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While there’s a growing number of TV show discovery services using mobile devices (aka the second screen) to enhance your viewing experience, few have the name recognition of TV Guide.
Today the company released an update to its TV Guide iOS app that offers users a brand new way to search for shows, connect with friends, and discover new content. The changes to the app acknowledge that people are now starting to reach for their iPhones and iPads rather than a printed publication filled with the week’s show listings.
“Basically you can think of this whole app as a prism, with many many facets of discovery,” said TV Guide General Manager Christy Tanner in an interview with VentureBeat.
Some of the new features included in TV Guide’s iOS app update includes the ability to curate video searches based on a specific program or actor, sharing thoughts on what you’re watching via Facebook or Twitter directly from the app, and celebrity Watchlists — a set of shows handpicked by a notable person.
Both personal and celebrity Watchlists allow users to see what’s now playing on television, as well as where they can watch the show online via streaming services. When users do find a show they want to watch via streaming service, the TV Guide app will allow them to automatically begin playing the program directly. This is also true of apps like Verizon’s recently announced Viewdini.
Right now the auto-play functionality is only available for 10 services — including iTunes, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, ABC, ABC Family, CW, and Crackle — but Tanner told me more services will be added in the future.
Other features include news updates from TVGuide.com, celebrity interviews, and of course all the functionality of the old school programming grid most people are familiar with.
“Of course we know people still want the traditional grid. Our audience is trained to use the old grid, so what we’ve done is improve upon it,” Tanner said, adding that the app’s navigation is a bit simpler and faster overall. As VentureBeat previously reported, TV Guide’s traditional grid allows you to search for what’s on using a list of favorite channels and allows you to sort between HD or standard definition channels.
Support for the new features is coming to Android and other platforms soon. The TV Guide service is currently used by over 7 million active monthly users.