Television Time Review
Television Time is an app that allows you to keep track of your television shows in a simple, elegant way, and it is the best TV trading app I have ever used. It achieves this status by being remarkably easy to use, having a particular killer feature that I haven't seen anywhere else, and being just plain reliable.
There are a whole host of apps out there that allow you to keep track of your TV viewing habits, but all of the ones I have tried have spent a few weeks on my phone and then get uninstalled as I simply lose interest. Television Time has been on my iPhone for many months, and I don't see it coming off anytime soon.
Television Time's Killer Feature: Calendar Sync
The main reason I use a television tracking app is so that I know when upcoming episodes are going to air. I don't review shows, I don't keep a detailed log of what I have seen, and I certainly don't tweet out that I'm watching something live. These are nice, but all I really want to know most of the time is whether there is a new episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on this Sunday.
I can already hear you saying "Matt, all television apps do this already!" and you're right, most of them do. But where Television Time won me over was in that it also adds your shows to your iCloud calendar. This is a brilliant addition because it means that I have full access to my upcoming shows without even needing to use the app at all.
This is great because if this is all you want, you simply need to load Television Time once, add all your shows, and then throw the app in your junk folder on your phone and never use it again. All your shows will be in your calendar so you can see them in whatever awesome calendar app you run your life out of.
To add on to the pile of awesome on display here, the calendar events added are not just generic entries like:
Silicon Valley 9-9:30pm
It's much more descriptive, including the episode number and title, as well as the network it's airing on and links to the episode on Trakt.tv and IMDB.
I did run into a little bug with this feature where it was duplicating episodes in my calendar. It was likely due to me having the app previously, uninstalling it, and then reinstalling the app. iOS apps don't have the ability to perform actions when they are uninstalled, so my Television Time calendar was;t deleted when I deleted the app.
To fix this, I had to delete the Television Time calendar from my iCloud account and then go into the Television Time app and tell it to re-sync with my calendar. Since doing this, all has been well.
I did just say that you can set up this app and then never use it again, but you probably won't want to do that. Television Time is a damn good-looking app that begs to be opened if only to see it.
The interface is very image-heavy as the app pulls promo images for each show and presents them in all list views throughout the app. This is usually looks very sharp, but can sometimes cause a readability issue for shows that have more noisy images. The Americans and Brooklyn Nine Nine are notable examples of this in my shows:
One of my favorite tricks of the wonderful Plex service is that you can view a promo image as well as description for each episode of a TV show. Television Time has feature too, and it works just as you'd expect.
You can share the episode via the social network of your choice, open the iTunes Store to buy the episode, and read comments from Trakt about the episode1.
Beyond this nice looking UI, the layout is smart and makes sense for displaying exactly what a TV fan is going to want to see when they use the app. The "Shows" page gives you a chronological list of upcoming episodes so you know what's on the horizon.
"To Watch" is essentially a simple task manager, as you can check off episodes as you watch them. This sort of page is nice for those moments when you're sitting on the couch asking "what did we miss last week?"
Discover is where you can search for new shows and find some popular/trending shows to add them to your list.
Stats gives you some hard truths about how much TV you've actually watched over the years. This screen makes you think maybe you should go do something else other than watch TV right now.
Settings is exactly what you think it is. You can turn on iCloud and Trakt.tv syncing here, as well as control whether you use the calendar integration feature, set your time zone, and activate notifications, among other little things.
The Little Things I Like
There are a few things about Television Time that aren't big tensile features, but make the app just a little nicer to use. First, I love the ability to mark all episodes as watched when adding a new show to my list. When you add a show that has hundreds of episodes, you don't want to have to tap through each episode to mark them as watched.
I'm also a big fan of the ability to manually shift the time a show airs. The intended use for this feature is likely for people to be able to fix errors, but I use it a slightly different way. There are a number of shows that I never watch live, so knowing when they are airing doesn't do me much good. Instead, I have shifted the time to the morning after they air so that I know when they hit Hulu/iTunes and I can watch them there.
There's also the ability to sync your show status with the Trakt service, which is not something I use, but is definitely nice for those who do. The app can automatically hide spoilers from you before you mark an episode as watched. Finally, I like that you can receive notifications for when new episodes air. These notifications can be turned on or off on a per show basis.
The Little Things I Hope Improve
There is not a ton I would change about the app as it is right now, but there are a few things I still have on my wish list.
First, I wish that I could have the app automatically open up to the "To Watch" screen, as that is what I'm going to use most times I launch the app. Right now it defaults to the "Shows" page, which I don't often use. It's a minor complaint, but it's a change that could save me a tap every time I launch the app.
Moving beyond the app's current functionality, I would love to see the ability to search for a particular episode from my list of shows. Right now I am able to search for show titles, it would be great if there was a way to search for "Charlie in charge" and find out that this was episode 6 of season 2 of Black-ish. If the search could somehow work in the episode summary as well, that would be even more impressive. The ability to search for a specific episode when you're thinking "it was the episode when..." would be a nice thing to have in a future version.
Finally, at the Apple Watch app is incredibly slow, and has not been updated for watchOS 2 yet. Given the seemingly low demand for Watch apps, I don't blame the developer, but as someone who really cares about the Apple Watch (and would love to be able to mark episodes as watched from my watch), this is something I hope gets better.
Beyond those two wishes, I don't have anything else I can really complain about with Television Time right now.
Should You Buy?
If you watch TV and are looking for a way to keep track of what you have watched and when your shows are airing next, then yes you should buy Television Time right now. It is the best overall solution that I have found to keep track of what I'm watching and make sure I don't miss an episode.
I'm a huge fan of the calendar integration, and the fact that it puts my television tracking in the place where I am already looking everyday. By having my TV schedule in my calendar, Television Time is enhancing a part of my daily workflow that already exists, rather than adding yet another app that I need to launch and manage on a daily basis.
But if you decide you do want to use Television Time as more than just a way to add your shows to your calendar, I think you'll be delighted by all it has to offer.
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