By Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla
As a streaming video device, Apple's iPad does a superb job of playing back high quality video provided the supporting application is well designed and there's ample content for users to watch. We were both thrilled and surprised when Citytv (a Rogers Company) launched their video app player for the iPad last week and minutes after installing the application we were duly impressed by what this free app had to offer.
Citytv covers Toronto, Winnipeg, algary, Edmonton and Vancouver as well as Alberta and B.C. and as a result should offer localized programming to iPad users in those specific areas.
A lot of this content is already available on the web via the station's respective website but it can be tough to find those homepages also feature local news, weather and traffic information. With the iPad app, you only get the shows.
Since we're based in Toronto, we could see some specific morning news shows (not live but recorded) as well as a host of prime time programs.
Installing the app is dead easy, simply download it from the app store and it will appear as a clickable icon on the iPad within a few seconds.
Once deployed, you are treated to a well designed and intuitive layout featuring TV shows categorized by "Popular," "Recent," and "Soon to Expire."
Shows are available for a few weeks and then replaced with newer episodes, which helps keep things fresh. Not all episodes for all shows are available however, which may be a bit frustrating for user who want to have marathons of particular programs.
Watching the shows is easy, simply click on the episode and it will begin playing an advertisement (hey, nothing is free!). Adverts are either the Scotiabank or the Yellow Pages ones and they repeat, a lot.
Once the initial ad has played then the episode starts playing and the widescreen viewing reorients on the iPad.
We watched episodes of Community as well as the engrossing new episode of Fringe.
Every ten minutes within the episode another advert is played. Sometimes one, sometimes two. It is still better than what you can expect from live TV or Cable but since there isn't much variety, it can get a bit repetetive.
We used the Citytv video app on a iOS 4.2 version 2 beta iPad and found the application to run smoothly. Considering that it is pulling video (via Wi-Fi) as well as running various animations and user options in the background, this app really delivers the goods and is an example of a great Canadian-made, high value app that every TV-loving iPad user should consider downloading.
If we were ever skeptical about video apps on the iPad, Citytv video app for the iPad convinces us that Apple's tablet is a viable video delivery service, at least via via Wi-Fi. The Citytv video app for the iPad is an amazing example of what can be achieved with great video content delivered by a tightly designed yet easy-to-use app.
Rating: 5 out of 5