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Roku music apps (the good, the bad and the ugly)


Sir Thrift-a-Lot:
I've been checking out pretty much all of the Roku music apps and I want to discuss four of them, two that I find disappointing and two very pleasant surprises.

First, let's talk about TuneIn. I already had an account with them because I used the TuneIn app on my Onkyo home theater receiver. The basic functionality is the same on the Roku. You can use the app to tune pretty much any internet station that's out there. That part is still good. However, on my Onkyo the graphics are not good, looking like a video game from 20 years ago. But the functionality on the Onkyo is excellent. The screen shows the artist and title of what is playing, the bitrate of the stream that is currently playing and and elapsed time clock of how long you have been on a given channel. I got used to all of these features and liked them very much. When I installed the Roku TuneIn app, the graphics were much more modern and up-to-date but none of those features existed. It kind of blows my mind that the app gives no information at all on the current item that is playing. So even though it's much simpler to use it as a Roku app than on the Onkyo I will continue to use it on the Onkyo because I want that information. You would think that an app would have more information rather than less. Very disappointing.

The next one I tried, because it is highly rated in searches, was Radio by myTuner. This was essentially just a more cluttered version of TuneIn. Less intuitive and missing all of the same functionality. I deleted it immediately

The first pleasant surprise was an app called AccuRadio. Unlike the first two, it is not an internet radio tuner. Instead, what it does is offer dozens, maybe hundreds of its own stations. The stations are first grouped into genres and then under each genre is from four to a dozen subgenres. It gets almost painfully specific sometimes, especially with featured stations that it runs each day. Do you want Scandinavian power pop of 1982? Tune in on the right day and you may find that. Disappointingly, this app does not tell you title or artist either, but it really does let you drill down to a specific type of music very nicely. I don't know what the bit rate is, but it sounds pretty good to me.

Lastly, the app that I almost didn't even check out but ended up enjoying very much and find myself going back to regularly is a simple unassuming application called Radio Paradise. Unassuming because there are only four channels. In that way, it's pretty much the exact opposite of AccuRadio. However, those four channels are pretty amazing although I spent 95% of my time on the main channel. According to their website it is hand curated by the DJs who started the channel. It's about 80% intelligent pop rock with the occasional blues, jazz or classical mixed in. Pretty much like my own record collection. And they do go deep. I would say that at least 25% of what they play is stuff that I was unfamiliar with. For some people I suspect that would actually be a turnoff but for me it's excellent especially since they have great taste in music and I rarely hear a track on there that I don't enjoy. If that does happen though, there is a button to skip to the next track. It also makes use of the visual element in a very different way than the other apps. Instead of flashy graphics or advertisements there is a high quality slideshow with photos that are properly credited and thematically matched to the song that is playing. Overlying these pictures in the bottom left is the artist and title. Thank you very much for that, especially since you play so much music that I don't know but end up liking. Great job. If you need the album info, tapping the settings button also offers the album title and cover art. The best part, however, is the sound quality. In the settings you can select from five different streams. Low 32k, medium 64k, high 128k, ultra 320k or FLAC. Yep, they stream in full CD quality. Good music in great quality with interesting visuals? Yes, please.

Have you found any Roku music sources that you have a strong opinion on? Please share.


Ae any of these sources available other than through Roku?  in particular the last one.


Sir Thrift-a-Lot:
Oh yeah, Radio Paradise has a web page and apps for Android or iPhone.   I don't know if FLAC is available on the apps and I don't think they do the slideshow on phones, but the programming is accessible.   FLAC and slideshow are available on PC at their website.   There are also other TV interfaces listed on the website (Apple and Fire, IIRC).   They also work on BluOS in MQA (though I don't really have a handle on what that is).   They even have a cool feature which I haven't checked out yet where you can cache days worth of tunes to your phone for roadtrips where you don't have internet.


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