Rovi What’s on TV iPad app a poor option for channel surfers

Feb 7, 2011
Tech

I watch a lot of television, and I would think that easy app access to television listings on my iPad would be a useful function. It might be, but if you get more than a few channels, Rovi What’s on TV is definitely not the app you’ll want to use. Rovi What’s on TV presents […]

I watch a lot of television, and I would think that easy app access to television listings on my iPad would be a useful function. It might be, but if you get more than a few channels, Rovi What’s on TV is definitely not the app you’ll want to use.

Rovi What’s on TV presents listings in a horizontal three-frame format, each section — time, program and channel — is slide-able so you can scroll through your channels to see what’s showing at a particular time. If I only had channels 1 through 10, Rovi’s aesthetic design would work nicely. But, of course, I have many, many more channels, and this is where Rovi’s lack of user-friendliness is rooted. The only way to get to a particular channel is by scrolling to it. Although my basic standard-def channels are in the single digits, my extended SD programming starts on channel 101. Want to see what’s on HD? I’ll be scrolling to channel 602 for that. That’s a lot of swiping.

Rovi does offer a search function, but it doesn’t work as a jump to a channel or channel number. Instead, you can search for show name or celebrity. Good luck with the results! My searches trapped me in a menu loop, and once I was able to get to a show’s information page, it often didn’t match current programming I was able to find directly through the guide. On the show info pages, which are accessible by tapping the program’s thumbnail in the middle frame, users will be able to find cast photos and episode information, and participate in some social networking, like “checking in” to the show via Twitter. There is also a Twitter panel that shows current tweets related to the program. If you access show info through the guide, you’ll also see a “Where to Watch” icon, which tells you the time and channel of your programming. Super useful, right? Well, because you accessed the show from the guide page, you already have this information. “Where to Watch” doesn’t appear if you search for the show by name, which would be useful. Really, the only thing I found user-friendly in Rovi was its set-up in finding my provider.

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Rovi What’s on TV isn’t a complicated app, but its simplicity doesn’t make it a quality one either. Pass on Rovi What’s on TV.

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