iShows 2 is a Phenomenal TV Show Tracking App for iOS
Just like many of our readers, I love watching TV shows and spend a lot of time every week following various episodes of different TV shows across multiple networks and channels. Over the last few years, we’ve showcased a lot of TV show tracking apps here on Beautiful Pixels and each app has brought something unique to the table in an effort to target an audience with different tastes. Today marks the release of iShows 2 on the App Store, a huge update to iShows that was released in 2013. iShows 2 is, without a doubt, the best TV app available out there, for any platform. Let’s take a look at what makes iShows 2 so special.
New Design & Customizations
iShows 2 has undergone a complete makeover and looks nothing like the first version. It now sports an absolutely stellar design and is just gorgeous to look at. Gone is the old design full of ‘gaps’ and the new UI makes great use of the screen real estate. iShows 2 offers you the ability to customize the layout according to your liking. You can choose between either a Poster Layout (vertical images) or a Fanart Layout (horizontal images) for the list of TV Shows that you have added and are tracking in the app. There’s also an option to turn on a ‘Condensed Layout’, which lessens the padding and displays tighter artwork. I personally love the Condensed, Poster Layout. Once you’ve settled on the Layout, you can choose what theme you want. iShows 2 offers a choice between a Light & Dark theme, along with 6 different highlight colors to choose from. There’s also a ‘Tinted Background’ option you can enable that uses the highlight color to slightly add a tint to the background. Additionally, there are three special show-inpired themes available in the app — The Kingslayer Theme (Game of Thrones), The Terminus Theme (The Walking Dead) and The Albuquerque Theme (Breaking Bad). You can set iShows 2 to choose a random theme every day or shake your phone to change the theme.
Discovering & Tracking TV Shows
I absolutely love the way iShows 2 lets you discover, search, add and track TV shows in the app. To add a new show, you begin by tapping the little ‘+’ sign at the top right of the main screen. Here, you are presented with 6 different sections through which you can discover or search for TV shows. The first one is iShows Picks, which features hand-picked recommendations, followed by the Trending and Popular sections, which display all the currently trending and popular TV shows. Based off the TV shows you’ve added in the app, iShows 2 can also recommend you some shows in the Recommendations section. If you have a Trakt.tv account (more on this later), iShows 2 displays your friends and followers in the Social tab and and you can view their list of shows here too. Of course, you can manually Search for a TV Show you already know about.
Once you are done adding TV shows in the app, you are presented with the main screen that has four tabs at the bottom — Active, Archives, Favorites and Search (Filter). The Active section shows you the TV shows that you are currently watching and want to keep up with every episode as it airs. Here, the app shows you which is the last episode that has aired for each TV show, how many episodes you’ve missed (if you’re lagging) or how many days until the next episode airs. You can quickly swipe right to left on a TV show to mark the episode as watched. Swiping left to right allows you to change the artwork instead. To archive a show or mark it as favorite, simply tap and hold on the show’s artwork. When you pull down on this screen, iShows 2 displays the number of shows in your Active list, how many you’ve archived, and how many are marked as favorites. Based on your usage, iShows 2 includes a small element of gamification and displays your current level at the top. Pulling down on this screen even more displays a random quote from a random TV show.
TV Show Details
iShows 2 isn’t just a pretty app, it also excels in the way it brings you information about any TV show. You can view details about the entire show, including the cast, genre, network, air time, rating, etc. or you can view details about a specific episode. The entire list of episodes is available on the right and you can pull to toggle between special episodes in the list.
Powered by Trakt.tv
iShows 2 utilizes Trakt.tv to sync between devices, but it’s a somewhat weird implementation of sync. Once you sign in with your account, the app only syncs your watched/unwatched states of shows. It doesn’t automatically add your existing shows to a new device when you sign in — that’s a manual task. Once you’ve added the shows, all your watched/unwatched states are kept in sync across devices.
Trakt.tv also powers the ratings, comments and the Social section described above.
Notification Center Widget
iShows 2 offers a lovely Today Widget for your active shows that lets you quickly glance at the upcoming shows and episodes, as well as know how many episodes you are yet to watch. I really like this handy widget.
iShows 2 can notify you about a new episode for a show you’re tracking in the app. You can either have the notification alert you at a fixed time or offset it based off the time the episode actually airs. You can pick anywhere between ‘3 hours before’ to ‘1 day after’. In the app Settings, you can ask iShows to notify you about only your Favorite TV shows if you want.
iShows 2 is a super powerful and extremely good looking app to track your TV shows. I’ve been beta testing it over the last three months and have been witness to the incredible efforts that have gone into crafting it. It is a phenomenal release with a lot of impressive features. However, I do think that there are some areas that need to be worked on or features that would be great if introduced. For example, there’s so much that can be done to the iPad version and the screen real estate available for play there.
iShows 2 is a Universal app and is available for Free on the App Store and lets you track up to 4 shows. To add more, there’s a simple $3.99 IAP, which is quite an easy decision to make. The three show-inspired themes on the other hand are $0.99 each or $1.99 for the whole pack. At $5.99, iShows 2 delivers an incredible value to anyone who is remotely interested in tracking TV shows on his device.