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May132012

5by5 Radio App

A few months ago I discovered 5by5.tv and have since become quite a fan, so I was quite excited when the 5by5 Radio iOS app was released late last week.

The thing I like about this app is that it does exactly what it says and no more - it lets you listen to 5by5 programmes live. In particular, it does not attempt to enter the already-crowded podcast client space. Beyond the basic streaming function, it offers push notifications to let you know when your favourite shows are about to come on, and a recording schedule for upcoming shows. That's it. Satisfyingly simple.

That said, I do have some criticisms. Firstly, while I would love to be able to arrange the 5by5 recording schedule so that I could listen to my favourite programmes live at times convenient to me, but I can't. So the list of upcoming shows should not hidden behind a "settings" button.

Similarly, the push notification controls should be under "settings" either. "Settings" pages are for tweaking the way an app behaves, whereas notifications for upcoming shows is a core feature of this app. Ideally push notification would be controlled from a programme guide screen. I also cringe a little at the term "push notification". That's an implementation detail, not the function. "Alerts" would be much more descriptive.

On the home page, there's what looks like a refresh button. What it appears to do is disconnect and reconnect the audio stream, meaning you lose a few seconds. I have no idea why you would want to do that. Maybe the idea is that if you're having problems reconnecting might help. Whatever. It seems inelegant.

Finally, one very minor quibble. When you're listening, there's a pause button, where a stop button might be more appropriate. "Pause" implies that you can resume from where you left off, but clearly you can't do that here.

 

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