Network limitations somewhat stymie what the iPhone and iPod touch can do with video, but that hasn’t prevented developers from trying to harness the power of moving pictures on the devices. Mayakama.com’s Television is a video aggregator that lets you watch 61 news (and news-ish) programs on more than 30 channels, including CNN, NBC, the Associated Press, and Cnet, as well as several foreign news services. The app also includes videos from the Onion, College Humor TV, VH1, and MTV. The app’s successes and limitations show just how far developers have to go before getting video right.
First and foremost, Television is not “live.” The app requires a working Wi-Fi connection; it does not function on a 3G network. This would seem to be a strange limitation. After all, OrbLive, another video-playing app, runs live video on Wi-Fi and 3G. But OrbLive is bedeviled with speed issues—undermined by the constraints of the network.
Television does serve a useful purpose as a reasonably well-organized clearinghouse for TV news. The interface is straightforward. You launch the app and scroll through a list of TV channels. Tap a channel and up pops a list of programs. Tap the program you want to watch and the video will launch automatically.