You've probably heard us banging on about TVCatchup before, particularly with this summer of sport that's had many of us glued for hours on end to our TV sets. In essence, it's a free online streaming service that brings live free-to-air television content from more than 50 channels to any web-connected device. See Best Android Apps.

You'll need a TV licence to watch programmes on your tablet or smartphone, and it's advisable - although not essential - to connect via Wi-Fi, too. (If you are using 3G, watch you don't go over your data allowance and incur a hefty charge on your monthly bill.) See Android Advisor.

iPhone and iPad users have had access to a dedicated TVCatchup app for years now, whereas us Android fans have instead had to use the full desktop version of the site. That's fine for tablets with Wi-Fi access, but the interface can be much more difficult to navigate on the smaller screen of a smartphone, and there are only so many pauses for buffering you can take before you lose track of what's going on and switch off altogether. See All App reviews.

There are advantages to using the desktop site, of course, such as the ability to view a seven-day progamme guide, log into the TVCatchup forums, alter the video resolution and aspect ratio, use an onscreen volume slider and bring up a Now and Next TV guide during playback. But the mobile app is far more smartphone-friendly, with static rather than video ads that can be immediately closed, a reduced playback resolution that offers an inferior image but fewer buffering breaks, and a scrollable list of what's on now and next on every available channel. 

You can still switch the aspect ratio, simply by tapping the screen during playback, but you'll need to exit a channel to view the TV Guide. That we can't see a seven-day forecast is of little importance, since you're likely to view content on the move via TVCatchup only when a particular programme is screening that you can't bear to miss. 

Another advantage of using the mobile app is that you bypass login. There's no need to get in a panic as EastEnders is starting and you can't remember your password - you simply fire up the app, click on the relevant channel, close the ad and begin watching your programme. Easy.

We'd like to see an option to improve the picture quality when connected via Wi-Fi, and a brief synopsis of current programmes wouldn't go amiss, but these are minor gripes for what may well become one of our most frequently used apps.

TVCatchup for Android: Specs

  • Android 2.2-4.1
  • 1.4MB storage space
  • Android 2.2-4.1
  • 1.4MB storage space

OUR VERDICT

We love TVCatchup, and we love Android, so what could be better than the two coming together? We already use this excellent free service to get our telly fix on the move, but the mobile app makes doing so far more convenient and user-friendly on the smaller screen of a smartphone or tablet.

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