San Francisco-based Dijit launched the web version of it’s NextGuide app Monday, and after playing with it for a while, I have to say the company may be onto something here.
Dijit launched an iPad version of NextGuide last summer, aiming to reinvent the traditional TV guide with universal search for movies and TV content across live TV and iPad apps from Netflix, (s NFLX) Hulu, iTunes (s AAPL) and others. Users of the app can also define searches for very specific interests and get recommendations for any content related to their hobby or their hometown.
It all makes sense – but I just don’t find myself frequenting the iPad app very much. Maybe it’s the fact that I just don’t feel like I don’t have enough choices for things to watch. Maybe it’s due to my binge viewing habits: while I’m burning through a new show (mind you, burning a very relative term if you have a job and a family), I don’t look for much else, and don’t need to know what’s on. Or maybe it’s just that the app is a bit too complicated for its own good.
But there’s something about NextGuide’s new web app sibling that is very intriguing. For one thing, it is a lot simpler than the iPad app, and it feels less like you have to turn thousand nobs before you get good results.
But the app also feels a lot more social, thanks to its Facebook (s FB) integration: Users can easily browse the movies and TV shows any of their Facebook friends have liked on the social network, no matter whether these contacts are using NextGuide or not. The results are displayed in a Pinterest-like fashion, inviting you to aimlessly browse around and check out what your friends like to watch.
Once you find something that catches your interest, you’re able to see which services it is playing on, add it to your own Watchlist or subscribe to email alerts to be notified when new episodes are available online, or on the air. Essentially, it turns your friends’ Facebook likes into your TV guide, and that’s pretty cool. Oh, and you can also compile a list of your own favorites to display to the world.
Pre-populating a video discovery service with data from Facebook certainly isn’t new – but there’s something about this kind of Pinterest-like approach that just invites browsing. And TV fans will appreciate that their friends’ likes, which are otherwise scattered on Facebook, are all brought together in one place.
Sure, there’s still room to improve NextGuide on the web. Recommending the right resources to play content is one of those things. For example, for a show like the Daily Show, it only recommends Hulu, Amazon (s AMZN) and iTunes, even though full episodes are also available on the show’s website.
But even with those shortcomings, I have to say that I enjoyed playing with the website, and I can see myself coming back to it much more often than to the app.