There’s certainly plenty of choices these days when it comes to cable or satellite TV programming. But finding the programs you want, when you want them can be a major pain in the butt. (Can anyone remember Comcast’s channel for Fox Soccer Channel HD?)
But BuddyTV is looking to solve that pain point with a new iPhone and iPad app that not only allows users to change channels with a single tap but also offers recommendations on shows you might like. It also tells the viewer if the show they want to watch is available in HD — a key feature for those (like me) who forget or don’t know the HD channels on the dial.
“Our goal was to deliver an experience that gets users to the content they want to watch in less than 20 seconds,” explains BuddyTV co-founder Andy Liu. An avid Seattle Mariners’ fan (even amid the slump), Liu said that the app recommends the ball game whenever the M’s are no TV and allows him to navigate to the channel in a single click.
That means users of the app don’t have to scroll through a bunch of nonsense to find ABC on channel 104 or ESPN on 627.
“We’re smart enough to put those programs upfront that you are most likely going to watch and it includes listings for shows that come from cable provider, Netflix, and other online sources,” Liu tells GeekWire.
The app also allows users to join the BuddyTV chat rooms or send comments to Facebook, making the TV viewing experience that much more social.
Sounds pretty cool, no? Problem is the BuddyTV Guide app only works in conjunction with a few services — namely Google TV, TiVo Series 3 and other devices from Logitech Revue.
If you don’t have one of those devices, you are out of luck, at least for now.
Founded in 2005 by Liu and David Niu — who sold their last company to aQuantive — BuddyTV is backed by Madrona Venture Group, Seattle angels and others. At one point, the company also took an investment from what was known at the time as Gemstar-TV Guide International, operator of TVGuide.com
Gemstar eventually was sold off to Macrovision, which became Rovi. It is unclear whether Rovi — through its various corporate machinations — maintained its equity interest in BuddyTV. (We’ve asked Liu for clarification on that point).
UPDATE: Liu said that Rovi is no longer an investor in BuddyTV. He adds: “We are not directly competing with them – our focus is on discovery and control, they are really focused on listings.”
Meanwhile, here’s a closer look at how the BuddyTV Guide app works: