In the scheme of things, the iPhone and its App Store are young, immature, and have many ways in which to grow. Surely it’ll take more time for developers to get the most out of the device. In the meantime, consumer reviewers are useful in app releases, some of which seem more like “beta” versions and the public serving the position of free testers. Which may seem okay for the free apps. But free or not it doesn’t always sit well with users who want things to work right out of the box.
That said, the new CBS app entitled TV.com -with just a two-star rating out of possible five- is getting less-than-stellar reviews. Most complaining about the decidedly lack of new, more popular CBS shows and the videos that are up there being foremostly annoying clips rather than full episodes. (And the full episodes there are run like YouTube; as a collection of shorter segments). So far, the power and memory it soaks up doesn’t seem to be worth it.
Sure these are annoying aspects to TV.com, but personally the thing about this app that bothers me most is the substandard video quality. When I can already watch good quality videos that utilize the whole iPhone screen, it’s hard not to judge the strangely over-stretched, small box the TV.com streams appear. It’s not as if the technology isn’t there for them to look better….
Many reviewers also complained about the quirky aspects of the app, though those kinds of things can be reworked in upcoming versions. Still, in comparison to the other networks, CBS’ streaming video from the CBS.com website has had its problems since it was first introduced. Watching one full episode you are apt to have to hit reload a few times, as the video will often stop playing or show that it has played the whole episode, even though it hasn’t. Compared to ABC…well, there’s no comparison. So whether or not CBS will improve this app much, we’ll just have to wait and see.
So, what does the app access? Shows from CBS, the CW, Showtime, CNet, CBS Sports Mobile – but again, before I got bored playing with it, the only full episodes I could find were a few daytime soaps, NCIS (one full episode), MacGyver (four), and StarTrek: The Original Series (four). Fans of Weeds, United States of Tara, HIMYM, Gossip Girl, Dexter, the L Word, and Californication will only see clips, interviews and previews…for now.
TV.com utilizes WiFi and 3G networks – though you’re get higher quality running it on WiFi (note, my testing was all done via WiFi).
Those looking for TV on your iPhone, you’ve got some – whatever. The people who may be most likely to enjoy it are those addicted to daytime CBS Soap Operas, who can now leave the house and watch them on their phone.
As one reviewer put it, “the 5 star reviews all sound the same, like they were written to boost the app’s rating. The CBS people wrote those for sure.” Not sure about that, but for those without a TV such as myself, I’ll stick with SideReel linking me to all the shows I like to watch via my MacBook. And continue to patiently wait for the anticipated SlingPlayer app, which is supposed to finally deliver a mobile version for iPhone certification this quarter.
Okay, gotta go…delete this TV.com app off my phone. Toodles!
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Update: TV.com still has a limited number of full episodes but the video looks better and I have certainly enjoyed catching up on shows like NCIS and Californication during unplanned waits. I can now recommend the App and if you need a back-up battery for your iPhone it’s certainly worth it!