iTV Shows Review [iOS]

iTV Shows is an app for all sorts of TV buffs. It lets you follow all your TV shows right from your phone, view episode summaries, check air-dates and get recommendations based on the shows you’re already watching as well as the top-rated TV shows.

When iTV Shows runs for the first time, you’ll need to add all TV shows that you might be watching or following. This, as is the apple standard, requires you to simply tap the plus (+) button on the top of the app, type the name of the show and press search. iTV Shows’ database is impressive to say the least, however at this moment it’s limited to US and UK-based TV shows only. So if for instance you’re a Spanish Telenovela fan, you’ll probably need to look elsewhere. However all currently-airing as well as old shows were available upon searching, and all it takes to add a show is a simple tap.

Once you’ve added the shows you follow, you can see the upcoming episodes arranged in a chronological order in the main tab of the application. You can switch between the list of upcoming and previously-aired episodes (through the ‘next’ and ‘last’ buttons).

Tap on any episode and you’ll be taken to that show’s page. Here you can look at sorts of information on that show – stuff like the show’s premise and summary, the channel it airs on and its genre. You can also view the complete episode list on this screen from any season, tapping an episode shows its summary (a 2 or 3-liner), airdate and an image from the episode, all of which can be shared with your friends on Facebook, Twitter or via email.

Perhaps iTV Shows’s greatest strength is its ability to send you reminders before an episode airs. You can configure your time-zone and the amount of time before you’d like to be reminded, and the app does the rest for you. It even integrates with the iOS 5’s notification center and leaves a reminder there. For instance I’ve got the app configured to notify me about an episode 2 hours before it airs, which means I can clear my schedule 2 hours before that all-important Homeland finale, or I can get home in time to see which Celebrity Apprentice is fired by Trump! And once the episode airs, marking them as ‘watched’ is as simple as a tap of the button.

The genius tab comes up with a whole host of TV show recommendations by analyzing the ones you’ve added to the app. It does this by looking at the genre of shows you’re already watching, and present shows belonging to similar genres. Furthermore, you can also view the most followed shows by switching to the ‘top’ shows.

Apart from the standard chronological-list view, there’s a calendar view in iTV Shows as well, allowing you to view all upcoming and previous episodes in a nice calendar-like layout.

iTV Shows does come with its set of pitfalls. For one, the updating process is painstakingly slow, and if you’ve got a full list of shows that you’re following (like me), iTV Shows takes what seems like ages to update them. Which is a problem because you’ll need to update the app at least every week in order to ensure you have the latest schedule at your disposal, especially with all the episode cancellations, mid-season breaks, super-bowl breaks or any other reasons the network might want to move the schedule. Yes, it is good to know if that episode you’ve been looking forward to the whole week will be airing today or not, but if only it wouldn’t take an age to do so!

Secondly, iTV Shows is quite prone to crashing. It constantly crashed on Edge and 3G, and only remained stable once I had my phone connected to a Wifi signal.

So yes, there you have it. That’s about all that iTV Shows does. Quite pointless (and sometime a pain to use), but can be useful if you’re forgetful like me, and need to be reminded when (date and time) a particular episode would be airing.

The iPhone version costs $1.99 on the Apple App Store, and there’s an HD version available for the iPad as well. Both versions are compatible with iOS 4 and 5.

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