Tuesday, February 24, 2009

France 24 Live TV on iPhone via wifi

I've been playing with a new application just launched on iTunes from French external broadcaster, France 24. It is free on iTunes if you search for France 24 live application. In fact, there's some other stuff if you search for France24, without the space, so perhaps they should standardise on their nomenclature.

The application works on either an iPhone or an iPod Touch because it makes use of the wifi connection in the device, not the 3G phone connection. Click on it and you can seen live pictures on the iPhone/iPod Touch in French, English and Arabic. There is also an option to watch a previously aired segment, like the weather. The channel
claims that FRANCE 24 is the first channel worldwide to pioneer this ground-breaking service. While other stations are launching applications, I haven't seen one to grab live over the air content quite like this. Since the station is global, there are no rights restrictions.

Does it work? Yes, very well. Both the sound and picture look great on an iPod Touch. And its free to download and free to use. Compare that with the NHK World approach which seems to view the web and satellite TV as two completely different worlds.

UPDATE: France 24 announced Feb 24th that its application has now been approved for the 3G networks by Apple, so on the iPhone you now have a choice of accessing the station via 3G or the wifi. Since its launch on the Apple App Store on February 8th 2009, the FRANCE 24 LIVE application has been downloaded more than 100,000 times around the world. Of all the free news applications available on iTunes, FRANCE 24 LIVE ranks among the top 10 worldwide; most notably in the USA, the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, Israel, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, India, Brazil, etc.

BBC Mobile said at MWC Congress Barcelona last week (Feb 19th) that they have been experimenting with an Apple iPhone ap for radio, but have not released it to the public just yet.
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