PSA: HomePod Supports Live Radio Requests, But Even UK Users Can't Stream Most BBC Stations

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Apr 12, 2001
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Apple has been rolling out HomePod support for live radio requests to Siri over the last few months, and now users in several countries are reporting success when asking their Apple smart speaker to play live radio stations.


After announcing the feature at WWDC in June, Apple said it would launch on September 30, but the company recently removed the date from its HomePod product page, suggesting an official global rollout is basically complete.

Apple began testing the live radio request feature in July, starting in Germany, but station requests to Siri on HomePod are now being routinely fulfilled in many countries including the U.S. and the U.K., despite the fact that Apple has yet to issue a HomePod-specific iOS 13 software update. Using a Siri request, HomePod owners should be able to choose from around 100,000 radio stations, according to Apple, with the broadcast catalog drawn from iHeartRadio, Radio.com, and TuneIn.

MacRumors has been testing the Siri feature on HomePod after updating iOS devices to 13.1.2, and it's still a bit finicky, although it's unclear whether that's due to the HomePod software still languishing on 12.4. Radio requests have to be specifically worded - without key words like "radio station" in the question, Siri will often revert to an Apple Music search. Also, only some users appear to be seeing a new Broadcast Radio section in the Music app's Radio tab that lists available stations.

In addition, HomePod owners in the United Kingdom who were hoping to listen to BBC Radio will be disappointed to learn that the British broadcaster has removed its flagship stations from the TuneIn catalog, after the U.S.-based radio app refused to share information on its listeners.


The BBC now wants people to access its content through BBC apps and via Alexa so that it can collect analytics and better understand what people are consuming, but unfortunately that has left only a handful of local BBC stations and the BBC World Service directly accessible through HomePod.

According to Apple's website, additional HomePod features specific to iOS 13, including multi-user support, music handoff, and Ambient Sounds, will not launch until "later this fall."

Article Link: PSA: HomePod Supports Live Radio Requests, But Even UK Users Can't Stream Most BBC Stations
 
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squircle782

macrumors newbie
Jul 3, 2018
3
0
UK
Living in the UK - my HomePod still doesn't see an update available - I've checked every iOS release day and am running 13.1.2 now but going to Home > Updates it says no updates available.

Trying to listen to BBC R4 or R1 results in it playing podcast episodes instead of live radio,

Weird.
 

dadiy

macrumors member
May 27, 2010
78
24
Living in the UK - my HomePod still doesn't see an update available - I've checked every iOS release day and am running 13.1.2 now but going to Home > Updates it says no updates available.

Trying to listen to BBC R4 or R1 results in it playing podcast episodes instead of live radio,

Weird.
IOS 13 for Homepod is not out yet, launches latter this fall (or autumn for us brits).
 

DaveMcM76

macrumors 6502
Mar 13, 2012
253
128
Scottish Highlands
I don't know how related this is but all of the BBC radio streams got removed from TuneIn some time in the few days and there is now a note in the TuneIn app to use the BBC sounds app instead, so given the presence of the TuneIn logo in the screenshot I wonder if the plan was to use tunein to stream these and this isn't an option anymore?
Screenshot 2019-10-01 at 12.19.18.png
 
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prycop

macrumors member
Mar 2, 2010
87
36
Disappointing that BBC radio is not available.
It did stream "Radio 4 Extra" during the summer - but when asking SIRI to play "Radio 4" though!
- This was through Tune-in.

I understand that OS13.1.2 has added Homepod features to the iphone but the Homepod update itself hasn't appeared yet.
 

TETENAL

macrumors regular
Nov 29, 2014
154
142
Isn't the BBC public radio? They don't need information who their listeners are, because by definition everyone in the UK is.

And anyway, TuneIn is just maintaining a directory. The BBC still gets to know the IP address it's streaming to. TuneIn doesn't know anything more.
 

Ted13

macrumors 6502a
Dec 29, 2003
581
269
NYC
So does this mean that if a radio station *does* exist on the TuneIn app, and you say "Hey Siri, play radio station <name>" it will now work, even if the station is in a country that does
 

Hermes Monster

macrumors 65816
May 4, 2010
1,145
304
UK
I’ve been using the live radio feature for a long time, I had no idea it was supposed to be a new thing :-/
 

Porco

macrumors 68040
Mar 28, 2005
3,031
5,641
The BBC think they have to act like all the commercial services and grab data from everyone. They are like a sad pantomime IMHO. They should behave like the public service broadcaster they are supposed to and fulfil their remit of being accessible to all licence fee payers, not just the ones who are forced to kowtow to their sad delusions of being Google/Netflix etc. and rapidly spoiling the very aspects that used to make them special.
/rant :p
 
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nt5672

macrumors 68000
Jun 30, 2007
1,903
3,958
Another half baked feature release from the brilliant Mr. Cook, that can make the stage just fine but fails to deliver time and time again.
 

diddlys

macrumors newbie
Oct 1, 2019
2
2
UK
I bought a HomePod because we've got a lot of other Apple gadgets, and Alexa sounded rubbish for music and radio.

I'm in the UK, and assumed that we would be able to listen to BBC radio in just the same way we always did with Alexa.

Not true! Firstly, streaming radio has not been available at all natively on HomePod until now (you can Airplay from iOS to Homepod, but as soon as you're out of WiFi connection the streaming stops).

Secondly the BBC and TuneIn have recently fallen out over data sharing, so now BBC channels are not available through TuneIn - and TuneIn is the only way that native streaming will work with HomePod!! Not Apple's fault - down to the BBC to work out what their data is used and needed for.

Alexa (or Google) offers a native solution for streaming BBC radio in the UK through an installable 'skill', the HomePod doesn't which is ridiculous and complete rubbish.

I've tried to use the Apple Shortcuts app to at least set up a shortcut to play radio (albeit requires an iOS device to be present). But this Shortcuts app implementation in iOS seems to me to be poorly thought through, poorly implemented and incredibly clunky - it sometimes works, sometimes doesn't - infuriating.

I'm not a fan of Amazon or their hardware, but aside from sound quality the Echo/Alexa device is way ahead of HomePod for usability and functionality - that's not something that I would have said about Apple vs Amazon a few years ago.

If anyone has answers for playing BBC radio through HomePod (AirPlay is a given) please let us know!
 

elwell5

macrumors newbie
Jul 14, 2015
7
4
Side effect of this feature - How do we now play the Apple Music radio stations with Siri? Before when I asked HomePod to “Play Chill Radio” it would play Chill Radio from Apple Music which I love! But now it plays a chill radio station from TuneIn! Annoying. I even tried “Play Chill Radio from Apple Music” and it still plays something from TuneIn! Anyone else finding this or know of a way to get HomePod to play stations from Apple Music?
 

peterh988

macrumors 6502a
Jun 5, 2011
595
986
Isn't the BBC public radio? They don't need information who their listeners are, because by definition everyone in the UK is.

And anyway, TuneIn is just maintaining a directory. The BBC still gets to know the IP address it's streaming to. TuneIn doesn't know anything more.
You have to pay a tax (called the licence fee) to listen to BBC radio, although its more of an honesty system at the moment. When you use iPlayer it asks if you nave a licence, although the answer is just yes/no, there's no need for proof. Maybe there's a problem with authentication with voice activated systems?

You have to have a BBC licence to watch TV here, even if you don't watch BBC channels, it's quite controversial, especially with the BBC, which is bound by charter to be impartial, taking an increasingly partisan political stance and dealing in 'fake news'.

Axe the Telly Tax!
 

jcshas

macrumors 6502
Oct 8, 2003
335
239
I love this new feature. Does anyone know how to create a playlist of Favorite Live radio streams?
 
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Stephen.Trae

macrumors member
Apr 27, 2015
44
14
So...what does “specifically worded” exactly mean? Can someone give me an example? I’m not really finding much in the internet. Does that mean I have the to say something around the likes of play 97.5 FM KWTX or just 97.5 FM?
 

testcard

macrumors 68040
Apr 13, 2009
3,218
1,707
Northumbria, UK
Isn't the BBC public radio? They don't need information who their listeners are, because by definition everyone in the UK is.

And anyway, TuneIn is just maintaining a directory. The BBC still gets to know the IP address it's streaming to. TuneIn doesn't know anything more.
The BBC is desperate to keep/grow its youth audience, hence the endless promos for the Sounds app.
 

WhiteHawk

macrumors 6502
Feb 16, 2008
449
193
Living in the UK - my HomePod still doesn't see an update available - I've checked every iOS release day and am running 13.1.2 now but going to Home > Updates it says no updates available.

Trying to listen to BBC R4 or R1 results in it playing podcast episodes instead of live radio,

Weird.
It’s weird you didn’t read the article.
 
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