Review: BuddyTV for iOS

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BuddyTV started as a website that let users comment on their favorite shows. Then the company made this model more mobile with its iOS app and added some tempting features, like integrating a remote for some DVRs. Unfortunately, the flaws in the current version of the app overshadow any advantages BuddyTV offers.

The free BuddyTV app attempts to bridge the gap between TV listing apps and social features. Once you pick your favorite shows, you can use the Watch List to see when they will air next. If you’re looking for new shows to watch, the home screen makes it easy to find popular shows and highlights new fall series. And if you want to watch something right now, the Upcoming tab lists what’s currently on TV through your television provider. BuddyTV is compatible with any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 4.0 or later.

BuddyTV isn’t just for watching live TV. It lists streaming content from iTunes, Amazon, and Netflix, and you can edit the list to only show the services that you use.

Once you’ve found what to watch, you can check in and then comment on the show, share on Facebook or Twitter, or even text to friends through a form that says things like, “I’m loving Sherlock. Are you watching it?” with a link to the page within the BuddyTV app. BuddyTV includes a feature I didn’t find on other social TV apps: if you’ve got a DVR from TiVo, AT&T U-verse or DirecTV, you can use the app to control your DVR.

But the problems with the app far outweigh its usefulness. The app is built for the iPhone, so if you’re using it on an iPad you’ll need to deal with pixelated views. The app is portrait only, which I found especially annoying on the iPad. BuddyTV offers a standard grid style show listing, but when I tried to access it the app crashed every time. You can link your Netflix account to the app, which is supposed to take you directly to a streaming program when you check in, but unfortunately, the feature didn’t work for me. After speaking to a BuddyTV representative, I was told that version 2.6.1 fixes the Listing view issues that cause the app to crash, and the Netflix app now launches properly. BuddyTV representatives say native iPad support is on the way.

Once BuddyTV makes the app universal (or comes out with a separate iPad version), then there’s a lot of potential in its features. Until then, you’re better off with a listing app like TV Guide or a social TV app like GetGlue.

Editor's note: This article was updated on October 9, 2012 at 10:30 PT with comments from a BuddyTV representative about bug issues and an iPad client.

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