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.
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.]