Best App: Watch TV With Thousands of Friends

Monday, August 15, 2011

Best App: Watch TV With Thousands of Friends

From TechGoesStrong.Com


SocialGuide app for Apple iOS and Android means never watching TV alone

Sure, your family is home after dinner. But prime time is not exactly family time. The kids are in their rooms doing homework or playing video games or – you ARE monitoring their Internet surfing, right? – and your spouse is semi-dozing in the den half-watching a ballgame between food coma narcoleptic fits, leaving you alone to watch The Real Housewives of Wherever on Bravo.

Except, there's no reason to be alone to watch TV thanks to SocialGuide, an app for iPhone/iPod Touch and Android as well as a Web site that aggregates Twitter and Facebook comments on shows airing right now.

In other words, if you tune into True Blood on HBO, then fire up the SocialGuide app on your phone or tablet, you can comment on the action and read comments from thousands of other viewers as Antonia escapes from prison by gaining control of Luis then attacks Bill, who stakes Luis after he informs him that Antonia is back. And I have NO idea what I just said.

Anyway, the app lists programs in a most-watched list, or you can sort them by Series, Reality, Movies, Sports and News. Next to the listing for each show is the latest Tweet, and they're all constantly being updated. It's 4am as I write this, and there are 45,000 people on the app watching and Tweeting.

Once you tap on a show, you get the entire running commentary. After you register, you can join in. You can read comments from everyone, just from a group of actual friends either you've invited or have invited you, or read the Tweets from actual cast members watching their own shows, which is kind of wonderfully weird in a peek-behind-the-scenes yet obviously self-promoting kind of way.

SocialGuide is a comfort, a way to watch TV and feel connected with other viewers even if you're physically alone, even via this impersonal, imperfect app vehicle.

And it is imperfect.

Where's the iPad app?

SocialGuide's biggest problem is there is no iPad-specific app. You have to use and blow-up the iPhone app, which feels truncated.

For one thing, you have to use SocialGuide in portrait mode – holding the iPad vertically instead of the more natural horizontal when you're lazily ensconced on the sofa.

For another, who watches TV with their phone in their lap?

I also found both the app and the Web site a bit buggy. When I was having trouble with the iPhone app on the iPad, I switched to the SocialGuide Web site on the Safari mobile Web browser and got this disclaimer/excuse:

We're a new site and still working out some bugs.

No kidding.

But stick with SocialGuide. As you may know, I'm not a big fan of social media, but SocialGuide's targeted Twitter aggregation is often more entertaining than the show being commented on.