Version Reviewed: 1.7.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad
iPhone/iPad Integration Rating:
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There's no shortage of radio apps on the App Store, but good, inexpensive ones with a large number of station choices are a bit harder to find than most. That's where TuneIn Radio comes into play. TuneIn provides solid support for Radiotime presets as well as DVR-style controls for rewinding and recording favorite songs and shows.
The core interface for TuneIn Radio looks an awful lot like iTunes, but that's not a bad thing. The left-hand side of the screen displays major headings for radio stations - from location-based stations, to music, talk or sports. Choosing one of these opens sub-menus, and each of these opens a sub-menu, and so on and so on until you find a station you prefer. Stations are imported from the online Radiotime service, so there are literally thousands to choose from, plus you can enter specific URLs for more esoteric stations that might not be featured via Radiotime. If you've already got a Radiotime account (as I do, since I use Radiotime with WunderRadio) all you have to do is enter your user name and password and your favorites/bookmarks will be imported. Otherwise, you'll create bookmarks as you work your way through the program. Either way works smoothly and seamlessly, so you will not have a hard time creating a cache of your favorite stations in no time.
What really sets TuneIn apart from its competitors, however, is its use of DVR-style record/rewind/fast forward functions. At any point during a listening session, all you have to do is click the record button and you will record as long as you remain on that station (it will even spool back and record the bit you listened to before clicking record). Even better, you can set a timer on your iPad or iPhone (TuneIn is, gratefully, a universal app) to begin recording when and what you want. Have a favorite daily show? No problem. Just set the timer and listen at your convenience. The background tasking of iOS 4.2 means you don't have to keep the program open in order for this to work either.
Recordings are all stored, naturally enough, under the "Recordings" side heading, but therein lies a small problem. There is no way to export your recordings or save them to anything other than TuneIn. This sounds like more of a issue with Apple than with the app developer, but it would certainly be nice to export your saved programs to iTunes or other similar programs.
Finally, it should be noted that TuneIn supports audio-only AirPlay features, so you can send programs to your Apple TV if you wish. It's not an Earth-shaking feature, but it's a nice inclusion nonetheless.
TuneIn handles streaming audio (and recording that audio) very well. Considering its low price point of $0.99, and the fact that it's a universal app, it's a good choice for anyone looking for a radio app for their iPad and iPhone.