capsule review

beeTV for iPhone

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder beeTV

    Macworld Rating

When you have 500 channels—plus an entire universe of video on the web and stashed on your iPhone—there’s got to be something on. That’s a situation ready-made for the new, free beeTV video listings app. Too bad the beeTV offering falls a bit short.

One to Watch: beeTV offers recommendations on what shows you should be watching, based on the kinds of shows you like. But in our tests, the app’s hit-or-miss recommendations were largely misses.

The app does have some useful features, including complete listings for local television no matter where you live. Give beeTV your phone number, and it’ll send a note when your favorite program is about to start. It also can narrow its video-viewing recommendations according to whether you’re watching on a television, on the Web or via iPhone—a handy distinction in this multi-platform age.

But the recommendations feature—based on your rating of a short list of shows and movies—is the heart of beeTV. And its suggestions are less on-target than you’ll find at Amazon or Netflix: Episodes of Roseanne and Family Guy were suggested for my viewing pleasure. Neither is my cup of tea, and the recommendations seemed especially off, considering I had rated a dark drama like Dexter favorably while giving a thumbs-down to King of Queens, a blue-collar situation comedy in the same vein as beeTV’s recommended shows.

You can modify the recommendations for a variety factors, including family friendliness and mood, but even with such changes the app still suggested an episode of Roseanne for viewing. I still didn’t want to watch it.

beeTV has some nice features, but to be truly useful, the app’s recommendation system needs an overhaul.

[Joel Mathis is a freelance journalist and political columnist for Scripps Howard News Service. He lives in Philadelphia.]

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder beeTV

    Macworld Rating
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