'Music In. Commercials Out'

Myine's Abbee radio uses Popcatcher to strip out commercials and jocks from FM stations. Is that a good thing?
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Jake Sigal, founder and CEO of Myine Electronics, told me at the recent CES convention that he designed his new "commercial-free" FM radio with his parents in mind.

"I give my parents my old iPods. They don't use them," because they don't want to go through the process of connecting the devices to a computer, downloading music and creating a playlist to hear the music.

Myine's Abbee model AB001 promises to remove the commercials and DJ talk for hours of uninterrupted music. Whether that's a good thing depends, I suppose, on how you feel about commercials and DJs.

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Sigal said when you tune to a station, the FM tuner records the audio stream. Using Popcatcher technology, a "detection algorithm," it analyzes the audio and removes the spots and DJ patter. The individual songs are saved as MP3 files and stored on the docked Music Lock portable player for playback over the built-in speakers or elsewhere. The player has a 500 song capacity, or 2 GB of storage space, according to the company.

Myine worked with the National Federation for the Blind to make the portable player accessible. The buttons for skip, pause, play, fast-forward, as well as save and delete commands are all raised and are different shapes.

The Abbee commercial-free music system is shipping now and available from Myine and Amazon. It lists for $249.99.

And here's another unique part — or scary part, for a commercial music station. Sweden-based Popcatcher says its technology "can be integrated with almost every kind of media player that contains a radio." It's pursuing deals to integrate its technology in cell phones, portable MP3 players, and car stereos. Popcatcher says it can detect repeat songs and skip those, too.

Let me know your thoughts about this technology at Lstimson@nbmedia.com.

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