Peel Smart Remote App is Infuriating

Posted By Debbie on February 12, 2013

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The story starts with my old tablet dying (sniff) and me getting a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet to replace it. Nice piece of equipment. Been happy with my Galaxy S3 phone, so I expect to love the tablet.

Preinstalled on the tablet is an app called Peel. Setting Peel up was easy. The step by step instructions were clear, and the product worked right the first time. This is REALLY nice.

As quoted from their Google Play entry, here is what Peel is looking to solve:

Let’s face it – finding something you want to watch can be frustrating. Whether you’re flipping through hundreds of channels or scrolling page after page of the clumsy channel grid, it’s a painful process. Now, Peel brings you a better way to find great TV.

And here is one of the pictures they show among the app screenshots:

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Looks neato.

But that’s all it does.

If a TV remote control app doesn’t make me never need my TV remote again, then it’s a failure. When the setup process made sure it could turn my TV on and off and control the volume as well as cable channels, I was thinking I’d never touch the original remote again. When I made sure it connected with Comcast’s lineup for my zip code, and asked if I got the HD channels, I thought I’d never need the original remote again.

It turns out I can only browse by show genre. I can look up all the comedies, and it shows big boxes of the shows on at that time. I can look up all the documentaries. The genres seem a bit weird. A cooking show I watch was under comedy. There are no genres for cooking or travel. What’s Mythbusters? A documentary? So this is not really that obvious, intuitive, or clean.

So then I was hoping I could just go to a channel guide…

Since trying to shop TV shows by genre was tough, I was hoping I would just be given a giant channel guide where I could fave some shows and fave some channels. This can then show me everything or just my faves. It could even tell me when a fave show is coming on.

It COULD do this, but it doesn’t. It only lets you pick TV shows by genre. Holy cats, Peel, please hire a UX person. I love flipping through JUST my fave channels to see what’s on. Why can’t yours show me that, and then let me switch to those shows?

Looks like if you want this done right, you have to get something like Beacon. I didn’t try Beacon. I’m just assuming they got it right. But they want $70, so I’m unlikely to find out soon. Ugh, it has a 2.6 out of 5 rating in Google Play. I guess it’ll take time for someone to get this right.