 player. It's big enough that you could listen to it all day without hearing a repeat, it's small enough that you can carry it with you where ever you go all day, and it's fast enough that it doesn't have to hold all of your music to be useful.

    • Sheesh.

      Has anyone bothered to actually go to a computer store and check out the pricing for PCI-slot IEEE-1394 interface cards? They're relatively inexpensive, and best of all drivers are available on the PC platform for Linux and Windows 9X variants (Windows XP supports it natively).

      You want to have an IEEE-1394 interface for your computer anyway if you're doing any video editing work with video downloaded from a MiniDV format camcorder; a lot of professional-quality digital still cameras now sport IEEE-1394 interfaces also.

      Anyway, most of the Compaq and HP computers you see sold at Best Buy, CompUSA, OfficeMax, Staples, and so on already sport an IEEE-1394 connector, so a portable MP3 player with a small hard drive that exclusively uses the IEEE-1394 interface is not as handicapped in the marketplace as many people think.
  • Huh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by American AC in Paris ( 230456 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @05:32PM (#2833560) Homepage
    It looks to me like an iPod killer

    That's funny. I had heard that the iPod was lame. [] Why would we need an iPod killer?

    (In any case, it's still using USB. That's gotta be painful for moving 20GB of music...)

    • Re:Huh. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SpookyFish ( 195418 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @05:55PM (#2833666)
      I am not a big Apple fan, but the iPod is FAR from lame!

      Besides Firewire, it has 32 meg of ram, more than any other HD based player -- more buffering, less HD access. It uses the memory to store the file database as well, so there is no wait for the hard drive to spin up to navigate through files/folders.

      The 1.8" HD allows it to be much smaller & lighter -- about half the weight and size of the next-smallest HD based player. 5 gig is the largest 1.8" drive available right now AFAIK, but that will change soon, I am sure.

      The only way to get a smaller/lighter fairly large capacity player is to use the 1GB Microdrive + a CF2 compatible memory player (with questionable battery life).

      Instead of these oversized behemoths, why won't someone else use the 1.8" drive and make a player that is Win/Mac compatible (natively) that has Firewire AND USB?!

  • by austad ( 22163 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @05:32PM (#2833561) Homepage
    Once someone releases one that will play my Vorbis files, I'll buy one. I re-encoded my whole collection into Vorbis, and now I'm much happier (re-encoded from the CD, not from mp3's).

    Until then, I'll do without one.
    • Why the hell arre the personal digital audio players all skipping vorbis? Don't they need to pay royalties to Germany for the ability to do MP3?

      What will it take to get them to support vorbis !?!?!?!
      • by n6mod ( 17734 )
        What will it take to get them to support vorbis !?!?!?!

        An integer Vorbis decoder. How many times do I have to shout this from the rooftops. Excluding the hardware-decoder players, <SARCASM> which are doomed to failure because they won't play Microsoft's decreed format, </SARCASM> every one of the current crop of players could play Vorbis, if there were an integer decoder. None of these machines have FPUs and they certainly don't have enough horsepower for FPU emulation to keep up with an audio stream.

        If the Vorbis team would make an integer-only decoder happen "now" instead of "eventually", they'd see a lot more market adoption. Microsoft figured this out, why can't Vorbis?
    • The problem is that these portable players all use ASIC MP3 decoders. They do the job accurately and without drawing much power. There are no existing Ogg Vorbis ASIC decoders, so you would need to do it in software with a relatively beefy CPU, which in turn means significantly reduced battery life.
      • by OctaneZ ( 73357 )
        Not all MP3 player companies are using the ASIC MP3 decoders. iRiver [] the company that produces the CD MP3 players that Rio rebrands as their own is using ARM processors and is actively developing Ogg support for their players.

        Thier New Player [] the SlimX [] is really quite neat looking, some pictures are provided here [].

        If you are looking for discussions about MP3/etc players I recoment MP3's Portables [] message board.

    • I know it's slightly redundant, but I figure in this thread it'll get more OGG-related attention.

      The Soul Player [] is firmware-upgradeable, so if they see enough people wanting Ogg Vorbis support, they can write an upgrade to have the thing read (and play!) the format, and all you'd have to do is burn the update to a CD-RW.

      Or, alternatively, some ambitious hacker-type person could figure out the firmware format, and write their own Soul Ogg decoder.
  • No mp3 player that expects us to deal with USB is an "iPod killer"
    Can this thing be used as an external drive?
    Battery life?
    Interface with iTunes or does it require its own software?

    Still USB.... blah.
    • I have a 128MB (base) CompactFlash MP3 player that does USB. What is really cool about the USB-based players is that in Windows ME, 2000, and XP, you don't need drivers or special software to interface with the MP3 player. You just plug it into the USB port and voila! Instant drive letter. It's due to a "USB Mass Storage Device" specification that all of these OSes use.

      I can load files onto my MP3 player in a matter of seconds, and I don't need funky software -- just the USB connector and any PC running a recent Windows with a USB port. I have instant expandability via Compact Flash. My MP3 player runs 12 hours on one AA battery, and the USB transfer isn't really that slow (a few minutes to fill up all 128MB.) I don't really listen to my MP3 player except while commuting on the train, so I don't feel the need to cart around a lifetime's worth of MP3s.

      The iPod (and all of these huge MP3 players) are cool. But if you need a quick-and-dirty music and file mover, you can't beat the tiny Compact Flash units. USB is quickly becoming the floppy drive of computers -- sure, it may be slow, but everyone has it. For now, until the iPod or similar players are in the $199 range, I'll be staying with the instant compatibility that a lil Compact Flash player gives me.
      • Same with the Mac, basically... but around here what you'll see are people saying that it sucks because it doesn't ship with Linux software, despite the fact that a search on Sourceforge will probably come up with many acceptable results. ;)

        I have a 128mb Rio 500 (2x64mb) and I use it with an older Power Macintosh G3. It's perfect for my many walks around downtown, but for a long drive up to the mountains or a REALLY long hike, I would much prefer the iPod. :-)
  • design (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jrs 1 ( 536357 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @05:33PM (#2833566) Homepage
    what is it with all this non-mac hardware? it's like apple have hired *all* the good minimalist product designers in the world and every other product has to be designed with virtually no sense of style[1]. it's the same for all the iMac-a-like computers and even mobile phones. can someone please design an mp3 player with reasonable specs (which this seems to have) and doesn't look like a NURBS experiment gone wrong?

    [1] noted exeptions: palm's computers and the sony playstation 2
  • by bbum ( 28021 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @05:34PM (#2833573) Homepage
    That it uses a 20GB hard drive means that it is at least twice the size. The 5gb hard drive used in the iPod is significantly smaller than the 2.5inch form factor required by the 20gb drive.

    The Riot has a USB interface... the iPod uses FireWire (1394b). End result? You can completely replace the contents on your iPod in less than 15 minutes. Even loading 5gb onto the Rio is going to take something like 10 hours -- 20gb would likely take something like *two days*.

    It is unbelievably handy/convenient/cool to be able to reload your entire portable music collection in a matter of minutes. I can get up in the morning and select 500+ tracks -- 50 albums or several playlists (depending on how I have things organized) -- based on my mood, desires, whatever... and the iPod is completely reloaded and ready to go by the time I'm out of the shower and ready to catch the train!

    All in a device that slips conveniently into a pocket, is light weight, and incredibly tough. Did you know an iPod bounces when you drop it? Mine does-- and it still works fine.

    Not too mention that having a 5gb FireWire hard drive in my pocket has proven to be damned convenient on numerous occasions. My iPod was used as a temporary holding spot for data or for sneaker net transfers no less than 4 times last week simply because it was the fastest and most convenient way to move the data around! USB wouldn't have cut it-- try moving 1gb of data across a USB bus in under a minute. (Sure, USB 2.0 can do it-- but who has USB 2.0 support on their MP3 player?)

    Don't get me wrong-- the Riot is *very cool*. But it isn't an iPod killer. They are completely different products.

    Personally, I don't need an FM tuner and really don't want a device that doesn't fit in a pocket.

    There will be those that will reply with 'but do you *really* swap your entire playlists on a regular basis? I don't and I don't miss it...'
    • by Wakko Warner ( 324 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @05:44PM (#2833629) Homepage Journal
      Let's see. USB is 12 megabits per second. Let's say that's 1 megabyte per second.

      Now, 20 gigabytes is 20,000 megabytes. So it'd take 20,000 seconds to fill the hard drive in the Riot. How long is 20,000 seconds? Well, let's do some math here.

      There are 60 seconds in a minute, and 60 minutes in an hour. That makes 3600 seconds in an hour. 3600 goes into 20,000 roughly 5 times.

      So it'd take about 5 HOURS to fill the thing, not TWO DAYS! Let's get our math straight first before we make declarative statements about the product.

      - A.P.
    • How the hell does something whose math is off by over an order of magnitude get moderated up as insightful?
  • by jarodss ( 243400 ) <> on Sunday January 13, 2002 @05:37PM (#2833588) Homepage
    Reading the early comments and seeing everyone complaining about it being USB.

    Take a look at most "pee-cee"s today, how many have Firewire? Most people don't have Firewire, they do have usb though.

    So stop saying that everything needs to be firewire, yes it will take a while to fill a 20gig mp3 player with a usb connection, but how many times are you going to need to reload 20 gigs of music, if your like me you get a few cds a month and rip them at the same time, at that point I have between 2 and 4 hundred megs, and that doesn't take long to transfer with a usb connection when I only have to do it once or twice a month.

    And on a side note, does this thing act as a portable hard drive? I know some of the harddrive/mp3 players do and that would make it even more useful, with my 11 or 12 gigs of mp3 and a divx video or 6 in the rest of the space i'd be set, even my parents have usb on their pc.
    • Take a look at most "pee-cee"s today, how many have Firewire? Most people don't have Firewire, they do have usb though.

      When I look at my machines here, and also think about what I've got at work, it's pretty clear: these portable players need SCSI interfaces. ;-)

  • Um, geez, guys, the first time you copy over ALL your mp3s, why not do it overnight? I mean, this isn't exactly rocket science. How many of you who are complaining about the USB interface on the Rio Riot still use 10 megabit ethernet?

    - A.P.
    • How many of you who are complaining about the USB interface on the Rio Riot still use 10 megabit ethernet

      A lot of the people who have iPods with FireWire transfer probably also have a Power Mac, so they have 1000BASE-T ethernet ;)

  • by pneuma_66 ( 1830 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @05:39PM (#2833596)
    After reading the article, and reading sonicblue's page, i still couldnt find two key specs for this machine, size and weight. I really think that this is because that the iPod is much smaller and weighs much less.

    I own an iPod, and I prefer having a tiny device, that i can fit in my pocket, or even in the cellphone compartment on my bag. Also, the riot is still USB, i couldnt even imagine how long it would take to fill up the drive. I have a hard time waiting for the three or four minutes it takes to fill up my ipod.

    Everyone also says that the 5gb on the ipod is not enough, and i thought that also, until i got one. I can hold around 700 songs encoded at 192k on the hard drive, which is 2 days worth of music. Now when are you going to listen to the complete 8 days worth of music on your Riot?
  • by Lally Singh ( 3427 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @05:39PM (#2833598) Journal
    I swear I've seen this device before. My younger brother used to play video games on it. It had the thinnest cartridges... And as everyone's pointed out, iPod killer my hairy ass...
  • by KILNA ( 536949 ) <> on Sunday January 13, 2002 @05:40PM (#2833607) Homepage Journal
    I'd much rather have a wireless network connected device capable of streaming the music off of my home machine and various other places on the net based off of my listening preferences. The thing I like about the radio is its ability to introduce me to new music. The thing I hate about the radio is its complete inability to know my preferences. Freeamp [] is a step in the right direction, but I still haven't managed to get any decent recommendations from it. Music Match [] makes an attempt as well, but their interface is practically unusable to me. And neither recommendation system is in the form of a net-enabled portable unit yet. *sigh*
  • Everyone says the iPod is only Mac-compatible... you need XPlay [] by MediaFour. Then you can use your iPod on a PC -- under Windows, anyhow. No Linux support yet, but I know some enterprising programmer will release software soon.

    MediaFour had a demo of XPlay at MacWorld, running on XP, and I have to admit it was pretty sexy.

  • by cosmicg ( 313545 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @05:42PM (#2833620)
    I'm holding out for the inclusion of "Amplitude Modulation" technology. I read a preview of it in the July 1899 issue of American Electrician-- it looks like it will be *the* format for christian and sports talk broadcasts.
  • I saw a picture of this being handled on TechTV, and it's much bulkier than the iPod. The iPod is a far more convenient form-factor for a portable player, IMO, and I predict that the Rio Riot's sales will suffer for that reason. That said, it has an interesting feature that the iPod lacks: it will create a favorites list based on your usage, which the TechTV guy loved.
  • iPod interface (Score:2, Interesting)

    In terms of interface, I find it hard to believe that the iPod can be easily topped. I've had mine since thanksgiving, and have been fascinated by it.

    Not only is it awesome as an mp3 player (excellent sound quality, great battery life, fast connection, high capacity), or as an external hd (I've used it to fix broken macs by booting off it). What I find most impressive of all is the fact that its ui is unbelievably efficient at getting you to the song, playlist, artist, album, etc. you want to hear.

    In terms of usability and 'learning curve', my grandfather figured out how to use it in about 3 minutes, without my telling him anything about it. Granted, he limited himself to the gigabyte-or-so that I have of classical music, but still, he was impressed at how easy it was to use.

    The Riot seems to be a slick little machine, and its 20 gb are very impressive. But, as people have already mentioned, 20 gb over USB are worth more than a few coffee breaks' wait...

    Not to discredit the Riot's interface, but the jog dial doesn't let you go all the way around, which wouldn't let you really speed up (crucial element of iPod's navigation), and the buttons aren't in the center of the dial, but off to the side, so you'd have to take your thumb off the dial, move it up or down and push accordingly, as opposed to having the main button right there and the others right around the dial. In addition, the Riot seems to require 2-handed operation. On the other hand, though, the larger screen is impressive, and the hints at a graphical interface as opposed to a text-driven one make me quite curious.

    The fact that I can do everything I could possibly want to with one hand on my iPod (with one finger, mind you) is one of the most fascinating aspects of the interface. And FireWire makes it all manageable. As soon as I get a new CD and rip it, I update my playlists and within seconds I'm good to go, new music and all. I'm very happy with my iPod, as you could have guessed. But it would be stupid to say that it's unsurpassable. It's just very difficult, but my eyes are open...

  • by phloda ( 530937 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @05:57PM (#2833673) Journal
    I did a quick comparison of the old iPod to Sonic Blue's new Rio RIOT. Although tech specs are still forthcoming, the Flash technology tour of the Rio RIOT made it easy to tell that this is absolutely an iPod killer.

    old iPod: One Boring Scroll Wheel, 5 buttons

    Rio RIOT: Scroll Wheel, Game-Boy Pointer, and five buttons, including two on the left side for volume!

    old iPod: IE1394 (what issat?)

    Rio RIOT: USB! Everyone has it! Soon it will be five times as fast with USB2 technology!

    old iPod: looks like a zippo, sized like pack of cigarrettes

    Rio RIOT: ergonomically styled like Game Boy Advance, in sleek charcoal plastique!

    old iPod: select by artist, album, or manual playlist

    Rio RIOT: intellegent audio wizard detects your favorites and plays them back for you!

    old iPod: made by Apple, a company going out of business

    Rio RIOT: produced by Sonic Blue, a recognized leader in MP3 technology!

    I think the message is clear. Sonic Blue has an iPod killer on it's hands with the Rio RIOT. Thank you Slashdot for letting us know quick!
    • I have IE1394 (firewire) on my Compaq laptop []. It's not as uncommon as you think, it's just been slow to be adopted.
  • The Rio Riot seems like a good idea, but I'd personally like to see a wireless NIC and some P2P software built in. Imagine sharing files automatically by just walking around...
  • 400 dollars is a lot to pay for a 20 gig hard drive and some electronics. I got a solution to the price problem.

    Look at your hard drive, just grab one, any of them. Turn it over, thats nice.. Now look at the electronics on the other side.

    I see a 256k ram buffer chip. I see a microcontroller. I see various other parts and pieces that tell me that with a few changes in the PCB layout, there is NO reason hard drives couldn't be factory shipped with the ability to play MP3's. The hard drive im looking at is an ancient quantum 240 meg drive too. Just add your own battery and case and voila.

    If maxtor, seagate, or any other ppl from a hard drive company is reading this post, please pressure you boss into doing this. It would give you a place to sell hard drives other than in computers.
  • It looks to me like an iPod killer

    Everything has to be compared violently to Apple, eh? Kill the iMac and kill the iPod! :)

    What might be a killer product but not an iPod killer is the Jukebox Multimedia - Portable Entertainment Center []. Archos makes some interesting products. I have an Archos Jukebox 6000 but now use an iPod -- its nice but the size and firewire device of the iPod make it my choice. The Jukebox Multimedia - Portable Entertainment Center is a handheld entertainment center, which combines an MP3 and WMA music player and recorder, plus built-in microphone, photo album and carousel, still camera and camcorder, plus video player and recorder according to their web site. The player has a 10 Gig hard drive. It uses USB 1.0, USB 2.0 and Firewire for transfering information back and forth. It even has a little LCD window to view pictures and movies on the device. Looks like it is the same size as the Riot. Could be a nice data wallet/purse.

  • Neither of these impressed me much. They're hideous next to an iPod.

    Anyone know of a CompactFlash based MP3 player? CF type I is now coming in sizes up to 1GB, and could be used to make an absolutely TINY device. (never mind the power-hungry IBM Microdrives)
  • by SuperMacNinja ( 78474 ) <gus AT redvsblue DOT com> on Sunday January 13, 2002 @06:16PM (#2833746) Homepage
    So everyone complains that the iPod is overpriced at $399 but this Rio product is "priced competitively" at $399? This just blows my mind.
  • The only question is -- how big is this thing?

    Well, if their pictures are to scale looking at it and the headphones makes me think it is roughly the size of a paperback book, which makes sense if you look at all the crap they cram on the display. If it were iPod sized there would be about four lines of text (they rotated the display).

    To me that makes it basically useless. I use the iPod when running, when waling the dog, and sometimes if I have to wait in line. If I'll be somewhere I can lug around that thing I may as well take my laptop which also has all my music, and some other diversions. Maybe other people will have some other focus for the device and like it better, but to me a portable music player should really be portable, not luggable.

    The iPod also has a few other nice, but not killer features that this thing seems to lack.

  • by mike_lynn ( 463952 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @06:35PM (#2833804)
    Find it here [].
    Apparently it's from the 2002 International CES. The page [] it's from is in Japanese, but has several other pics showing front/back/side.

    Oh, here's [] one more, even closer up, from SuperSite.
  • Their DJ functionality is vagly similar to my application Sondra that I made this last summer.

    Visit the Sondra website at: sondra/ [].

    Sondra can be downloaded and used right now without buying any hardware.

    Sondra will create playlists based upon how good the song is (based upon ranking), # of times played, how new it is. i.e. the better a song is the more it will be played.

    And anyone can go and re-compile it for windows if they want.

    -Benjamin Meyer
  • iPod killer? (Score:3, Redundant)

    by sporty ( 27564 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @06:45PM (#2833849) Homepage
    Man, the size and weight difference is huge! The only way these devices would kill the iPod is if you dropped them on top of an iPod. And even then you'd have to drop the Rio from a very great height since the fringgin' iPod's are durable.
  • Isn't SonicBlue the company that has been causing problems with their patents on digital video recorders? I don't think it's good to support them.
  • The first portable jukebox that will funtion flawlessly under Linux using standard run of the mill: "insmod usb-storage".
  • More info... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vukv ( 550649 )
    As I can see, many ppl seem to have wrong info about rio riot... so here is some: - It fits palm of your hand - It has lithium ion battery for 10-12 hours of playback (charges 5 hours) - includes fm tuner - big screen (240x160) - every real reviewer who saw it so far said it was the easiest to manage, including ipod - ships with itunes & real jukebox... keep in mind, for ipod, you need to pay extra for Win software - it plays mp3 and wma, no copy protection (sonicblue is known for that anyway) - awesome headphones (for bundled hp) - every reviewer (Cnet, forbes, techtv) said it looked super sleek and was nicely designed overal USB only is a bit of a let down but people please, how many of you are going to upload 20 GB of mp3's every day?

  • Pjbox [] has had a 20Gb mp3 player out for over an year. Why wait for a new player to come, when others use one already?

  • Their latest gadget [] is really neat: high speed transfers via USB2.0 (I'd prefer FireWire, but...), and it can do MP3 music quality recording and encoding right in the box. They are a bit bigger than the iPod, but so is the Rio probably.
  • MP3 CD players (Score:3, Informative)

    by duren686 ( 463275 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @07:34PM (#2834015) Homepage Journal
    Personally, in terms of money per storage space, I like my MPTrip clone [].. I rarely ever listen to more than 11 hours of music at a time, and this thing works wonderfully. Despite the warning on the page, it actually does read CD-RW's, and when I have to change it, it takes about 9 minutes and I'm done. Best of all, this thing is er.. competitively priced [], and it's a very high-quality first-gen mp3/cd player.

    If you're willing to spend a bit more and don't mind not having Duren686's Personal Seal of Approval, you can try the AVC Soul Player []. I've never used one, but I've heard nothing but good about it, and as an added bonus, the upgradeable firmware gives it the possibility of reading OGG files.
  • Yeah, it looks big and heavy, it can probably destroy an iPod with one blow.
  • by guttentag ( 313541 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @08:15PM (#2834150) Journal
    It seems like all the new portable MP3 players achieve huge capacities by using hard drives for storage, but I'm not sure this is a great thing.
    • Battery life. A hard drive contains moving parts that need to be spun, and that sucks up battery life. Laptops spin down their hard drives often to lengthen battery life. Thse players may do that as well, storing the current song in memory, but "spinning up" the drive to copy it to memory is still going to take a lot more out of the battery than a flash memory card. One AA battery lasts 30 hours in my Rio PMP300.
    • Hard drives fail. I've seen plenty of desktop hard drives fail. I can't imagine the failure rate for drives that bounce around during your morning jog or your morning race to catch the train. My Rio has taken a lot of abuse over the last 3 years, and I've never had a problem.
    If you want to carry 4,000 songs with you, it's great that you can do that, but are there companies still providing new options for people who aren't moonlighting DJs? :oP
  • This is not an ipod killer, its a nomad jukebox killer. I don't think this is designed to be a "pocket player." That being said, I think this device has a lot of potential.

    As far as firewire concerned, its only useful when you put your collection on the player for the first time. After that, most people will update their player with a few tracks at a time for which the speed of USB is surely enough.

  • Moodlogic (Score:2, Informative)

    by elrond1999 ( 88166 )
    Rio now uses Moodlogic to sort mp3s automagicaly into genres and moods ;) I think moodlogic is excelent ;) More users should try it.. hr ead=52
  • by BeBoxer ( 14448 ) on Sunday January 13, 2002 @08:45PM (#2834234)
    I don't understand why there is such an unreasonable anti-Apple bias around here. First we have the story about the Shuttle where poster feels compelled to compare it to the iMac. "I find these little gems cuter than any iMac I've ever seen!" What kind of crap is that? Do you know what cute means? The shuttle case looks just like any other case, only smaller. It's not cute. It's not cool. It's just a small case that is just as ugly as a regular ATX case. At least the iMac and iMac2 had innovative designs. And they both would qualify as "cute" by most people's definition. The Shuttle is certainly not cute.

    Then we have the "iPod killer" from Rio. Eh? The thing looks like it's the size of a brick, and I'm sure just as fun to carry around. And why is the Rio "priced competatively"? They used all cheaper components than the iPod, yet charge the same price? And that's competative? And the iPod is "overpriced" because it uses higer quality components for the same price? What the hell are you people smoking? The iPod uses a brand new high tech hard drive which lets the whole iPod be the size of just the hard drive in the Rio. The Rio is plastic, versus metal for the iPod (can you say more durable?) And what makes the reviewer think the interface is better than Apple's? Has dschuetz actually used either one? I doubt it.

    Is it going to show up as a generic USB mass storage device? Or am I going to have to use some half-assed experimental driver to get it to work under Linux? I would say the chance of Linux support is low based upon the support they've given their other products. Sonic Blue might use Linux internally in their products, but have they provided Linux drivers for anything? Ever? Certainly not for their MP3 players. As far as I can tell, any MP3 player which doesn't show up as a generic mass storage device (like the iPod does) is nothing but a Window's centric RIAA-pandering product. I don't know why Slashdot editor would think that was cool. The only reason to not have an MP3 player act as a generic mass storage device is to keep the RIAA happy. And unless the company actually provides Linux drivers (which Sonic Blue does not) you are resigning yourself to half-assed buggy support. Bah.
  • People get so hung up on tech specs that they ignore the most important for a portable device:
    Size & Weight.

    The SONICblue device looks like it is about 3times the size and weight of the appple product. Hardly something you can carry with you in your shirt pocket.
  • Kind of Like (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spacefrog ( 313816 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @01:58AM (#2835071)
    Saying this device is an iPod killer reminds me of the people driving souped-up Camero's who rattle on and on about how they "toasted that Porsche at the stop light" and feel that is an accomplishment. Dragstrip performance is important, well, at the track. You can't compare that to a well-rounded package and expect me not to laugh.

    In this analogy, the iPod is a shiny, brand new 911. A wonderfully and carefully engineered piece of precision machinery. An art form.

    The Rio product is heavy, clunky, and ugly. It really only beats the iPod in one area: capacity. So what? Would you rather fill an iPod with six gigs of music in five minutes, or fill the Rio with 20 gigs in five hours? Hmmmm.

    The two products being compared cost the same . . . .

    And to those who complain about the fact that not every PC has firewire: Anybody with a screwdriver and a spare 10 minutes can add firewire for about $30. Get over it.
  • by Zarnoff ( 20196 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @03:04AM (#2835179) Homepage
    Archos has a 20GB mp3 player/recorder (analog and digital hardware mp3 encoding on the fly), it's only slightly larger than the iPod and uses USB2.0 (about 12MB/sec, not firewire but a vast improvement over USB1.0).

    It's $369 and available Feb. 1 tml [] []

  • by Namarrgon ( 105036 ) on Monday January 14, 2002 @04:09AM (#2835244) Homepage
    This [] is more like it.

    - 20 GB drive
    - USB2 (i.e. Firewire speeds, but still backwards compatible with ubiquitous USB1 when you need it)
    - Records :-)
    - 10 hour life
    - Usable as portable harddrive; you can put non-MP3 files on there and get them off again (unlike iPod)
    - Cheaper: US$369

    - 350g

    It ain't as small & sexy as an iPod, but it's undoubtably more useful. ALL your music on tap (OK, a lot of it at least), a portable drive that plugs anywhere and is usably fast, and it records too :-)

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?