Does Quality Television Beget Quality Apps?

TV apps are plentiful but which ones are worth your time?

By , Columnist
In this age of iPhone, iPads, and Android devices, it is no longer possible for a TV network to promote their shows by simply airing teasers during commercial breaks. These days it's get busy, get creative, or get gone.

The majority of television viewers are tech savvy, bringing their devices with them wherever they go. They tweet or sign into Facebook to chatter about the TV shows they enjoy. If a network fails to get involved with fans on this level, they are missing the opportunity to keep their viewers more deeply invested in their programming.

Which is why we're now seeing a proliferation of apps from the networks. Popular shows like House, Dexter, and Sons of Anarchy have their own excellent apps, put together by the shows' creative teams. They offer fans behind the scenes looks at the making of these programs. Writers and actors often get involved, giving an overview of episodes or responding to questions from viewers.

Conversely, some apps are shoddy, slapdash attempts to keep up with the times. NBC's new app is nothing more than a collection of clips and photo galleries. NBC needs to put more effort into this if they expect viewers to give their app more than a passing glance. Perhaps they should take a cue from ABC and their excellent ABC Player app.

The ABC Player is by far the most ambitious and comprehensive of the network apps available, for both the amount of programming offered and how often it is updated. At last count, thirty-seven full-length programs were featured on the app with four episodes each. That's not bad if you're out and about and want to see the most recent installments of a show you forgot to record.

You can search programming on a grid by day, week, and time, which makes it easy to see what is available.  There is also the option of checking your viewing history. All in all, ABC deserves two thumbs up for a useful, entertaining app that is easy to navigate.

CBS Sunday Morning's app would also make a fine addition to your app collection. This magazine style news show has been around for over thirty years with little fanfare, but it is informative, interesting, and loaded with intelligent commentary and content. The app offers a vast array of Sunday Morning's video content, from the most recent broadcast to those over a year old.  There is bound to be a story in these archives to intrigue or entertain you.

The great thing about all these apps is that they are free, so check them out.  If you have a favorite TV related app, let us know by leaving your recommendation in the comments section.

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Mindy Peterman is a freelance writer whose focus is on television, movies and pop culture. She has written over one hundred articles for the award winning website and has conducted interviews with producer Peter Asher, psychic-medium John Edward, Greg Grunberg and Bob Guiney from Band…

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