Tue, 09 Oct 2012 BBC iPlayer Radio for iPhone and iPad review
Listen to live radio from all the BBC’s UK radio stations with new dedicated app
- Manufacturer: Media Applications Technologies
- Distributor: BBC
- Pros: National, local, BBC World Service, podcasts and catch-up services available in one app; attractive interface; built in EPG, alarms, alerts; AirPlay and Bluetooth streaming capabilities; free.
- Cons: Some content, sports particularly, restricted to listeners in the UK or not available to catch-up; search function needs improving; other radio apps cover wider range of channels; lacks ability to record and listen to content offline; likely to use valuable data limits over 3G.
- Min specs: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 5.0 or later.
- Price: Free
- Star rating:
Newly introduced, BBC iPlayer Radio brings together the corporation's vast and varied radio output into one dedicated, convenient app for computers, iOS devices and soon Android smartphones and tablets. It's a welcome move, complementing the BBC's popular iPlayer player while emphasising audio over visual content. The BBC has a lot of audio content to offer - both live and archived via catch-up and podcasts - which clearly can get overlooked in the search for the latest episodes of popular TV shows like EastEnders, Top Gear and Doctor Who.
BBC iPlayer Radio uses a virtual dial to show a decent range of channels and their current output, offering brief now and next details of each show. Click on any to reveal further details, including duration and what similar shows might be available to listen to again. In landscape mode you can view a more compact EPG showing all current programming across the main BBC stations.
Frustratingly, 'All Local Stations' are grouped under 'Find Local Radio,' which defaults to your current location, not ideal if you are hoping to listen to local content from your home town while based elsewhere. Disappointingly, the built-in search function failed to find any matching results for either 'BBC Radio Humberside' or simply 'Humberside,' but the station is there, listed under All Local Stations.
A dedicated Podcast section includes a similar search function or you can browse categories, including Featured, Recently Launched and Browse Stations, which includes archived content but not all content from local radio, nothing for instance currently from BBC Radio Merseyside. On the plus side users can set reminders for when favourite or popular shows are next on and even set an alarm to wake up to the sound of music and chat.
BBC iPlayer Radio also offers some video content - live performances for instance - which while an added bonus doesn't yet add anything to the experience of listening to radio and may prove a distraction. The app doesn't yet allow the downloading of content for listening offline and some programming, live sports coverage particularly, are restricted by location and broadcasting rights.
Wed, 10 Oct 2012Reviewed by: willduo
Duration of ownership: 2 days
Strengths: I have started to use this to wake me up in the morning - it seems to work very well as an internet radio. The alarm feature is a bonus.
Weaknesses: I will continue to use the Apple Podcast app because it means you can listen when off line, walking the dog or on a train.
Overall Evaluation: So far it is impressive and actually much better than listening to BBC radio via Safari for some reason. Early days still but so far I am impressed.