Crave noted recently that radios, of all things, seem to be blazing new trails in audio technology on a daily basis. And this latest product out of Sweden is a perfect example.
The "PopCatcher MusicDock MD-601" is kind of an automatic TiVo for radio, scanning only for music and skipping over any advertisements, DJ chatter or anything else between songs. It then records the tunes on what it claims are "perfectly cut, high-quality MP3 files" on whatever media player is docked in the device.
The problem, according to our cousins at Crave UK, is repetition. In a hands-on test, PopCatcher did indeed catch a lot of pop--all of it, regardless of how many times it was duplicated: Of 103 tracks recorded on a 1GB player over 48 hours, only 33 were unique. The files can be edited, of course, but that might prove a more odious task than it's worth.
The flip side (apologies) is that sound quality was excellent, and PopCatcher will work with digital Internet radio as well as traditional broadcasts. And anything that cuts out commercials gets high marks in our book.