Stay tuned with Frequency
Frequency is a social video-watching app for iOS. It has been available for iPad for a while now, but the recent Version 2.0 update added support for iPhone/iPod touch, and has earned it a spot in the New and Noteworthy section of the App Store’s front page. The app is available now as a free download.
Frequency is one of several apps available for iOS that aims to give video content the “Flipboard” treatment, allowing users to subscribe to their various social feeds and specific “channels” in order to get a personalized feed of new content every day. Channels may be drawn from a list of “featured” content, offering material from a variety of popular video-carrying sites from around the Web, or may be customized by searching for topics and people. Users may also connect their Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts to add content posted by themselves and others to their Frequency experience.
Tapping on a video in Frequency brings up the player interface. If the device is held in portrait orientation, the interface remains on screen with the video in a small window, while turning it landscape brings up the more standard iOS video player interface. In portrait orientation, it is possible to Like the video on Facebook, save it to a “favorites” or “watch later” playlist or share it on Facebook and Twitter, or via email/SMS. In landscape, it is only possible to watch the video and make use of the basic player controls.
Depending on where the video has come from, there may be an accompanying article, accessible by tapping “more” on the description beneath the video. If the article is a long one, a full-screen window appears, allowing the user to read it, and the video stops while this window is up. The pop-up window does not list the source of the video or article, which is a bit of an inconvenience when browsing content from the staff-selected “Top Picks” channel included by default.
Frequency is a pretty good app for casually browsing video content, but it has a few irritating features, most notably the fact that the “share everything I do to Facebook” option is turned on by default, spamming the user’s timeline with individual posts every time they add a new account, channel or watch a video. This can easily be switched off altogether or the behavior adjusted, but the fact it is turned on by default is a little annoying, particularly if the user does not notice the overenthusiastic sharing behavior for some time.
The lack of a true “search” facility is also a little frustrating, though Frequency is far from the only similar app to suffer this problem. It’s possible to search for tags and people to create custom channels, but apparently impossible to search within a channel — and the content retrieved from various channels does not seem to go back more than a couple of days, with no facility to continue swiping down to see additional content. This ensures that the user always gets timely content, of course, but sometimes it’s desirable to retrieve a video from a few days ago. The app also appears to lack the facility to view content from a user’s subscribed YouTube channels, too — only the “favorites” playlist and the user’s own uploads may be viewed from within the app.
Frequency is off to quite a good start, then, but its specific features need better implementation before the app is particularly worthy of recommendation. In the meantime, Vodio, which we reviewed here, is a good alternative.