France 24 Live for iPhone review

If you have access to satellite television in the UK, even free-to-air only channels, you may have seen France 24. Available via satellite, cable and online around the world, France 24 is an international news and current affairs television channel with an excellent reputation for quality reporting all from a French perspective and sensibility.

Funded by the French government and based in Paris, the channel offers a comprehensive news service in French, Arabic and despite the protests of President Nicolas Sarkozy in English. The channel has an editorial team of 260 journalists from 35 different countries and can call on a worldwide network of correspondents. France 24 Live for iPhone for iPhone and iPod touch streams the various Internet feeds to great effect, offering a mix of live and recorded content.

iPhone coverage is divided into several sections, live, latest news, business, culture, sports and weather. The first is clearly live, or as near live as online streaming gets, while the others offer the most recent coverage from each, usually from earlier in the day.

Michael Jackson's body on the way to an emotional memorial service broadcast on France 24.

Streaming on a WiFi connection is generally good and we even managed to view the channel on a train once logged into a free hot spot with only the occasional buffering delays. 3G and EDGE networks are also supported and both use low bandwidth streaming at 100 kbits by default, according to the makers.

For Francophiles, coverage of French politics, business and culture is covered comprehensively and the range and depth of studio discussions are commendable. Some French content is dubbed into English while others have French correspondents and guests speaking English. For Arabic viewers coverage isn't yet 24 hours a day but normally the Arabic language service runs from early afternoon to late night most days. Long term, France 24 aims to compete with the BBC and CNN in providing global coverage.

OUR VERDICT

If you want to view a slightly different take on UK news and see a much wider picture of world events unfolding then France 24 Live is worthy of download. Away from straight news, current affairs are intelligently tackled, while lifestyle and culture lovers are well served. For those mastering French, or even Arabic, it's also a useful tool to have, with the ability to flip between each available language and channel feed.

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