zeebox for iOS review

If you're a regular TV viewer then chances are you've seen ads for zeebox, an app for Apple and Android devices as well as viewing online.  Billed as your TV sidekick and the best thing to happen to TV since TV, zeebox aims to make the often-solitary pursuit of watching TV more interactive, sociable and fun. It's an idea that's attracted some high-profile supporters, not least Stephen Fry, along with five star reviews. You see and can be seen watching TV shows, by highlighting them on now and next channel listings, which are determined by selecting your TV provider. Users can then chat, interact and view related information, related links and news along with services, apps and products hopefully relevant to that particular show. The social aspects are dependent on your Facebook friends and Twitter followers, and those you follow, also being zeebox users. In reality, you can quickly feel like Billy No Mates, when it appears you're on your own watching that late night BBC Four documentary on the Mayan civilisation. 

 zeebox

Additionally, beside the listings are 'Starwatch' Tweets from a motley bunch – politicians, celebrities, actors, musicians, sporting types – who may or may not be watching the shows highlighted. Relevant Tweets are often so slight they add nothing to the enjoyment of watching TV. The makers also provide 'Live Zeetags,' hashtag style words associated with each show, which again are very hit or miss. A full 7 day TV guide is also available, supplementing the now and next listings, although this feels clunky to use. For those with Internet connected TV's, zeebox can be used to change channels. Users can also set reminders so they don't miss favourite TV shows, with "cool new functionality" promised by zeebox in the coming months. A long 'Terms of Use' states users must be over 18, which is at best bizarre, the makers claiming they will block access to minors.

OUR VERDICT

Apple iTunes App Store feedback suggests zeebox divides audiences sharply into those who love and get it, and those who simply don't see the point. In reality, zeebox falls some way short of those rave reviews, and yet shows enough potential to believe that it's a work in progress that still has a future.

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