Friday, August 5, 2011

CBS Local Media releases seven new universal iOS apps for its local radio and television stations

Seven new apps from CBS Local media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. have been released into the App Store. Each of the apps is a universal, though a user would be hard pressed to see how these apps have been optimized for the iPad.
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The seven apps are for New York, Boston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Each is identically designed, right down to their app icons.

Each app includes content from the local CBS affiliates: in New York, for instance, that would be CBS2 television, and WFAN, 101 WINS and WCBC radio stations; in Chicago it three outlets.

The apps look like they were designed for the iPhone and only reluctantly optimized for the iPad. The news feed approach works fine on the iPhone with its smaller display, but look pretty silly and outdated on the iPad (see below). Similarly, the story layouts are not very imaginative (also seen below).

The situation is worse when you get to video: the window appears to be streamed for the iPhone's display because on the iPad the video opens to a very small window, which when expanded shows how low-res the video actually is.

All the apps will let the user stream live radio, but only video clips are accessible through the apps. No doubt this is due to the existing cable contracts.

I hope these apps are taken seriously by CBS because an overhaul of the app that makes them more appropriate for the iPad is needed.

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One thing users of these app will soon discover, and complain about, is the fact that none of the radio feeds will include live baseball games. This isn't the fault of the local stations, of course, but the result of the fact that MLB retains all streaming rights to games.

Nonetheless, I'm sure we will see users complain about this in the App Store reviews.

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