Bring It! TuneIn on Roku

Published on March 10th, 2018 | by Brad Gibson

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Bring It! TuneIn for Apple TV

Podcasts and radio streaming is a big deal to many and one of the more popular services that focus its efforts on bringing the thousands of audio programs, channels and radio stations together is TuneIn.

Launched in 2002, TuneIn professes to have more than 100,000 broadcast radio stations and four million on-demand programs and podcasts from around the world available under one roof (or app as the case may be).

In August 2015, TuneIn launched a premium service, which includes 40,000-plus audiobooks and sports content from MLB, the NFL, the NBA, commercial-free music channels, and news content from MSNBC, Al Jazeera, and more. The cost is $7.99 a month, although you’d never know it unless you went scouring the Web as nowhere on the service’s website is there even a hint at the price until you join, which to be honest is just dumb.

The service is available for both iOS and Android devices, in over 55 car models, and as a standalone app on Roku. We wish we could say the same for Apple TV.

Before we get too deep into the facts, let’s get one thing straight…this privately held company, sitting on millions in venture capital and revenue, is so lacking in marketing and promotional smarts that it’s almost painful to watch their great potential wasted away. We’ll prove the point as we go along.

The service’s app on Roku is basic as it gets and frankly needs a major upgrade – even the old logo is still being used in this app – and we’re very sure this is an official TuneIn app. Simple searches are available with the ability to browse by music, sports, news and location. Other than that, it just works with no bells or whistles to speak of. It doesn’t offer a sign-in to the Premium service and from a business perspective that’s a waste of potential new subscribers (oh, and revenue).

TuneIn on Roku 2Even in a basic form like its long-in-the-tooth Roku version, TuneIn for Apple TV would be better than nothing.

If you put all that aside and hope that the people at TuneIn would offer something simple for Apple TV users even similar to the Roku app, then frankly something would be better than nothing, which is what we have the latter of at present.

So is a tvOS version of TuneIn even a possibility or something presently in the works? We wish we could tell you. The people at TuneIn refuse to respond to our repeated requests for comment. When a company doesn’t even reply to five emails, you can safely assume they just don’t give a damn to even say, “no comment.”

To be brutally frank, this is a company that is less than responsive to media or its customers (from what we read on online forums) and it needs to step up its game. If I was a media partner with TuneIn like Major League Baseball or National Public Radio, I’d be asking some real questions about their ability to take content and promote it to the masses.

Our hope is that with the release of the HomePod to improve audio quality through Apple TV and the potential of customers who would rather use TuneIn than Apple Music, the simple development of even a basic tvOS app would be a no-brainer.

While we openly admit millions more people listen to music on mobile devices than on their televisions, it wouldn’t take much for TuneIn to develop a viable tvOS app. With an iOS version already in existence, making it a universal app for tvOS would be simple.

If you agree, let the people at TuneIn know on their web site page, as long as you realize they probably won’t reply which gives the impression they don’t really care what customers think. We’re hoping it’s time they prove otherwise.

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About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of BESTAppleTV.com. He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as MacNN.com, MacObserver.com, MacCentral.com, MacMinute.com, and Macworld.com. He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the Associated Press and United Press International.



7 Responses to Bring It! TuneIn for Apple TV

  1. Curtis Malcolm says:

    Do you ever send these suggestions to the respective app devs?

    • Kirk Hiner says:

      We do, via Twitter and/or email. Responses generally range from a thumbs up to “we’re considering it” to no reply.

    • Brad Gibson says:

      In the particular story you left your message attached to, we contacted TuneIn five times – as the story mentions – and we heard nothing from them.

  2. Sebastian says:

    Maybe if there is some sort of API we could write TuneIn client.

  3. Bill says:

    I have mixed feelings about Tune In. I used to love their standalone app, but many years ago they made it more of a “social media” type affair meaning it wanted you to “share” what you were listening to with your “friends.” You were also presented with what was “trending” at the moment which might’ve been a station, song or show which you may or may not have cared about. Personally, I’ve always preferred a list of station based on geography or format I could choose from.
    I currently use the Receiver app on my Apple TV and love it.

  4. Mike says:

    I contacted TuneIn some years ago about this and they did respond with something like “Not now. Not thinking about it.”
    I currently use the free radio.net app on Apple TV. It is more like a ver. 1.0 at best for UI but, is reliable and they have every station, including the obscure but excellent Magic Transistor.
    radio.net is actually a nicely run German based company (small too). vTuner (not on Apple TV) is the American equivalent but is incredibly unreliable and SO BAD—with a 1990s web based interface used to set up an account—all the major AV companies (Yamaha, Pioneer, Marantz, etc.) have switched to TuneIn as the built in internet radio on their current line of receivers and speakers.
    The only company worse then vTuner or the odd moves by TuneIn is iHeart Radio, which I think just declared bankruptcy?
    I almost forgot; Apple Internet Radio used to be on Apple TV! It is still on iTunes on OSX. It is reliable but lacks the ability to suggest missing stations and finding a station has always been badly implemented.
    The sad thing is that, most people still do not realize there are incredible, high quality, free, ad free radio stations out there. Basically, the entire radio planet is available.
    But when you google internet radio, almost all the discussion and links are about Spotify, Apple Music, etc. Those are not internet radio! Those are PAID streaming services.
    If you like Jazz, try The Jazz Groove internet radio station on any platform. You will see what I mean.

    • Brad Gibson says:

      Thanks for the suggestions.

      TBH, TuneIn is a small company that shows little ambition to compete with the big boys. They could in many ways by simply providing low-cost radio alternatives to streaming music channels like Spotify and Apple Music. They seem to not get that.

      The only reason TuneIn even still exists in the small form they are today is that Apple refuses to add FM radio to their phones, which their chipset easily allows. If that were the case, TuneIn would be in even deeper trouble than they are today.

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