I’m not addicted to television or anything like that, but I like to keep up with what’s on TV. I go through binges a fair bit, sometimes on Netflix, but I also like to keep up with a couple sitcoms. I loathe myself for it, but I have a little bit of a soft spot for Big Bang Theory. I love HBO too. I’m also checking out apps to see if there are any good ones to help me schedule my week a little bit.
One that’s been making the rounds recently is Televised, an app that helps you keep track of what’s coming up on television. Read on to find out how it compares to the competition and whether or not it’s worth trying for all you TV diehards.
“Honey, What’s On TV?”
Sadly, Televised can’t answer that all-important American question. That’s my first, and biggest, beef about just about all the TV tracker apps out there. Unless you load them up with more shows than most of us care to, you’re never going to find out what’s on when. This is a flaw every television app has right now, with the exception of the apps from the major studios that track their entire schedules, so it’s not entirely fair for me to dock any points based on this.
But I wish the feature was included.
The thing is, this is no substitute for even TV Guide, which comes with a few problems of its own but offers much of the same functionality (albeit, for a subscription).
But let’s say you’re not interested in finding out what’s always on TV. There are still lots of other potential use cases for the app. If you’re like me and only have the most basic of cable subscriptions, it’s good to know when a TV show is coming and set a reminder to the day after. That way, you’ll know when the show is available on iTunes (this is how I keep up with Mad Men every year now).
Thankfully, Televised does have a few settings that make it easy to do that. The show also has a Hide Spoilers toggle in the Settings (that’s automatically turned on), but I have to question the validity of that — hiding spoilers shouldn’t even be optional; it should be automatic and mandatory.
And despite the app’s free price, it also comes with some other limitations: you can only follow three shows and receive a limited number of weekly notifications with the app unless you pay for the in-app upgrade (which is $1.99). Personally, with a small fee like that, I’d rather the app just have an upfront cost of $1.99 with all features unlocked from the get-go, but that’s just me.
Beyond that, I also have some other significant beefs with the app — largely to do with its interface.
The Design Problem
Televised is an iOS 7 app that half looks like an iOS 6 app. And even as an iOS 6 app, it’s ugly. The large posters that dominate your screen will get overbearing if you have more than a couple shows in a week, and the app becomes unwieldy to scroll through.
There’s no way to view the episodes in a series from beginning to end — instead, the app directs you to IMDB. Which is odd to me, because if you look in the Settings, you’ll realize the app actually gets all of its data from TheTVDB.com. It’s an odd inconsistency, and not worth complaining about per se, but I wish the show was doing more with its data.
It’d be nice to use the app like you would TeeVee 2, which is still my favourite television tracker because it lets you mark previous episodes as viewed. In that way, it becomes a really useful way to know where you last left off on that DVD or Blu-ray set too, and it’s more useful than just a glorified reminder app for TV shows.
Not to mention that the interface with TeeVee 2 is leaps and bounds better than Televised. The ugly buttons in Televised and dark colours are a huge turn-off for me. In bright sunlight, which I happen to get a lot of through my office windows, the app becomes practically unreadable. The buttons would have looked out of place on iOS 6, and they look much worse here. I can hardly believe it, too — this is from the same developer who brought us Haze, one of the most beautiful (but inaccurate) weather apps for iPhone.
This is the opposite problem: data in Televised is up to date and relevant, but it’s ugly. Despite the strange interface problems, there’s really not much you can do with the app. You can set it to remind you of shows. There’s no export feature to get all the upcoming shows as calendar events like there is in TeeVee, which creates an unnecessary feeling of lock-in.
In all honesty, there’s very little about the app that I find noteworthy. That might sound harsh, but my job is to be honest: the competitors have more interesting interfaces and let you do a lot more. Televised needs an updated interface and a few additional tracking features to prove itself as a worthy download for many of us, but until then, I’d recommend going with just about any of the other competitors instead. The nicest thing I can say about Televised is that it works as advertised, but it’s unfortunately not advertising much.