November 30, 2008

What's On TV? Browse TV Listings from Your iPhone (Free today!)

In September, we first discussed the debut of i.TV, an iPhone app for local movie and television listings. Since then, new entrants have emerged to further integrate your iPhone with your living room entertainment, with TiVo launching its mobile site, and recently, Joost launching an iPhone application. One competitor, called "What's On TV?" offers a solid app that elegantly helps you browse your TV listings, search for new shows, and see program descriptions. Best of all, it's free on the Apple iTunes store for today only.

What's On TV: Getting Set Up

As with i.TV, the first step to getting What's On? up and running is entering your TV package. Start by saying whether you have Satellite, Cable, or an Antenna, which tier of service you might have (e.g. standard vs. digital), and enter your zip code and provider.

What's On TV: Seeing Your TV Listings

Once your channels have loaded, similar to online TV Guide or portal TV listings, you can uncheck those stations you would prefer not be displayed, and thumb channel by channel through the results to see what's playing. Interestingly, as with Apple's address book or iTunes, you can skip ahead by choosing the group of channels you wish displayed, helpful if you have hundreds to select from.

What's On TV: Searching for "The Hills" and Roseanne

Searching through the What's On? listings is relatively simple as well. Hit the search button at the bottom of the application, and you can search for upcoming shows by title, seeing when they display, on which channels, and can click through to get a description of the episode.

The What's On? application doesn't try to be the end-all be-all of entertainment apps, but what it does, it does well, elegantly, with good color cues, such as green for sports, and purple for movies. And after a "free for Black Friday" special turned out to be more successful than anticipated, the developers behind the application have extended the offer through Sunday. You can download the app here.