App Review: Twitch.tv

Combine the love of gaming with live streaming and you have Twitch.tv. Twitch allows gamers of all levels to join for free and stream themselves playing their favorite games for free. The website gets hundreds of thousands of views per day from people watching and helping their friends to professional gamers playing in national tournaments. Twitch.tv nearly holds a monopoly in the category of video game live streaming.

A logical step for Twitch.tv was to make an iPhone app. You cannot stream games from your phone using the app, but you can watch your favorite streams. When you open the app you are met with a list of the streams you are following and the games with the highest number of streamers at that time. You can use the search bar to search for a streamer or game, or you can browse all the games. Push notifications also inform you when a streamer you follow goes live. The Twitch.tv app also includes the ability to sync the app with an Apple TV to watch it on a big screen.

PROS

  • The Twitch.tv app allows you to stream in Wi-Fi or in 3G. Stream anywhere your phone has service? That is a great feature for the app. Viewers are not restricted by service when their favorite streamer or game goes live.
  • View any capable stream in high definition. If the streamer you are watching is capable of streaming in HD, your iPhone will automatically set to the highest available resolution.
  • Chat with other fans. While watching a stream, the chat room scrolls below the video. If you are logged in to your Twitch.tv account, you can participate in the chat.

CONS

  • Most streams freeze or do not load at all. A lot of times you are forced to close the Twitch.tv app and reopen in attempt to correct the problem. I found that a lot of non-partnered streamers (the gamers that stream for free and are not partnered with Twitch) do not open. The video remains black.
  • Video quality changes frequently, despite having exceptional service. Regardless of viewing in Wi-Fi or 3G service, quality will drop from high to low. The quality change often reverts the stream back five to ten seconds, which causes major delays. Sometimes, the video quality change can cause the Twitch app to crash.
  • The app has no replay option. If you miss a stream, you can watch the backlog of videos from the streamer’s channel on your home computer. That option is not available in the mobile app.

Overall, the idea of the Twitch.tv app is sound. Currently, as of version 2.1.1, too many issues exist with the app. While it is a free app, I find myself getting too frustrated with the freezing, crashing, and low quality streams. I would much rather wait until I can view a stream on my home computer. The Twitch.tv app would benefit from having the replay option and an option to manually control the quality of a video. At the very least, once the crashing and freezing issues are fixed, many more people will enjoy watching video games being played live where ever they are.

Download the Twitch.tv app here.


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