Friday, 09 January 2015

Radio Review: 9 January

Digital radio and catch-up channels are evolving the wireless experience

Written by Louis Barfe
Louis-Barfe-portrait-176You’ll probably be unsurprised to learn that my house has a radio in every room. The slight delay endemic in digital broadcasting means that the days of having them all tuned to the same station and being able to waft about the place are over. Sometimes I’ll find myself running back to the kitchen because the living room is ahead, and suddenly the thing I was listening to makes no sense.

If I need to listen intently there is always iPlayer, but recent changes have made life more difficult for the listener. For some reason, the BBC research and development bods have separated TV iPlayer and radio iPlayer. Not a problem when listening on a computer; it’s simply a matter of going to a diff erent site.

However, it does mean that the version of iPlayer now available on internet-connected ‘smart’ TVs and media streaming boxes is TV only. According to the bumf, ‘TVs are not a signifi cant way that people are using to listen to on-demand radio content’, so they have cut off the service completely.

Surely it makes sense for BBC radio programmes to be available across all platforms? Also, I’d be interested to know the R&D types’ defi nition of ‘signifi cant’. Many people I know miss the facility. Would it have been that difficult or expensive to bolt on the relevant coding? It’s a ludicrous retrograde step that shows a misunderstanding of how many people listen to radio now.

If you want to keep things old school, listening live without the digital nonsense, there are few more elegant or better-sounding solutions than a Tivoli Audio Model One. I was given one by a very generous friend. I’d never spend that much (don’t ask), but owning it gives me enormous pleasure.

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email: wireless@cheeseford.net



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