San Francisco-based Dijit first launched with an app that was mainly used to control different devices connected to the TV, and allowed users to check out various video services available, for instance, through their Roku or other connected devices. Then it got big into social, letting users “check in” to shows that they’re watching and see what shows their friends were getting into as well. But this new evolution of Dijit, and the launch of the NextGuide iPad app, is all about personalization of the TV experience, and allowing users to find and browse shows on TV and online that are relevant to their interests.
Dijit’s NextGuide wants to be the go-to place for video discovery of all types, and sets itself apart with a beautiful, unified view of all your favorite movies, TV shows, and other interests. It does away with the typical programming guide grid and displays content a user might be interested in with rich box art and the ability to customize the experience by cutting out shows or episodes you don’t want to see.
A lot of “personalized TV guide apps” just display shows that users have already watched or shown an interest in, which, frankly, is a little boring. I mean, you already know that you want to watch those things, right? NextGuide seeks to differentiate itself by connecting users to shows or TV episodes that they might not have known about or might not have been on their radar. By connecting with Facebook and taking a look at users’ interest graphs, it can make suggestions that other apps might not have.
Take, for instance, a user who lives in San Francisco.* A nextGuide user might not be a huge fan of Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations,” but he might be interested in seeing an episode highlighting the best restaurants in his hometown.** Or, let’s say you’re a fan of Bill Murray. You probably know that Lost In Translation is on Netflix, but you probably didn’t know that Murray will be the featured guest on Conan O’Brien’s show this week — that is, unless you’re also a huge fan of Conan O’Brien. NextGuide will highlight those live events when it sees them.
Which brings us to another key differentiator — NextGuide isn’t just about live TV, nor is it just about online services. It blends both live and online video and movies pretty seamlessly, providing a way to discover all sorts of new content through both. For users with Netflix and Hulu Plus, the app has deep linking into those services, enabling users who just discovered a new show or episode to link directly to it.
On the live TV side, NextGuide has integrated with DirecTV set-top boxes to enable users to use the app as a control and to jump to shows that they want to watch. It’s working with other pay TV providers to enable similar capabilities with their set-top boxes, and is also looking to add DVR record functionality in future releases. And NextGuide will alert users whenever their favorite shows are on or an actor or band they like is set to have a TV appearance.
We sat down with Dijit CEO Jeremy Toeman to demo the app; be sure to check out the video above for a closer look at everything NextGuide is capable of.
* I know, I’m going way outside the box on this one.
** It’s actually a really good episode.