Finally, one of the networks has figured out that the iPhone represents a huge audience just waiting for some quality video content. CBS is the network in question, which must’ve gotten tech savvy when they acquired CNET a little while ago. They’re offering content, including full episodes, via the recently released TV.com (iTunes link) application for the iPhone and iPod touch. The app includes content from their affiliates Showtime and The CW.
Don’t get out your noise-makers and party hats just yet, however; it’s not all fun and games. The interface isn’t all that great, and the naming and organization of shows is worse than you’d find on some torrent sites. And the vast majority of the content isn’t full episodes at all, but little clips from various shows that make little sense out of context for the uninitiated, who you might expect an app like this to target (attracting new viewers is the idea, right CBS?).
But what is there, is golden. Full episodes of the original “Star Trek” series, “CSI” (and yes, sadly, “CSI: Miami,” too), and “MacGyver.” Yes, “MacGyver.” On your iPhone or iPod touch. The original DIY gadgeteer has finally arrived on the platform that he probably would’ve greatly appreciated, had it been available in his day. The selection of shows available from any of these titles (and the others they offer) seem chosen at random, however, so keep your fingers crossed that your favorite is among them.
Currently, TV.com is only available in the U.S. App Store, which is terrible for international fans like me. I used my U.S. account, since it’s a free download, but the app knows you’re in Canada (or any other country) based on your IP and displays the now all-too-familiar “We’re sorry, we hate your country” message. Luckily, if you’ve set up Hotspot Shield for iPhone (or iPod touch), like we told you to a while ago, you can still use the app, with very satisfactory results.
To say that CBS is the first to offer this sort of thing would be to ignore the excellent BBC iPlayer that our friends across the pond have been enjoying for months now, but it is the first of the big U.S. networks to go this route. In a perfect world, this would be the glove thrown to the ground that prompts the others to get on board and make this a proper duel, but the networks are confused and scared by this fancy Internet thing, so you never know. I’m keeping my eyes on the horizon for the inevitable Hulu app. Tell your goons to get on it, Baldwin.