On-Screen User Interface
You don’t get a full color display with the Myine Ira. Instead, it’s a blue-backlit display with simple lines of text. It’s not the flashiest-looking thing in the world, but this really isn’t all that different than many satellite radio receivers and similar devices.
It’s quite notable that the Ira doesn’t have any hardware controls whatsoever. There are no buttons or switches on the device itself. Instead, the entire interface is done through the remote control. This can a little frustrating if you are right next to the Ira and you can’t even turn it off or adjust the volume.
Since everything is done through the remote and this tier-based menu interface, the user interaction can a little clunky and slow, especially when you compare it to the sleek interface of something like the new Zune HD or iPod touch.
Connecting to the Network
As mentioned earlier, the Myine Ira is compatible with a wide range of standard Wi-Fi networks. If your home wireless network uses WEP, WPA, or WPA encryption, you’re covered. Unlike some other consumer products that connect to Wi-Fi networks, like certain digital photo frames, the Ira will also be able to connect manually to your network if you choose not to broadcast the SSID. This takes a little bit of extra effort, but it does work.
The setup process only takes a couple of minutes and, assuming that you aren’t going to move the Ira from one location to another, you only have to go through this setup process once.
If your home wireless network is broadcasting its SSID, you can make use of the wizard and it will walk you through the process quite quickly. Just like other consumer Wi-Fi devices, like smartphones and netbooks, the wizard will scan for networks in the area and show you their SSIDs.
However, the first screen of the scan will not show you whether these networks are open or protected. This isn’t very useful if you plan on leaching a connection from your neighbor, but it’s not a major hurdle if you are only looking for your own network.
This Keyboard Is a Pain
Going through the menu and the connection wizard isn’t terrible, since you are only scrolling up and down to go through the various options, but entering text is a huge pain in the rear end.
You’ll need to make use of an on-screen keyboard if you need to enter your SSID manually or if you need to enter the network key for your WEP/WPA/WPA2-protected connection. Using the credit card-sized remote, you use the four directional buttons to go to each letter. This takes forever. Thankfully, you only have to endure this once.
Finding Your Internet Radio Station
Since the Myine Ira is preprogrammed to access over 11,000 stations, it can take you quite some time to find the station that you’d like to enjoy. Depending on your musical interests, the lists can be very long.
There are several ways that you can sift through the collection on the Ira Wi-Fi Internet Radio. You can shorten the list based on location, so you don’t get stuck with some stations from the Netherlands or Bolivia if that’s not what you want.
The location-based search is based on country only, however, so I couldn’t narrow it down to Vancouver-based stations; I could only look for Canadian stations. Getting into each country, you can then narrow the list further based on genre. Depending on these choices, you may still find yourself going through countless options, five stations at a time. Pop stations in the USA, as you can imagine, are quite numerous.