TV is one of the best forms of entertainment in the USA and around the world. Talk to just about anyone, and they can give you their weekly TV schedule (mine includes 30 Rock, Community, Modern Family, Mr. Sunshine, and a few guilty pleasures). If you watch a lot of TV shows, they can become tough to manage — when is the next new episode on, did the show’s airing time/date change, is there a special viewing on, etc. Luckily, there are several Android apps that can handle these questions and much more.
As a big fan of TV, I’ve tested quite a few TV show apps for Android. Below are the best four I’ve tried, starting with my favorite.
Price: Free/$2.99 for Pro
TV Show Favs tops the list as my favorite app of the bunch. You can create a list of all of your favorite TV shows and track your progress through the series, with the ability to mark an episode, season, or the whole series as watched. Any unwatched episodes are added to your To Do list.
TV Show Favs also has two very helpful features: a schedule widget, which displays your next four upcoming shows (new episodes only) on the home screen, and the ability to add a show to your calendar. The best feature of the pro version is the ability to set notifications for upcoming shows, which you can set at 15, 30, 45, or 60 minutes before air time. Other pro features include themes and ad removal.
What makes TV Show Favs the best app, in my opinion, is the fine-grained control you have over marking your progress in a series, the at-a-glance schedule feature, and the widget (I love home screen widgets). The interface, I feel, is also much better that the others out there.
Episodes is probably TV Show Fav’s closest competitor as it includes a lot of the same features. You have the ability to create a list of all of your favorite TV shows, track your progress, and add shows to your calendar. It also integrates Android’s Share button, so you can send a TV show to Twitter, Facebook, or any other apps that allow you to share.
In testing the app, I really liked the search and felt it was a lot better than TV Show Favs, specifically because it has suggestive search — something that TV Show Favs lacks. It also lists each show’s next air date right on your show list page. However, TV Show Favs wins out because of the better series progress tracking, widget, and notifications native to the app. When it comes to marking a watched shows, Episodes allows you to mark a single episode or an entire series as watched, but not a season; this can get a little cumbersome if you’re a season or two behind.
TV Show Listings for Android asks, “What’s On?” and gives you the ability to browse the current TV listings in your area. The first time you open the app, you choose your zip code and cable provider, and you’re given a channel by channel listing of the shows on “Right Now.” You can also search specific times and dates, with a shortcut to the day’s prime time programming.
While you can’t create a list of shows, you can create reminders for shows you come across when view the listings. Something that is frustrating about this app is that, when you do a search for shows, it will only search for whatever time your currently viewing. For example, if I happen looking at what’s on “Right Now,” and the show I’m searching for isn’t on right now, it won’t show up in the search results.
One nice feature of the app is the ability to filter channels, so you don’t have to list all of them, even the ones you don’t watch. The feature takes the “exclude” route though, so if you only have a small set of channels you like to watch, you might spend a lot of time filtering.
This list wouldn’t be complete without TV Guide’s official app. They did a nice job here, combining some of the better features of each of the previously mentioned apps. Like TV Listings for Android, TV Guide asks you for your zip code and cable provider to give you the current TV listings. It’s search is a better, giving you results from anytime it has; however, TV Guide searches not only the title, but the description of each show. While searching for “Community,” I got a lot of results from other shows using the word ‘community’ in the description. A fix for this would be to make it so you can choose what to search (“title”, “description”, “all”, etc.)
TV Guide also allows you to create two lists: Favorite Shows, and Favorite Channels. Favorite Shows will list all of your shows, as well as when and on what channel they are airing. You also have the ability to set reminders for a specific episode or the entire series. Favorite Channels will list your channels and give you their full schedule for the next six days.
TV Guide also offers a news screen, giving you the latest in TV news. This is a nice feature for all of the pop culture nerds (like me)!
These four apps are only a small sample of all of the TV show apps out there for Android, but they top the list of the ones I’ve tried. Again, I’d recommend TV Show Favs for its nice series management and superior schedule features. If you want notifications without shelling out the $2.99, simply add the shows to your calendar (or create a new calendar for your TV show).
If you’re looking for something that gives you current channel listings, look no further than TV Guide Mobile. By combining real time TV listings with a simpler favorites feature and reminders, this app is one I can see becoming a crowd favorite. And as I said before, I just really like widgets.
Which ones do you use that didn’t make the list? Sound off in the comments!