Speaking of watching TV on my iPhone—well, I was speaking about it this morning—word just dropped that CBS just released an iPhone app for tv.com allowing iPhones to stream content from CBS and some of its sister networks.
I immediately downloaded the app. It “can play full episodes of TV series, ranging from C.S.I. to the original Star Trek,” according to the NY Times’ Bits blog. Well, yes it can. But based on my extremely brief trial run, it often prefers not to. The app offers content from a vast range of CBS and CW series, but many of the offerings (unless I’m just searching wrong) are clips. I want to watch 2 minutes of Flashpoint why, exactly? (TV.com also offers clips from Showtime series, but while I would be delighted if the company were dumb enough to give pay-cable series away free, I can hardly expect it to.) Couple this with the frequent “This video cannot be played at this time” errors I got, and there are definitely kinks to be worked out.
Still, it’s been a brief trial so far, the app is new and it’s free. The video, when it plays, is crisp and loads briskly. The offerings can be improved (there are plenty of full episodes, CBS shows included, on Joost for the iPhone) and I hope and suspect they will. But it’s a hopeful sign that a big network is willing to embrace TV on the iPhone, which actually has a fantastic little screen for portable viewing.
Consider the gauntlet thrown for Hulu, which does not offer an iPhone app, though I understand there are technical issues involving the video formats Hulu and the iPhone use. Get around those technical issues, Hulu. I don’t want to watch NCIS, but I’ll do it if I have to.