Finding out what’s on TV used to be difficult: you’d either need a newspaper or rely on the TV stations to keep you updated. But over the past year there has been an explosion of apps that make watching TV super easy and ‘social’.
The app has a beautiful user interface and works just as well on the smaller iPhone screen as it does on the iPad.
Basic TV listing information is presented in a grid format which you can scroll around.
When you find a program of interest tap on the listing to view more detailed information. In this view you can set a local reminder to make sure you don’t forget to watch the show when it’s broadcasted. There are also buttons that let you ‘favourite’ programs and share them with others.
In a nod to being more ‘social’ OzTV also lets you ‘Check In’ to a show using Facebook. Once you are checked in you can see who else is watching and send messages to each other.
Where OzTV costs $2.99, zeebox is completely free. Its backers include some of the biggest media companies in the world, such as Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal.
In Australia, zeebox has a commercial relationship with Channel Ten.
The app was designed as a companion to your television and has a feature called ‘zeetags’ which appear in real time while you are watching a show. Tapping on a zeetag lets you discover additional information about the show you are watching.
zeebox is also useful while watching live sporting events because it provides stats in real-time.
Along with all the social aspects zeebox is also a very elegant TV guide for all channels including Freeview and Foxtel.
Although you need to register to use the app, accessing the seven-day TV guide is free and comes with some nice features such as the ability to see what the ‘Most Popular’ shows are. There’s also a recommended new shows list and information on what’s coming in the future.
A ‘Favourite’ feature lets you tag your top shows: doing this allows you to create your own personalised TV guide.
A full keyword search function lets you find any program in the guide, and you can even choose to receive notifications for shows or movies that match your keyword setting.
While the user interface isn’t as sophisticated as OzTV or zeebox, the IceTV app is practical and easy to use. And if you leave your iPhone at home, you can still access the service via its web interface.