The “BBC Sounds” app, which lets you listen to both live and on-demand audio content from the BBC, has now been added to Roku’s streaming devices, as well as Freeview Play devices. In addition, it is now available internationally, replacing the old “BBC iPlayer Radio” app.
The BBC Sounds app, which replaced iPlayer Radio back in 2018, offers live radio streaming from the various BBC Radio stations, as well as on-demand audio programmes from the BBC archives, and a selection of podcasts and audiobooks.
According to the BBC, 3.5 million people listen to BBC Sounds every week, either via the website or one of the its apps.
Some of the highlights available on BBC Sounds include 90 episodes of the popular Desert Island Discs radio series (where celebrities choose items – mostly songs – they would take with them to a desert island, while talking about their past), Grounded with Louis Theroux, popular true crime podcasts, standup recordings from BBC studios, and more.
The app was first available for smartphones (both iOS and Android), and last March was also released on YouView and Virgin Media set-top boxes.
Then, it was released for some Sony and Samsung TVs – and now, Roku’s streaming devices are next in line.
Update: Shortly after I first published this article, it was announced that BBC Sounds will also be available on Freeview Play devices. The rollout will start today (September 24), but you may not see it on your device right away, as full rollout will be gradual.
As with iPlayer, BBC Sounds requires you to sign-in (though you can register and sign-in with your existing iPlayer account, if you have one). It will then personalise your experience, and remember your choices wherever you listen – so if you start listening to a specific programme on your mobile, you will then be able to continue listening on your Roku or Freeview Play device when you get home.
As for other streaming devices, unfortunately, BBC Sounds isn’t available for the Amazon Fire TV yet – but the BBC are saying they will be “bringing it to more devices in the coming weeks”.
International Rollout Of BBC Sounds
In addition to the UK Roku app, the BBC also announced this week that the BBC Sounds app is now available internationally.
Until now, international listeners were only able to use BBC Sounds on the website, while those who wanted an app had to keep using the old BBC iPlayer Radio app.
This week, the BBC Sounds app was made available internationally, on devices running iOS 11, Android 5 or Amazon OS 5 or above, with support for Chromecast as well.
In the near future, the iPlayer Radio app will stop working, and listeners will have to move to the new BBC Sounds app.