Could this free app let you bin your TV remote?

If you're one of those people who still watches broadcast television rather than stream it or download it off the internet, this new app could make your life a lot easier. It's from Freesat, the free satellite service set up by the BBC and ITV, and it's a great little app that could almost enable you to throw away the remote control for your set-top box.

Yes, you'll need a Freesat box, and a recent one with the Freetime smart TV guide installed. If you have both - plus of course an iPhone or iPad - then you're in business. You can use the app as a traditional TV guide that'll tell you what's on for the next week, but it's when you've paired it with your Freesat box that it really comes into its own. You can use the guide not only to plan your viewing, but also to set up recordings from anywhere you can connect to the internet. If you're watching TV you can use the app to change the channel and watch or manage programmes that you've recorded, as well as pausing, rewinding and all of that.

Missed a show? The Freesat app enables you to instantly launch on-demand programmes on BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD and Demand5, and if you're not sure what to watch there's a showcase section that'll give you plenty of suggestions.

We're impressed, not only by how much this app can do, but how well it organises and presents an awful lot of information without getting cluttered or bogged down in nested menus. It's not entirely perfect; the tappy/swipey transport controls don't really do it for us and we'd rather have the option of a set of traditional transport buttons to push, and the guide can be slow to load programme information at times.

Basically, though, we love it. It looks fantastic, it mostly works a treat and it's free. If you have the necessary technology to make the most of it, you'd be a fool not to.

Key info

  • Works with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
  • Price: Free
  • Developer: Freesat UK
  • Version: 1.01
  • App size: 13.3MB
  • Age rating: 4+

Words: Jim McCauley

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