Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Software Review: Resco Pocket Radio

I love listening to radio. But the problem with listening to DAB or FM radio is the limited number of stations available. The other problem (at least for me) is whenever I want to record a radio show, I would have to start up my PC and start the WinTV Nova application in order to just record.

Well with Resco Pocket Radio, all I need to do is switch on my PDA, log into a wireless network, launch the app, tune into the many various internet radio channels I want to listen to and press record! Supported file formats include MP3 and OggVorbis (yay!).

This is the default main screen. With version 1.3, a new default skin is installed which, in my opinion, a much nicer looking skin than the bland older keypad style skin.

Here you can assign up to 10 preset channels (favourites). There are three lines of information: a static info on the channels name, a live info (eg. track name) and the connection status.

Various options are available to users including the options to skin the application, map the hardware buttons and location of recordings.

Here is an excellent functionality. With Resco Pocket Radio, recording schedules are permitted. It seems that there are no limits to how many schedules are allowed too.

The Radio Stations contains a list of the various internet radio stations that can be streamed to the device. Here you can import your shoutcast M3U or PLS files as well as manually assigning your own favourite station. You only need the URL.

Some internet stations stream their content at various bitrates and you can select the bitrates should your connection is good enough to cope with higher bitrates.

Unfortunately you can only record tunes broadcasted in MP3 format. Which really isn't a big deal as most of the default radio stations streams in MP3 format anyway.

Now a big problem for me. The non-inclusion of WMA and RM support. Why such a big deal? Because the BBC internet streams are in either of those two formats. Having to resort to using Windows Media Player 10 in order to listen to the BBC causes real headache as WMP10 is really crappy at supporting live streams.

My guess is there may be licensing issues to sort out with Microsoft and Real. Hopefully the next update will include support for those formats.

The program also supports streaming over a GPRS connection. But seriously with GPRS tariffs so expensive (at least in Britain) I can't see how people would want to listen to internet radio over the mobile network. It is crazy.

I love the simple cool look of the player. Unlike other streaming applications I struggled to use in the past, this one is easy to pick up.

Overall I am very pleased with the application. It may not be the killer music application that it could have been (if it only supported WMA and RM) but it actually handles streaming better than WMP10 on my desktop! Weird I know.

Resco Pocket Radio is available for US$19.95 here (non-affiliate).


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