Television watching continues to evolve and we are starting to see a movement towards it becoming more social than ever before. Apps are being used as what are called “second screens”, where people can interact about a show on their iPad while they are watching it on their tv. I truly believe that over the next couple of years we will start to continue to see an even bigger change in the television set itself as well as the way we watch shows and movies on it. With the advent of the Apple TV and Airplay, you can already start to see how the TV is becoming more than just a place where we sit to watch our favorite show or play video games.
To continue some of the nostalgia of it all, how many of you are old enough to remember what the paper version of the TV Guide used to be? I remember as a kid searching that thing weekly to see when my shows were going to be on for the week. Now, it is a relic and has been replaced in a variety of ways. One of them is a web app that I am going to be reviewing today called Next Guide. It takes parts of the old and mixes it with the new and tosses in some social features.
Replacing the TV Guide
Nowadays, you have two different types of video watchers: the ones who subscribe to cable, and the ones who have ditched it in favor of some other alternative. Whether you are a cable subscriber or not, Next Guide has got you covered to know when a show is available for you to watch. When you first get set up, it asks you if you are subscribed to a specific cable company in your area. This will come in handy here in a bit. The next thing you are going to want to do is find the shows that you are interested in watching throughout the week.
When you find the show you are looking for you can do a variety of things from there. One of the things you can do is add it to what is called your Watchlist, which is similar to bookmarking something. You can also set an alert that will let you know when the next time the show is going to air on tv or on a variety of streaming services. Speaking of streaming, if you are a non cable subscriber and you like to use the likes of Hulu, iTunes, Netflix, and Amazon, you will like that Next Guide shows you if a certain show or episode can be played on a specific platform. If it is, you just click on the icon for the streaming service and off you go to watch the episode.
Getting Social and Discovering More
One of the other main features of Next Guide is the fact that it has a variety of social features that could enhance the experience. The web app relies heavily on Facebook, so if you are not a user, you may not like this. After you connect your account to Next Guide, it is able to see what shows your friends like and lets you see them. Being that I am not a heavy tv and movie watcher, I don’t always know what are the good shows and movies to be paying attention to or to watch.
Next Guide gives you the ability to follow other people who use the app to see what they are liking and recommending to others. Each person has their own profile that shows different shows or movies that they have marked as their favorite on Next Guide. You can also see who they follow and the things that they have favorited and follow them too if you like. The thing that I like about this feature is that if you find someone who has similar tastes to you, you can really find a lot of good content to watch or save for later viewing.
Along with using the social features to find more content, the app gives you a lot of other ways to discover shows and movies. There are drop down menus that show you what your Facebook friends are liking as well as some of the other shows that are popular. The Next Guide can also show you fans that are similar to you so you can discover content that is similar to what you like.
Step In The Right Direction
After playing around with the app for a bit, although I am not one who watches a ton of tv or movies, I still found it very useful. I liked that I could have all of my shows that I like to watch regularly in one place to let me know when it was going to be on again and giving me the option to view them on streaming services as well. I am not huge into the social piece of it, mainly because I kind of know what I want to watch, but it was nice to be able to see what my friends from Facebook liked. It gave me some good insight into recommendations for things that I would like to see in the future.
Right now the site is in beta, but it does work very well and there weren’t any noticeable bugs that I could find. I would love to see more interactive features where you can comment on shows with others to get their thoughts. But, other than that I like what I saw and I will continue to use it. They also have an iPad version that has been out for a little while now and it has a lot of the same features, but is definitely more interactive than its web counterpart. Both are free to use, and I found can come in very handy for both cable customers as well as streamers alike.
The Next Guide combines the features of the tv guide along with social features to share and see what others are watching.8
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