TeeVee 2 Makes TV a Little Easier to Manage

I can’t be alone in saying that I think cable television is a terrible, awful experience. Actually, I know I’m not alone. Apple CEO Tim Cook has said he feels like he’s gone back in time by ten or twenty years every time he turns one on. Blame the Internet, Netflix or even cable providers, but today’s cable system has gotten too old-fashioned and has got go go.

That being said, I still watch cable on rare occasion and I do like to keep up with what’s on the air. (I’ve got a Mad Men obsession you wouldn’t believe.) And since the cable companies aren’t going to help me, I’ve turned to the App Store. To keep up with what’s coming up next, I’ve been using TeeVee 2, a great little app meant to make those pesky cable schedules easier to keep up with. Read on for my full review.

Solving a Problem

TeeVee is an app that solves an immediate and obvious problem: When is X TV show going to air?

Returning to my Mad Men addiction. I followed the most recent season all the way through to its conclusion, at what I point I immediately started looking for a date it would come back so I could begin a countdown.

I know exactly when Mad Men is coming back.

I know exactly when Mad Men is coming back.

Well, as of today, TeeVee tells me it’s coming back in precisely 200 days, on April 1st, 2014. The wait is going to be as agonizingly long as it sounds, I’m sure. But TeeVee is also going to alert me one hour before the show comes back on the air so I know it’s time to turn on my (annoying) cable box and get ready for the show.

TeeVee can do this for any show still on the air with a recurring schedule. I’ve got notification set up for everything from Dexter and Breaking Bad to House of Cards and The Simpsons. It doesn’t seem to matter if the show is on Netflix or a different alternative cable solution — TeeVee is going to keep track.

Every show has its own summary.

Every show has its own summary.

If there’s a preview available for the episode, you’re able to access it from the app. There’s also an IMDB-style synopsis for every episode of a show, so you always know what’s coming up or have a taste of what you’ve missed.

And the app also lets you keep track of how many episodes you’ve missed. The feature can be turned off, but I kind of like having a way to keep track of where I am in a show. This extends the app’s purpose. If you’re slowly making your way through HBO’s Deadwood series and you want to know exactly which episode you last finished, you can have TeeVee track it for you. All you have to do is check off the episode to mark it as watched.

Redesigning TV

TeeVee is a beautiful app that’s going to fit in perfectly with iOS 7. This app is made for the small screen, but feels uniquely tailored to your iPhone. I love the layering and the way new layers blur the ones beneath them — just like iOS 7.

The layering and blur effects are fantastic.

The layering and blur effects are fantastic.

I also love how easy the app is to use with one hand. Swiping right from the left edge of the screen takes you back one level, which is easier than reaching up to hit the Back button on a 4″ display.

The list format works very well as well, and it ends up being surprisingly easy to get lost reading up about your favourite show.

Nothing’s Perfect

I do have some minor qualms with the app. I wish that, instead of finding the Settings and the Add Show button on the bottom of the app, that they were located at the top. Not unlike Safari, you can tap the top of the screen to scroll very quickly back up to the top of your list of TV shows. But to add a show, you have to scroll all the way to the bottom. Making it more difficult to change the Settings also seems to me to be a bad move, but that might just be personal taste.

Calling a show "Dead" is odd to me, and placing the Settings at the bottom of the app seems misguided.

Calling a show “Dead” is odd to me, and placing the Settings at the bottom of the app seems misguided.

I also have to question the use of the word “Dead” to literally mean a show is no longer with us. I understood it instantly, because I knew those shows were off the air. But when a friend saw the app, she instantly asked what the word “dead” was supposed to mean. She didn’t realize that the word was overtop of a family photo from The Sopranos, and was confused by the wording. When I explained, she felt the wording could be considered inappropriate because of Gandolfini’s recent passing. This obviously isn’t a deal breaker, but TeeVee isn’t walking on solid ground with their communication here.

The app is very polished visually, but as a whole, little things like the placement of the Settings button or the word “Dead” could be communicated better. Thankfully, these are minor complaints in the grand scheme.

That’s a Wrap

I know there are other apps that can act similarly to TeeVee 2, like GetGlue. But TeeVee 2 is an app that solves its problem very well. It looks gorgeous and it’s a lot of fun to play with. While I don’t think it’s perfect (really, what is?), TeeVee 2 is a great alternative to a social app like GetGlue if you’re like me and simply don’t care about connecting with everybody online whenever you turn on the television. Despite its minor flaws, TeeVee 2 comes highly recommended.


Summary

TeeVee 2 is beautiful to use and fun to play with, making it a must-have app for TV junkies who need a little help managing their schedule.

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