With so much television to choose from, and only so many hours a day in which to enjoy it at home, the next logical step would be to take your favourite programmes on the move. Whilst portable TVs have existed for years, they never really made the grade when it came to picture or sound quality, so can your tablet or smartphone do any better?
If you are in the mood for catching up with Top Gear whilst on the train or the Premier League whilst in the park, here are a few apps and gadgets that could be of interest to you.
Upon the demise of the highly popular (and unofficial) BeebPlayer app, Android users found themselves in the wilderness when it came time to catch up with Auntie. All of that changed at the start of the year however when the BBC launched their own iPlayer app for Android, providing live TV and radio services as well as a 30-day ‘on demand’ service.
By the time that the iPlayer app hit the Android Market, the BBC had already created iPlayer apps for the Playstation 3 and the Nintendo Wii, leading us to one big question – why didn’t they try to bring in the wandering masses sooner?
This isn’t an app per se, but an online service that has been designed specifically to work with the iPhone and iPad. TVCatchup effectively turns your smartphone or tablet into a Freeview TV tuner, allowing you to access the 50+ digital free-to-air channels from anywhere in the UK where you can find a Wi-Fi or 3G signal. There’s no on-demand service here, just live streams of Freeview channels.
To get an idea of its popularity, try watching a major sporting event that just happens to be played during office hours. During recent World Cup and Wimbledon tournaments, the service has been known to struggle with the demand, although those problems seem to be getting fewer and farther between.
BSkyB’s much trumpeted Sky Go offering has been checked out by around one million Sky subscribers since its official launch in July, according to the broadcaster’s own statistics. That’s an impressive figure for such an ambitious service, though it’s worth noting that smartphone options are strictly limited.
At the moment only users of Apple’s mobile devices can join the party, and even then you’re limited to just Sky News, ESPN and the channels from Sky Sports and Sky Movies. You also need to be a Sky subscriber to use the service and there is no version for Android as of yet.