Mobile users have several options when it comes to listening to Internet Radio on their devices. Some like to stream directly from the Radio station's website, others prefer music apps with radio support to do so.
Most radio apps work well when you have a fast-enough Internet connection but most fail when you don't. Failing does not necessarily mean that you cannot play the stream at all, but that you may experience buffering issues and other interruptions.
The default stream quality, 128 Kbit/s, uses quiet a bit of data already; a single hour of playback requires about 50 to 60 Megabytes of data. If you play music for two hours per day, you end up with up to 3600 Megabytes of data just for the streaming.
That's exactly the situation where Radio Online - PCRADIO comes into play as it was designed specifically for low speed Internet situations (think car, subway or train ride, workplace with bad Internet connectivity..).
The service converts the radio stream to the data efficient AAC+ audio format using custom servers. Doing so reduces the required transfer rate to play the Internet Radio stream without buffering interruptions and reduces the data that playback uses significantly.
A quick test using the Android version of PCRADIO resulted in savings of about 60% when compared to the default stream of tested radio stations. The data requirement per hour of playback drops to less than 20 Megabytes per hour when you use the application.
You may also benefit from uninterrupted playback as the less demanding stream tends to work better because of the lower requirement.
The free (with ads) or paid application has been designed to work well even in low speed environments thanks to the use of AAC+. The free version provides access to most features but it comes with advertisement in the main interface. The premium version costs €6,49 per year on Android; it removes ads and adds two additional stream quality, high quality, and low quality, to the mix.
Free users are set to medium quality, about 32 Kbit/s, automatically with no option to change the quality in the free version.
The radio app displays a list of radio stations on start. The list displays recommended stations from around the world by default. A tap on a station starts playback immediately.PCRADIO displays the artist and song name in the interface when playback starts. Options to copy the information to the clipboard and to run searches on Google or YouTube are provided as well.
You can add a station to the favorites for quick access, and tap on the information icon next to a station to display a description (if available).
A search is available to find radio stations, e.g. by name, a tap on the globe icon opens the country filter to display only stations from the selected country. The app features an equalizer that you need to activate before you may use it.
PCRADIO offers a good selection of stations but you may miss some of your favorites. The app offers no option to add custom streams to the list of radio stations, and it would not make a whole lot of sense either considering that you would not benefit from the reduced bandwidth requirements if you'd be able to do that.
You can contact the developers of the app to request support for new stations. The support email address is listed on the application's Google Play store page.
If you like to listen to Internet Radio while on the go on your Android or iOS devices but run into streaming issues regularly or even only occasionally, you may want to try Radio Online - PCRADIO to find out if it resolves the issue for you.
The audio quality is acceptable; users who cannot stream Internet Radio using regular streams may prefer it regardless of the quality.
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