Thursday, November 5, 2015

Australian TV Apps on iOS - Review (Part 1)

Australians, free television networks are making watching your favorite shows easier and more convenient for you. We now have more content online than ever before and if you have an iPhone, iPad, or computer, it's never been easier to catch up on TV in your own time. 

All major Australian television networks have iOS apps available. The Seven Network has Plus7, Channel 9 has 9jumpin, Network Ten has Tenplay, there is also SBS On DemandABC iview and ABC KIDS iview

But how do all these apps really perform? Are they worthy of even being on your iOS device? Will you have a great experience? And can I steam the video to my Apple TV? These are the main questions that I'll be answering in these reviews. 

Reviewing these apps, I'll be looking to for the following criteria: picture and sound quality. General features and user interface. The catalog of available shows to watch. How advertising effects the watch-ability and if the app supports AirPlay streaming to a Apple TV. 

Also note, these reviews are based on playback on a iPhone 6 and streaming to a 2014 Apple TV (not the newest one). These networks also have websites available where you can access many, if not all, of the same features. 

Picture and sound quality: Picture was ok, clear, but far from a HD clear image. Sound was ok for watching on a iPhone or iPad. 

Noteworthy Feature: Plus7 has recently added new live streaming of their three main channels to the app. You can live stream Channel 7, 7two, and 7mate. 

Show catalog: 7Plus features heaps of there shows, including: A Touch of Frost, Beach Cops, Better Homes and Gardens, Blindspot, Castle, Grimm, Heroes Reborn, Home and Away, How to Get Away with Murder, The Blacklist, The Chase, and many more... 

Ads: Yes. The 'hour long' episode that I watched featured seven commercial breaks. Commercial breaks featured multiple ads.  

AirPlay support?: No. 


Picture and sound quality: Quality improves based on your internet connection. Picture and sound was very good on mobile. 

Noteworthy Features: View shows previews, read up on the show and characters, and view Twitter feeds. *on selected shows.  

Show catalog: 9jumpin features many shows from there three main channels, including: 60 Minutes, Arrow, The Bachelor, The Big Bang Theory, Celebrity Apprentice, A Current Affair, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Hot Seat, Survivor, and more... 

Ads: Yes. The 'half hour show' featured four commercial breaks. Commercial breaks feature multiple ads. 

AirPlay support?: Yes. No button on the app, however you can switch on AirPlay to your Apple TV on through the iOS Control Panel. Streaming quality was very clear once it adjusted to your connections speed - this happens after every commercial break, as well. One problem however, if my iPhone's screen switched off, the video paused. Ad volume was also inconsistent. 

Picture and sound quality: Picture frequently was blurring and low quality on mobile. Sound was clear and fine for mobile. Picture quality on the Apple TV app varies. Maybe based on show, but sometimes was very low quality and hard to watch. Most shows were blurry and nowhere near even DVD quality.  

Noteworthy Features: With the MyTV feature, if you sign up, you can add favorite shows, create a watchlist's and episode playlists. Your can also set reminders. 

Show catalog: shows featured on Tenplay include: TBL Families, Homeland, Scream Queens, Have You Been Paying Attention, Limitless, Madam Secretary, Empire, Hawaii Five-O, Supernatural, Family Feud, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and more.   

Ads: Yes. Four commercial breaks on the 'half hour show'. Commercial breaks feature multiple ads. Volume is inconsistent, with some ads being much louder than the TV show.   

AirPlay support?: Tenplay wins in Apple TV support, because they are the only app at the moment that actually is featured as an official app on the Apple TV itself. No need to stream from your iPhone or iPad, you can watch whatever is available right from the Apple TV. 


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