Developer: Vincent Verweij
Price: $2.99 Download on the App Store
Television from Makayama is not exactly television. This iPhone app is a video aggregator showing pre-recorded clips and podcasts, most of which are already available on the web. The Television app requires WiFi and will not work on the 3G cellular network.
The shortfalls of Television are immediately apparent. The most criticized aspect of Television for the iPhone and iPod touch is that the majority of the shows available are short clips, not full episodes.
Makayama advertises that there are over 70 shows from 40 channels. In smaller print we learn that less than three quarters of the channels are in English. Of these 30 or so channels, a mere 10 are from well-known television networks; the rest are internet television stations. And finally, of the 10 networks, half play exclusively news clips.
On that note, if you like to watch the news and have all of your news video podcasts in one place, you might find the Television app useful.
This morning I watched the news headlines on CNN. It was only two and a half minutes long, but that’s about all the news I can take before my morning coffee. CBS and NBC only offered more news. I checked the MTV lineup. Empty. HBO? Season highlights and previews. The VH1 lineup seemed promising with Rock of Love Bus and Celebrity Rehab, but then I realized these were also two minute highlight clips. Same with National Geographic and Discovery. The entertainment selection was depressing.
Two things cheered me up: The Onion Network, whose fake news reels made me laugh out loud, and stand up comedian clips from Comedy Central.
The Television app itself is intuitive and simple to navigate. The picture quality on the iPhone is excellent, as is the sound quality. On my home WiFi, the videos streamed smoothly with no fits and starts.
As long as you know what you are purchasing, Television could make you happy. If you want to save the $2.99, YouTube might do you fine. If you want to watch a full episode of anything, you are going to need to invest in a real television.