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Cable Technology Feature Article

October 08, 2012

TV Guide App Tracks What's On

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Search is a beautiful thing. Especially when it comes to watching shows with my favorite actors.

Gone are the days of stumbling upon shows with the actors I admire. With the new TV Guide app, I can now create a watch list that keeps track of shows that feature a particular actor. I also can, of course, use it to manage all the shows I watch and discover new television that might catch my fancy.

The new app, which is available for free on the iPhone and iPad--and will be available in the fall for Android (News - Alert)—gives a clean display of what’s on TV for the next two weeks. You can view listings by time or channel, and see what’s on now or in the future.

The Watchlist is the centerpiece of the app. From the app, you can create a list based on your favorite shows, movies, actors or sports teams, never missing an episode.

What makes the app particularly useful is that it tracks more than what is available on your television’s guide; it also keeps track of what’s playing on services such as Hulu (News - Alert), iTunes, Netflix—and on-demand offerings through Xfinity for Comcast subscribers.

Anick Jesdanun, who reviewed the app for the San Jose Mercury News, wrote that after creating an account in the app, you pick your television provider from a list. The list of shows is then customized according to what you can access. You can choose whether to display all available channels or just the ones you view most often.

When browsing what’s on, you can set reminders that will go off 10, 30 or 60 minutes before the show begins. You can have it set alerts for a particular episode or all new ones.

If you click “I’ll watch,” you can alert your peeps on Facebook (News - Alert) or Twitter that you are planning to watch the show, according to Jesdanun. This might not be an option everyone needs, but it can be important for super-fans looking to share the love. Would Arrested Development have gone off the air the first time around if Facebook and its Like button had been around back then?

In addition to setting alarms and socializing the TV watching experience, the aforementioned Watchlist is one of the best reasons for the app. It lets viewers set up quick access to shows with their favorite celebrity, or for every Cincinnati Reds game.

Finding shows on DVD through Netflix is also one of the perks of the app. It does not yet show online streaming options with Netflix, although that is coming. But it does give the site’s DVD offerings, as well as the current streaming shows for a host of services. Currently, those include Hulu, HBO, Cinemax, the CW, ABC, ABC Family, iTunes and Crackle (Sony’s streaming service, not the candy bar).

What could take the app to the next level would be direct control of the DVR through the TV Guide app, but for now that is left to apps from cable providers. Also useful would be greater show write-ups for each episode; there are a variety of sources from the net that could be wrapped into the app to help it better collect show info from around the next.

But still, the app is solid and quite useful. Especially for finding all instances of a particular star.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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