Why switching allegiance isn't always bad: I'm now using TuneIn Radio Pro

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

The moment I purchased my iPhone 4S more than six months ago, my first thought was oddly focused on getting a great radio application for it -- I'm a radio maniac. I spent a few days researching here and there, trying to sift through the App Store, AppleVis and a couple of more relevant websites. At the time I came to the conclusion that ooTunes Radio was the best app of its ilk despite its $4.99 price tag. The app was almost synonymous with the phrase "the most variegated selection of stations" which is enticing in and out of itself. Moreover, it has a developer who responds to all emails and is very much committed to VoiceOver support -- what else did I want? I was happy with ooTunes Radio for a few months; however, once I found and tried TuneIn Radio Pro, (a $0.99 app), it instantly became the major gateway to my iOS radio experience. Now I'm not telling everyone to ditch their radio apps in favor of TuneIn Radio Pro -- I still have ooTunes Radio on my iPhone 4S, but I believe it's very important for us to be able to compare commercial applications to figure out which one does a better job.

Which one really has more channels?

Having used both apps extensively, I don't think ooTunes Radio offers many more stations. It sure has a leg-up on TuneIn Radio Pro when it comes to some TV channels which offer audio streams (CNN and Sky come to mind) -- TuneIn Radio Pro doesn't offer them. That's very much all about it: TuneIn as apparently as rich a radio app as ooTunes is.

Organization carries the day

TuneIn Radio Pro is less cluttered and much more organized than ooTunes Radio. If you search for something in ooTunes Radio, you'll get multiple entries for each channel. That's not bad and everyone appreciates the provision of multiple choices, but such a method of displaying search results on the screen makes navigation very cumbersome. You can't tell which one has a better audio quality and the numbers accompanying each entry aren't always indicative of the oddities of each station. Sometimes entries for each channel get mixed with entries for adjacent channels. TuneIn Radio Pro, on the other hand, tackles this very gracefully. Each search will yield one entry per channel. However, once you open and play it, you can use the Options button for that channel to view and possibly select other entries. TuneIn Radio Pro even selects the best entry for each channel so you need not worry about the possibility of forgoing higher quality. The Options dialog is always worth a look, though.

I don't like stations without program names

What TuneIn Radio Pro does which is an absolute nonentity in ooTunes Radio is providing access to programs and previous episodes of those shows. So in essence it's more of a podcatcher, meaning you can use the Search edit box in the Browse tab of the app to look for programs, find out which stations are carrying them, listen to previous episodes of those programs, and, last but not least, add each of them to your Presets. This way, for instance, I easily listen to my favorite NPR programs "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" and even listen to their previous episodes separated by particular stories and program segments. Honestly that's the feature which ultimately lured me. To be fair, however, ooTunes Radio is the output of a one-man company whereas TuneIn Radio Pro has many developers and is sort of a multi-million Dollar venture. It's available for many platforms other than the iOS and the fine-tuning of its database is better streamlined. Sadly, that describes the difference between the nature of the two.

And what about accessibility?

Both apps are accessible with a couple of minor caveats. ooTunes Radio has a problem with its Search feature -- when searching is complete, one can't instantly move to the results and moving to that area via swiping to the right plays a VoiceOver-related ding. However, re-swiping from the top of the page takes care of that. As others have noticed, V2.7 of TuneIn Radio Pro has a problem affecting the identification of its Search text box with swiping: it's on the screen and should be selected via touch, but doesn't gain focus via swiping left and right. I suggest that those who use it report the bug to the developers. TuneIn Radio Pro gets updated on a regular basis (the last one was made available about 40 days ago), but it's been almost 10 months since the last release of ooTunes Radio hit the App Store.

Final words

If you have purchased ooTunes Radio, don't regret it. On a more abstract topic, I'm glad iOS has reached a point where we have two or more accessible and competing apps to carry out special and routine tasks. However, if you're after the features I mentioned above, take a stab at TuneIn Radio Pro. It's worth mentioning that the developers have made another application, TuneIn Radio, available on the App Store. It's a free app which offers most of the features found in its Pro sibling other than audio recording. If you want to make your first radio app purchase, my recommendation is now TuneIn Radio Pro which is substantially cheaper and loaded with exciting features ready for you to play with.

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14 Comments

#1 TuneInRadio

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

TuneInRadio is my pick as well. I own both but I just keep coming back to TuneInRadio and how has a permanent home on my device. By the way you can get CNN on TuneInRadio. I have that set up as one of my Favorite Preset. The minor glitch I am not worried about because once they are aware of that problem they are very exceptance of wanting to fix those issues for us. So speaking of that I will drop them a note. Great blog by the way!

#2 About CNN

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Thanks. As for CNN, it seems to me that TuneIn Radio Pro allows us to gain access to its radio station whereas ooTunes Radio also has the audio stream of the TV channel. With CNN's channel(s) TuneIn Radio always gives me a "forbidden" message -- that's perhaps I'm not in the USA.

#3 I recommend.

Yes. In my opinion, this app is just awesome! I recommend it! Including the tunein Radio (Free) is quite satisfactory. Despite the inconvenience of not being able to record the radio programming. I'm considering getting the tunein Radio Pro. Congratulations to the excellent AppleVis Site, always providing us with great tips.

#4 Thanks for the review

Thanks for the review. I had to replace my news radio app WCBS NY as they updated the app and the new one is awful and removed the radio stations I listened to, so this review couldn't have come at a better time for me. I had Tune In radio for months but never really played around with it until last night, and just heard of OOTunes today, and was close to purchasing it until your review. My primary listening it to talk radio and sports I use MLB At Bat to listen to baseball games, and wish the NFL would do the same with audio for their games. I have purchased an app called Pro radio that has given me a quick way to listen to football games, and is working with the preseason games, so hopefully it will work once the season starts. I think it was .99 I also purchased college football for college football radio games. I am curious to know if Tune In or OOTunes gets pro and college football games? Also is the recording feature really that necessary? I have the free version of Tune In Thanks.

#5 Pro Football

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Actually, you can get NFL games on TuneInRadio. There is a bit of work to find the game but I have done this before.There are times that I just couldn't find the game because it was either blacked out or not available. Just do a search on NFL. This will bring up the teams. Typically, if the games are on or will be on. They will be listed towards the top of the list.

#6 Thanks

Thanks Anonymouse. Will have to try checking for games next time they are on. I did a quick search today for MLB games and didn't see any come up, but do have MLB At Bat, so didn't spend a lot of time combing through everything. Besides being able to record audio is there any other advantage to the pro version?

#7 MLB

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

That is one thing I could never get to work are those dang MLB games. MLB does a much better job of blacking out just about every station you will find. So you will have little luck with MLB. Now only if NFL actually make an AudioPass for the iPhone users I would purchase it. I've complained about it for the past 4 years on this. Now as for why to purchase the Pro or not. Well, Amir may have some suggestions but I do it for three reasons. 1) Its only 0.99 for the Pro what a bargain! 2) You get rid of those annoying ads and you get the ability to record. 3) Most of all. To support the developers on a job well done for keeping us in the loop in making this accessible. They have been on this site several times and that in my book is worth the 0.99 for their effort. So no you don't really miss on anything if you keep the Lite version. It gives you everything that the Pro gets except you have an extra ads and the lack of recording.

#8 Thanks for the love! Our

Thanks for the love! Our development team is aware of this issue and is working on a fix. As always, send us any issues you find to support@tunein.com.

#9 Restrictions

I appreciate and understand all the TuneIn love, but readers should also be aware of some restrictions. You cannot play stations run by Cumulus Broadcasting or Clear Channel Communications in the United States on your iPhone through TuneIn Radio or TuneIn Radio Pro. In addition, the latest version appears to have removed some features like accessing different streams, setting an alarm, or possibly scheduling a recording.

#10 Re: Restrictions

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

V2.80 of TuneIn Radio Pro was released yesterday and, as you rightly mentioned, it breaks access to the Options dialog from the Playback window. So it's recommended that people not update to it while the bug is being investigated.

#11 not a bug, aparently

Looks like if what I read in another post on this site is correct, the options dialogue being removed is not a bug, but a feature. or, lack thereof. The thing about stations from Cumulous and clear channel stations can't be helped since that's a contract thing, but this removal of the options dialogue from the latest version? I know the Tunein guys monitor this site because they responded in another post here. So, what's the reason for the removal of the options? I made great use of that, plus the search feature and both aren't easy to get at anymore. Thanks. I think i can speak for a lot of folks here when I say that I hope the options will be returned in the next version! I did purchase the full version, so would like to see them come back.

#12 Yes, not a bug but I wish it were

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Not having upgraded to V2.8 and having read other users' comments, I thought VoiceOver can't access the Options dialog from the Playback screen. However, as you said, the Options feature is gone! Something terribly weird has happened to TuneIn Radio (both Free and Pro) -- perhaps I've jinxed it with my review! Seriously, I hope it's not something Apple has enforced or we'll see it gone in other apps. Hope to hear from the TuneIn guys soon.

#13 It's still there

The options menu is still there. It shows up by pressing anywhere on the Now Play screen. We're aware of an issue with this not working correctly with Voice Over and have an update that should go out early this week. Thank you for your patience.

#14 Re: It's still there

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Thanks for confirming that -- I also noticed its presence a couple of days ago but couldn't get VoiceOver to activate it easily. It simply can't be activated for many channels no matter how hard I try. And, while we are at it, please also consider fixing the "Search box" issue not being visible to VoiceOver by flicking left and right.