Kewl App Alert: SeriesGuide Keeps Cord Cutters Up on New Shows

I don't watch a lot of television but when I do watch, I like to be efficient about it. I am not a channel surfer; I want to know what's available to me, pick something and settle in. Which is why I'm a happy cord cutter: no cable means on-demand viewing, no wasted hours channel surfing and especially, no ads. Not to mention, it saves a lot of money over the year. However, the first Fall after we got rid of cable, we came upon an interesting conundrum: we had no idea when new seasons of our favourite shows were starting, nor did we know about the new shows that would be coming out.

In early days, getting around this limitation meant manually checking IMDB or various cable websites for updates on the shows we wanted to track. This was cumbersome and time-consuming (remember my comment about efficiency?). And for the most part we ended up with a small number of favourite shows bookmarked, but we were missing out on other stuff unless we heard about it from friends.

Our preferred Raspberry Pi skin allowed us to set up a list of favourite shows for quick access and kept track of episodes we'd viewed. Which would have been great except for a hiccup when we would switch viewing apps or did an XBMC update: our bookmarks would sometimes get wiped out as apps got updated, and suddenly we were racking our brains trying to remember the full list of shows.

Hubby was using a site for a while that would tell him when new episodes came out, and he could manually update it to indicate which episodes he'd viewed but it just seemed like too much work to me. I don't really like the asynchronous experience of logging into the site to document our viewing habits and when he wasn't home, I'd have to log in with his account credentials if I wanted to see which episode we were on. All-in-all, I really felt like it was a waste of time when all I wanted was a little diversion during a moment of downtime.

Screen shot from SeriesGuide application
Then hubby came across a handy app called SeriesGuide: it's an Android app that can be used for both keeping tabs on favourite shows and discovering new shows as they are released.

[Hey iThing users, I didn't forget about you. Apparently the iOS equivalent is iTV Shows, however it only seems to be available on the US iStore for some reason. Sorry Canadians.]

The SeriesGuide user interface is clean and simple. To set up your interface, you just search for the shows that interest you and bookmark them. Your favourites list then becomes an episode guide: you can check all past episodes, find out when the next airs, check off the ones you've viewed (I skip that) and -- with the paid version -- even receive notifications when your show is about to air.

That last part means it's useful whether or not you have cut the cord: it can alert you cable-viewing types when your show is about to play so you can drop everything and watch your favourite ads interspersed with your favourite TV show (or more likely, set your PVR remotely since you're out having a life when your show is *actually* on).

It does happen that we get entirely caught up on viewing the shows we've bookmarked, so the search and discovery features (like the huge "Upcoming episodes" list which includes tons of shows I've never even heard of) are handy for discovering series that we might have missed otherwise or want to revisit. For example, given our penchant for House of Cards, I'm interested in watching the West Wing, which I missed out on back when it actually aired on TV.

Have your tried SeriesGuide? Do you have a similar app to keep track of your tv viewing options? I'm sure you fellow cord-cutters have your tricks. Let me know in the comments!

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