Are you behind on Storage Wars, Duck Dynasty, or The First 48? Now you can catch up on your favorite A&E shows anywhere you are, right from your iPhone.
A&E Networks this week updated its iOS app, allowing iPhone and iPod touch owners to watch full-length episodes of popular shows like Swamp People for free. Even better, the company also updated the iOS apps for its Lifetime and History channels with support for the iPhone.
The Lifetime app offers episodes of Project Runway, Dance Moms, Army Wives, as well as the network’s movies. The History Channel app is packed will episodes of Pawn Stars, American Pickers, Swamp People and more.
In addition to full-length episodes and movies, the apps bring some other exclusive content you won’t see on TV, like behind-the-scenes clips and deleted scenes. Those who sign in using a Comcast Xfinity account can get even more content, including full access to previous seasons of A&E shows.
The updated apps also now provide iCloud synching so you can start an episode on your iPad, for example, and finish on your iPhone or iPod touch. You can also create a customized watchlist, so you don’t forget about an episode you want to check out.
On the down side, however, the apps still don’t support Apple’s AirPlay, meaning you can’t stream the programs to your Apple TV. Those hoping for this feature shouldn’t have to wait too much longer though. AirPlay support is “coming soon,” the company said in its App Store description.
Meanwhile, A&E also recently inked a licensing deal with Amazon to make previous seasons of shows from A&E, bio, History, and Lifetime available via the Web giant’s Prime Instant Video service.
Hands on With A&E for iPhone
Overall, the A&E app is absolutely chock-full of content, and will provide reality TV lovers hours of entertainment. It’s easy to navigate and best of all, is free to use, regardless of whether you have a cable subscription or not.
When you fire up the app for the first time it will ask if you want to receive push notifications including alerts, sounds, and icon badges. It will also ask if you’d like to use iCloud to synch your watchlist data between devices. Once you get through those formalities, you can swipe through a selection of featured content.
In the app’s description, A&E said it be adding new content all the time. Currently, the app is featuring this week’s episode of Barter Kings, as well as full-length episodes of “your favorite redneck family” in Duck Dynasty.
From the upper left-hand menu, you can also access a chronological list of shows, as well as your watchlist. There’s also a section for “just added” content, as well as a schedule of when the shows air on TV, and the settings menu.
When I scrolled through the list of shows, I was happy to see some of my personal A&E favorites — Intervention and Hoarders. Clicking on one of the series lets you view a list of episodes and clips that are available for viewing.
When I selected an episode of Hoarders, it was initially a little laggy but worked fine after a few seconds. You can use controls at the bottom of the video to pause, or skip. There’s also an option to share what you’re watching on Facebook, Twitter, or via email.
You won’t be able to escape commercials with the app, however. In the 44-minute episode of Hoarders, for instance, there were four commercials, about one every 10 minutes.
One nice thing I noticed about the app is that when you close out of an episode it will keep your place. When you fire up that same episode at a later time it will start right where you left off.
By Angela Moscaritolo, PCMag