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"What's on TV tonight?" isn't quite as easy of a question as it used to be. With so many ways to watch our favorite shows and movies, just about anything can be on whenever (and wherever) we want -- it's just a matter of narrowing down the options.
Filtering through it all just got a whole lot easier with NextGuide, a dramatic reimagining of the classic TV guide. Instead of an unwieldy list of unwatchable channels, you get vivid programming squares that span many common sources of entertainment, like cable TV, iTunes, Netflix, and even Hulu Plus.
NextGuide is customizable in a variety of ways. Of course, you can input your favorite cable channels or shows, but what really sets it apart from your old-school old TV guide is its use of keywords. If you're a "Twilight" fan, for example, you can save a search for "vampires" or "Robert Pattinson," and you'll find a bunch of related shows and movies each time you log in. Tapping on a selection unearths a multitude of information, including video clips and related shows, and if the show is watchable on your iPad, it'll launch the appropriate app.
But if NextGuide wants to become the TV Guide of the digital generation, it needs a fair amount of work. While the user interface is inspired, it suffers from a significant amount of lag when scrolling through selections. Screens often switched while I was trying to scroll, mostly due to the excessive finger motion necessary to work through the constant stuttering, and some pictures were slow to load. Also, some of the shows it selected for me were downright baffling based on the criteria I entered, which speaks to some likely tweaking needed for the recommendation algorithm.
The bottom line. NextGuide is definitely onto something here, but if it wants to reinvent the TV guide, it might want to rethink its programming.
iPad running iOS 5.0 or later
Nice design. Good customization. Seamless integration with media apps.
Laggy interface. Somewhat unintuitive program selections. Some responsiveness issues.