Thursday, June 21, 2018

Why I Am Disappointed in the New Watch TCM App

I  have been a fan of Turner Classic Movies very nearly since the channel first went on the air. And I am happy to say it is very rare that I am ever disappointed by TCM. Unfortunately, last night when the Watch TCM mobile app updated on my phone is one of those few times when TCM disappointed me. Quite simply, the Watch TCM app (which I had given a sterling review a while back) has lost a lot of its functionality.

Indeed, the first thing I noticed when I opened the new version of the Watch TCM app is that it was missing the schedule. For me this is very nearly a deal breaker. The schedule was the one thing I used the most on the Watch TCM app. In fact, I checked it very nearly every day. It was convenient as I could check what was on Turner Classic Movies at any given time when I was away from home or if I simply wanted to check the schedule without walking over to my computer to go to the Turner Classic Movies web site or checking the cable menu on the TV.

The Watch TCM app also appears to be missing some other features it had previously as well. Earlier versions of the app had an archive of clips and trailers that one can watch. If it still has an archive of clips and trailers, I could not find it. It also had an image gallery with posters, lobby cards, production photos, and publicity photos. That appears to be gone as well. The old version of the app also had various notes on films, complete with trivia and details about the movies' productions. This feature also appear to be missing from the new version.

Now, as might be expected,  one can still watch Turner Classic Movies live on the app. And I cannot deny that this is very useful to have. A couple of times when TCM was out on our cable system for whatever reason, I simply pulled up the Watch TCM app and mirrored my phone to my television set. Because of this I did not miss any programming on TCM. That having been said, I only used the watch live option a couple of times. It is not something I use regularly.

With the Watch TCM app one also still has access to TCM On Demand. This is something I have never used as I have access to On Demand through my cable system. Given I can simply watch TCM On Demand on my television set, I have no reason to watch it on the app, although others might find it useful.

Now the new Watch TCM App does have some new features. There is a Watchlist to which one can add films to one's queue to watch later. That having been said, since I have TCM On Demand through my cable provider, I really can't see using this very often. One can also browse movies through TCM's various themes, such as Star of the Month, Silent Sunday Nights, 31 Days of Oscar, and so on Again, I can't see using this very often as I have access to TCM On Demand on my television set.

Regardless, I do not appear to be alone in my unhappiness with the new Watch TCM App. Of the reviews for the new app on The Google Play Store, the majority of them are negative (keep in mind the reviews for older versions of the app were overwhelmingly positive). The biggest complaint appears to be the lack of the schedule on the new version of the Watch TCM app. There have also been a few people on Twitter who have complained about the new app (myself included). There too most people seem to be complaining about the schedule missing from the app.

In the end I would say that if you want to watch movies on your phone or tablet or if you think you might have reason to at some point (for instance, TCM is out on your cable system), the Watch TCM app is still worth downloading if you don't already have it. If you do already have the Watch TCM app and it has not yet updated, I would immediately disable automatic update on the app and simply keep the old app as long as you can. I am sincerely hoping that Turner Classic Movies listens to viewer's complaints about the new version of the Watch TCM app and restores much of the functionality it once had to the next version of the app (the schedule at least) . I also hope they do so as soon as possible.

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