October 20, 2014

TV Listings is Well Orgainized, Ambitious Television Companion App

TV Listings is a straight-forward, yet ambitious application that pits itself against the official TV Guide application. When opening the application for the first time, you are asked you to input your zip code, after which you are presented with a list of service providers in your area. In a large city like Chicago, the list can be long and confusing. For example, I have digital HD service provided by RCN (I know because I pay the bill). Not all individuals who download this application will be familiar with their TV service.

After entering my zip code and whittling down my choices to the RCN options, I still had four choices to choose from: RCN Cable – Cable, RCN Cable – Digital, RCN Cable – Digital Rebuild and RCN Cable – Rebuild. What is “rebuild”? “I wonder if ‘rebuild’ is for HD channels only?” I thought. I chose RCN Cable – Digital Rebuild. “I have the best service they offer” I thought. “It must be the digital rebuild.” I was mistaken. RCN Cable – Digital Rebuild contained zero channels. The correct choice was RCN Cable – Digital. Choosing your provider should be easier. The uninitiated user will be faced with a lengthy trial-and-error process, and so will Comcast subscribers. Best of luck to anyone who has to pick between the five options for Comcast.

Scan to download TV Listings

After the initial setup, TV Listings is a pleasure to use. The application takes about five seconds to load your provider’s channels, which is fairly quick considering the amount of information that is displayed. You are first presented with a screen that displays the program currently being broadcasted on every channel. Channels are listed in ascending order, and each channel shows the current show and the next two upcoming programs. While manually scrolling with a finger, a bar will appear on the right-hand side that allows for faster scrolling. You can move forward or backward in time by pressing either the “+” or “–“ buttons in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Clicking on a particular show takes you to description of the episode, and long pressing allows you to add a reminder for the show or share the show with friends though a number of available programs, such as Twitter, Facebook and Gmail.

Reminders are a nice feature that allow you to set up a notification for a particular show, but without a search function, it can sometimes be difficult to find the show you are looking. In addition, reminders must be added for each individual episode. Regrettably, there is no way to add a reminder for the entire series. In the settings under the menu, you can filter channels that you do not watch. For example, there are 497 total channels on RCN, however I only watch a hanful of HD channels. Therefore, I excluded a large number of channels, and my guide is considerably more manageable.

There are three tabs at the bottom of the screen: “What’s On”, “Sports” and “Movies.” “What’s On” is the default screen and shows you what is currently on TV. The “Movies” and “Sports” tab display a list of every movie and sports program that are currently being broadcasted. The list, which includes the station and channel for each movie and sports program, features a progress bar that appears under the title of the program. The progress bar is a great feature that enables users to see how far along a particular movie or program is.

TV Listings is a great application that all TV lovers should own. The application, which is a mix between a traditional TV guide and a calendar, is intuitive and aesthetically pleasing. Although key features like “search” are missing, this is still one of the most useful applications in the Android Market to date. TV Listings comes in both free and paid flavors, and the paid version is currently on sale for $0.99 in the Android Market, but only for a limited time. So, grab it while it’s hot and support your developers!

What I Loved:

  • The program is well organized.
  • You can filter individual channels to remove those you do not watch.
  • Tabbed navigation between “What’s On”, “Sports” and “Movies” is fast and conveniently placed at the bottom of the screen.
  • Reminders help you remember to tune into your favorite shows.

What Should be Added in Future Updates

  • A search function, as it can be time-consuming to find specific shows and add them to your favorites list.
  • A favorites tab and accompanying widget that save your favorite shows and inform you how many days remain until they air again.
  • An easier way of determining your service provider would be a welcome addition.