App of the Week - TVCatchup
This is the first in a weekly series of articles that
identifies Android applications that really stand out from the crowd.
We anticipate that the vast majority of applications covered in
this weekly feature will be downloadable from Google Play. The first
article looks at the TVCatchup Android application. However,
TVCatchup is not yet available on Google Play as there is only a beta
release available, so users may have missed this gem. The application
is in beta
release as it has not yet been fully tested for bugs.
TVCatchup is a popular internet service that lets viewers
watch live UK Freeview television. The service re-broadcasts over 40
different tv channels including BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and some
Please note that a UK TV licence is required to use TVCatchup.
Contrary to its name, the service offers live television channels, and
hence the requirement for the TV licence. If you live outside the UK,
individuals are not recommended to try using a UK proxy to use
TVCatchup. This is because the developers, TVCatchup Limited, monitor
proxy usage, and will block access.
When starting the application, a splash screen is
displayed (depicted in the first screenshot), followed by an
advertisement. The TVCatchup service is funded by these advertisements.
After clicking the cross to remove the advert, users are presented with
a scrollable channel list showing what programme is currently showing
channel, and the next programme to follow. The second screenshot shows
the channel list on the left, and a live TV channel on the right side.
The Android app is exceptionally easy to use. The simplicity
of the app makes it very appealing, with very few options to
investigate. Keep it simple is this application's forte.
We can display the tv programme full screen either by tapping
the full screen icon, or by a double tap on the live feed. A single tap
gives you the option to pause the live feed, particularly handy if you
get temporarily interrupted when watching a programme.
If you have installed the Twitter client, there is also the
option to send a tweet to your twitter followers, letting them know
what programme you are currently watching.
Picture quality is pretty good. Yes, there are no HD streams
to watch, but on Android devices with 10 inch screens (or smaller),
artifacts are not too visible especially on the mainstream channels.
Audio synchronisation is excellent. Watching TV using TVCatchup
on the Samsung Galaxy Tab was genuinely enjoyable.
There are a few features that we would like to see that are
already available in the Adobe Flash Player web application. For
the Android app does not allow users to change the aspect ratio.
Without this option, some channel programmes are
displayed in the wrong aspect ratio. Also there is no option to change
the video quality. This could be important to users that have limited
As outlined above, the Android version of TVCatchup is
currently in beta release, so we were expecting the application to have
some problems. However, whilst there were a few occasions when the tv
stream stopped, overall the application is pretty robust.
- Over 40 channels are available.
- Entertainment channels: BBC 1, BBC 2, ITV 1, Channel 4,
Channel 5, BBC Three, BBC Four, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, E4, More 4, Dave,
5 USA, 5*, PickTV, Quest, Yesterday, Really
- Film channels: Film 4, movies4men
- Music channels: 4seven, 4Music, Viva, Channel
- Children channels: CBBC, CBeebies, CITV
- News channels: BBC News, BBC Parliament, Sky News, Al
- Shopping channels: Bid TV, Price Shop, QVC, Speed Auction
- Other channels: Clubbing TV, Vintage
TV, Ideal World, Create and Craft, Ideal
& More, Ideal Extra
- Timeshifted channels: ITV1 +1, Channel 4 +1, Channel 5 +1,
ITV2 +1, ITV3 +1, ITV4 +1, E4 +1, More 4 +1, Film4 +1, 5 USA +1,
- Olympics channels
- Optimised for both phone and tablets
- Transition animations on channel list
- Full screen mode
- Facility to send tweets to alert your followers what you
TVCatchup is an excellent free service. The
Android application is a must download for any UK resident. Whilst
there is the occasional lock-up, hopefully the few bugs in the
application will be ironed out. The advertisements are not intrusive.
Check out our collection of Android
Group Tests, identifying the finest free Android
Last Updated Saturday, July 28 2012 @ 02:24 PM EDT