There are several problems with traditional radio. One is that there is a limited number of frequencies available, and this limits the number of stations that you are able to pick up. It is something that has been addressed to some extent by digital radio, but it has not solved things completely.
Then, of course, there is Internet radio. This opened up a whole new world of listening opportunities and if you want to avoid having to navigate from one station’s web site to another, you’re going to need a dedicated app. This is exactly what TuneIn Radio is.
Introducing TuneIn Radio
There are so many online radio stations to choose from it can seem impossible to know where to begin, but TuneIn Radio makes things very simple. If there are ones you know of, you can use the Browse function to track them down, but you can also look through the directory of stations to find those that specialise in different styles of music, sports or news.
Your current location can be used to track down stations that specific to where you are — great when you’re on holiday and want to listen to local broadcasts to find out what’s going on in the area — and you can also see what’s proving popular with other users in the Trending section.
You’re likely to find a number of radio stations that you want to listen to more often than others, and to save you from having to search for them each time you need them, you can build up a list of favorites for easy access.
The regular version of the app is available free of charge, but it is worth considering parting with some money. There is also a Pro version of the app available, and while this is a relatively low-cost upgrade — it will set you back just $0.99 / £0.69 — there are not all that many extra features. If the ability to record as you listen or schedule recordings seems like it would be handy to you, then you may feel that this is worthwhile.
TuneIn Radio’s interface is pleasingly designed and wonderfully easy to use. There is a strong focus on the graphical side of things, but all of the tools you need remain easily accessible. This means that you can view station logos, track information and other data with ease, but this is not at the expense of the basic controls you could need access to at any time.
A simple set of controls at the bottom of the screen enable you to start and stop playback, record live broadcasts, adjust volume and skip and forth.
When listening to broadcasts — although it’s also worth mentioning that you can also use the app to listen to podcasts — track information is displayed in a large pane and tapping this provides access to a number of options. This includes the ability to bookmark individual tracks, access a radio station’s website or Twitter feed, and also buy tracks on iTunes.
To the right of this there’s a separate section that is used to highlight other related broadcasts that you might like as well as providing you with access to your most recent and favorite stations so you can easily switch.
Assuming you have your iPad in the bedroom, the app serves a great aid to not only falling asleep but also waking up. There’s a built-in alarm function that can be used to play your favorite station when you need to get up, and the sleep timer is available to ensure that the app shuts down after a certain length of time when you listen as you drift off at night.
There’s also a handy scheduling option that can be used to record broadcasts that are on when you’re not going to be able to manually hit the record button. To cater for weekly or daily shows, there is a repeat option to save you from having to configure countless schedules.
There are not many settings that you need to concern yourself with; for the most part, this is an app that just works. However, you can opt to disable the app when you are using a data connection to help avoid hefty charges, and you can adjust the buffer that’s used to ensure stutter-free playback.
You can also change the function of the forward and backward buttons. You can choose between having these buttons skip back and forth by 30 seconds at a time, or make use of stream info — with compatible broadcasts — to jump between tracks and broadcast breaks.
Put simply, TuneIn Radio has no competition when vying for the crown for the best radio app — nothing else comes close. Whether you decide to use free version or the Pro edition, you’re getting a great tool, but the extra options you get in the paid for version mean that this could be the best $0.99 you’ll spend.