Review: GetGlue for iPad

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GetGlue started as Foursquare-style check-in app for TV—you could let others know what you’re watching and get awards for your show check-ins—but the recently updated iPad app (which is compatible with any iPad running iOS 5.0 or later) adds more ways to interact and discover new shows. Although the interface could be more intuitive, these new features work well, and its large user community makes GetGlue the most engaging of the social TV apps available now.

The app changes the model for show discovery. GetGlue eschews the familiar grid listing style that we’re used to from onscreen TV guides, and instead lists what’s on now—but not everything that’s on. It recommends shows based on what you’ve liked before. This has advantages—your Guide shows what you’re most likely going to want to watch. The downside is that you may miss shows that you didn’t know you’d like. If you select a show, you can check in, see options for watching it online (via iTunes, Amazon, or Netflix), and start discussing the show.

Discussions happen in your Feed, but finding the Feed for a specific show can be a challenge. The main feed tab on the left displays tweets from shows and TV stars you indicated you like. But to get to the user discussions about a show, the easiest way is to find it in the Guide first and then drill down to its feed. If you’re looking for an active discussion, use the Trending tab at the bottom of the main Feed page to see shows that have the most people checked in.

A warning: the chat feature doesn’t account for time shifting. Instead of seeing comments separated by show, you see all comments related to the show at the same time. This can get confusing and result in spoilers.

But when you get down to it, it’s the number of other people interacting that makes GetGlue successful. For popular events like the Emmys, thousands of people check in and chat. Other social TV apps like Into_Now may be more intuitive and have better features, but if you can’t find someone to chat with, the features don’t matter. For a combination of show discovery and social features, GetGlue is your best all-in-one choice.

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