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TVUPlayer review

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Thanks to the iPhone’s large screen, the device is a great partner for your videos, once you’ve converted them, that is. Once you’ve tried that out, the next step is always tempting- why not TV? Using the iPhone’s browser, you can easily get hooked into the BBC’s iPlayer, but what about other TV channels?

TVUPlayer is a free app that hooks you into more than 300 channels across the world via Wi-Fi. If that sounds daunting, it is. Thankfully, you don’t have to tune them in manually whilst waggling an aerial around.

After starting the app, which can take some time, TVUPlayer dumps a list of channels in front of you. Each one is paired with a thumbnail screengrab, but unfortunately they’re not ordered in any particular fashion.

Making the app anywhere near usable is a case of trawling through the list of hundreds of channels and adding those of interest to your favourites. After slaving away at the list TVUPlayer presented us, we were only particularly convinced by Sky News and a few broadcasting oldie public domain films. The vast majority of the hundreds of other channels are from other countries, with a great many broadcasting from India and the East.

Even if English speakers may not be able to understand them, there’s still a curiosity value to these other channels. Unfortunately, technical issues that kill the mood of this multicultural party hold TVUPlayer back. On many of the channels, the iPhone struggles to keep the video fluid, leading to a slideshow effect that’ll put off even the most keen of foreign TV fans.

Although this is at least partly down to the iPhone’s hardware limitations, a more professional app would filter out these unusable TV stations, not to mention the ones that are not even on-air, which cluttered our list.

Furthermore, there’s the issue that TVUPlayer doesn’t let you watch the channels in full screen either. Instead, you’re constrained to a box that takes up less than half the screen. This reduces even the perfectly functional Sky News channel to a bit of a gimmick.

Add this lack of core functionality to the mess that is the channel list and TVUPlayer becomes a less than attractive proposition. It amuses for a while as you browse around the channel list, looking for a channel more outlandish than the last, but- for English speakers at least- there’s not much on offer that you’d actually want to watch.

Until services like the BBC iPlayer, 4OD and the ITV Player get their own dedicated apps, we may not see a hugely impressive iPhone TV app. For now, you’re much better off using the iPlayer via your browser rather than TVUPlayer. In spite of having to navigate to the BBC site, it’s still far more user friendly than this offering.

TVUPlayer info

Ease of use: [[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”thumbnail_60x60″,”fid”:”21624″,”attributes”:{“alt”:””,”class”:”media-image”,”height”:”60″,”width”:”60″}}]]
Value: [[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”thumbnail_60x60″,”fid”:”21621″,”attributes”:{“alt”:””,”class”:”media-image”,”height”:”60″,”width”:”60″}}]]
Features: [[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”thumbnail_60x60″,”fid”:”21624″,”attributes”:{“alt”:””,”class”:”media-image”,”height”:”60″,”width”:”60″}}]]
Overall [[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”thumbnail_60x60″,”fid”:”21624″,”attributes”:{“alt”:””,”class”:”media-image”,”height”:”60″,”width”:”60″}}]]

Platform: Apple iPhone

Price: Free

Developer: TVU Networks

Website/Demo: TVU Networks

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