APP OF THE DAY: TVCatchup review (Android)
Watching TV on your Android device has never been too much of a problem. Flash support in the browser meant it was relatively easy to navigate to a catch-up TV site to stream content, or use one of the dedicated apps.
With services moving on from Flash, and Android and Adobe heading in different directions, the landscape is changing. But if you’re a fan of watching TV on your Android smartphone, then today's app is pretty much essential.
- Google Play
TVCatchup has been around for some time, a favourite over on iOS, but now making the jump to Android.
The name is perhaps the most confusing part of what is a very simple app, because it isn't a catch-up TV service. TVCatchup isn't a TV on-demand service, you can't dial up yesterday's episode of EastEnders or watch a series of Sherlock.
What TVCatchup offers you is essentially a live Freeview EPG. UK residents will be familiar with the channels it offers, as it's more or less the basic channels you'll have on your digital TV.
That means you get access to BBC, ITV, Four, Five and variations thereof, including +1 channels, Dave, and so on.
The channel guide shows you what's on now and next, you tap the channel you want and it starts streaming into your phone. That's it. Simple.
The app is ad supported and as well as a banner across the bottom of the app, you'll have an app you'll have to close before you get access to the programme you want. It's slightly irksome, but such is the reality of free apps.
We found the playback quality to be reasonable. We're not sure what the bitrate is, but it's good enough for casual watching. You need to be connected to a Wi-Fi network for it to work, but we've found the programmes are fast to start and playback was generally without fault.
There are no playback controls as this is a straight stream from the live service. The only options you have are to return to the EPG, or share what you're watching.
Choose to share with Twitter and a tweet will be pre-populated, including a plug for the app and a link, but fortunately you can edit so it says what you want.
And that, as they say, is that. It's a simple app that delivers and if you're in the UK, a fan of TV with an Android phone, you should download it now.