The much awaited Fall season is finally here and it brings along with it plethora of great TV shows that we have been eagerly waiting for. I am still livid at the Emmy jury panel for not awarding ‘Community’ with an Emmy but that will not deter me from watching and wholeheartedly supporting the show. Community is one of the few TV shows that I follow but keeping track of them can become a serious headache. There is nothing more frustrating than missing out on the much awaited episode of your favorite TV show. Today we take a look at Fav.tv, an app that not only helps you keep track of your favorite TV shows but also blends in social features to enhance your TV viewing experience.
Fav.tv web app has been in closed beta since a couple of months but a few days back it opened its doors to everyone while throwing in a slick iOS app in the mix. The Fav.tv iOS app and the web service in general, are heavily inspired from Facebook in a good way. The iOS app has an interface quite similar to the Facebook app sans all the bugs and crashes. There are quite a few things that cannot be accomplished from the iOS app and for those you’re forced to use the web app. This is not necessarily a bad thing as the web app is equally well designed featuring some yummy pixels that make you wanna lick your screen.
At iOS app launch, you’re greeted with five red blocks that represent five different sections of the app and a search bar. The search bar lets you quickly search for TV shows and from the show information page you can follow a show or pin it to the front page for quick access. The episodes for a show are neatly listed in the ‘Episodes’ tab. The ‘Activity’ tab is where all the buzz about a show is hidden. In there, you’ll find updates from other users of the Fav.tv service specific to a TV show. Fav.tv has developed this smart algorithm that runs in the background that scans for words/phrases that might relate to a TV show when you post an update on the service and collates them in the ‘Activity’ tab. In case you were wondering, Fav.tv does let you post Facebook like statuses to the service. One can follow other users to get a feed of their updates and also take a sneak peek at the shows they’re currently interested in. Messages can be exchanged between users; a feature that seems a bit of an overkill for a web service that is in its nascent stages. Notifications have been implemented in an interesting fashion by allocating them a dedicated screen left of the main screen; something that Facebook should definitely take a cue from.
Once you have followed a bunch of shows, Fav.tv gets to work and finds the latest episodes aired and places them in the ‘Queue’ section. So if you have missed out on an episodes, this is place to dig them out. If you’ve already seen them, mark them as watched and leave a comment for the community to see. Sadly, Fav.tv does not tell you when an episode will air again, so you’re on your own on that front. But to make sure you do not miss out on any upcoming episodes, Fav.tv has a dedicated ‘What’s On’ section in the app. Tap that and select ‘My shows’ to see which of your shows are airing today. Of course you can select the ‘All shows’ option to see shows currently being aired. There is a neat calendar bar at the bottom using which you can browse the schedule for the whole month. The app also packs in some nifty animations that greatly enhance the overall app experience.
Reminders is another powerful feature of the service accessible through the web app that allows you to setup email/text message notifications to be sent before a TV show goes on air. Searching for friends using the iOS app isn’t possible but I hear the latest update fixes that. Profile editing using the iOS app is also limited. The web app is an excellent companion to the iOS app as it presents interesting scoops and tidbits from the TV industry. Fav.tv on the whole has made a great beginning but it lacks Twitter/Facebook integration hence making user discovery a tough task. One good thing about Fav.tv is that it did not adopt Foursquare like check-in model that a lot of apps in the same category have implemented. This reduces clutter in your activity feed and I feel posting comments about the show is a much better way to build up interaction with the community. In hindsight, the iOS and the web apps complement each other beautifully and you’ll end up using both on a daily basis. The best part is that neither the app or the service cost a dime making it a must-have app on your iOS device if you’re a TV fanatic like me. Go grab it now!