Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Review of BuddyTV as a SecondScreen experience

BuddyTV was a surprise find for me.  I was impressed with the ease of setup and the option to command and control my AT&T U-Verse set top box (which was also very easy to set up).  While there are certainly improvements that can me made to the Social and Stimulating aspects, it is clearly a step ahead of many others in Simple, Seamless and Discovery.

- Simple.  It allows direct control of AT&T U-Verse boxes thru a variety of interface options (gesture, classic remote, and integration directly to the descriptive title meta data which can launch to the right channel, etc).  If AT&T is your service provider, you should seriously consider this app for the control features on your first screen.  It also allows you to launch Netflix to the second screen (similar to Clicker and Fanhattan).  It is one of the few apps offering control of the box (apart from the apps created by DirecTV and Comcast for their own networks, of course).  Medium.

- Social.  While the setup for Twitter and Facebook is easy enough and making comments on either is straight forward, there is not an easy ability to track trending Twitter comments.  It didn't seem to pick up previous comments from my Facebook or Twitter friends on my favorite shows (or currently airing shows).  You can "check-in" similar to Clicker and GetGlue, which helps drive the recommendation engine.  Low.

- Seamless.  There is decent integration across your channel line-up (even if you don't have AT&T) and Netflix.  Hulu has not been integrated yet and you can't easily click Record for DVR integration (AT&T).  I would love to see integration with your local network, Amazon, YouTube, etc, for more content.  Medium.

- Stimulating.  The app falls well short here.  There is episode level descriptive meta data, but only at a cursory level.  There is no synchronized experience and no integration with other meta data sources (IMDB, Wikipedia, etc).  Low.

- Discovery.  Surprisingly, it has the best attempt at discovery so far (in this blog).  In addition to the concept of "Trending" or "Popular" shows, it takes you thru a series of rating questions with about 20 titles to try to seed the recommendation algorithm.  It also claims it reviews your Facebook posts and friend recommendations, which is certainly a step ahead of "people who liked your show watched this, too".  It offers a filter based on either upcoming *currently airing" shows, your own favorites, most popular, your "Watch List" (which also uses alert to notify you) and your DVR.  Well done.  Medium to High.

- Simple.  Medium.
- Social.  Low.
- Seamless. Medium.
- Stimulating.  Low.
- Discovery.  Medium to High.

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