Smartphones and television have recently started becoming good partners, thanks to apps like BuddyTV and Live 140. Most TV-related apps, however, offer nothing more than additional content or scheduling details for programs. While these features are useful in their own right, they don’t bring a whole lot of convenience to your life. Commercial Break, on the other hand, is an app that can have an impact on the way you watch TV in your daily routine (Update: Now available on Android as well). A lot of people are in the habit of changing the channel, going to the kitchen to grab a bit, or doing other quick chores every time ads come on during a show. Even if you are watching your most favorite show, going away from a channel has the potential to make you lose focus of what you were viewing. You might end up getting busy elsewhere, or come back to the channel too late, missing some important part of the show. Commercial Break for iPhone makes sure that this never happens again. The app lets you choose a TV show that is currently being aired, and every time a commercial break ends, you get a push notification, urging you to get back to the screen.
Commercial Break offers the option to connect your Facebook account with the app, but this step can be skipped and does not affect the overall usage of the app in any way. The first thing the app does once you get past the login screen is to sniff out your current location. It is also possible to manually choose a location if you want to view channel list from other areas. For now, Commercial Break only works in the US, and that too in selected areas. The app is more about the concept rather than actual usefulness in its present state, because even in the supported regions, only a handful of TV channels show up in the app’s list.
The main list in Commercial Break shows the names of the current programs being aired on the available channels. If the show you are interested in is in the list, just tap it once. From the next screen, users have to start following the show by hitting the ‘Start’ button. You can easily follow multiple shows in Commercial Break and once you are done, just leave the app and wait for notifications. The app sends notifications just moments before a show comes back on, making sure you don’t miss anything.
Commercial Break badly needs to expand its range to more regions, but no one can find faults with the app’s amazingly useful concept and functionality. CB is available as a free app for now (though it might might get a price tag in the future), and comes optimized for iPhone/iPod touch.
Update: Commercial Break is now available on Android as well, and like it’s iOS counterpart, has been labeled free for a limited time. We’ve added a link to its Google Play Store page below. In addition, the app now also supports monitoring of multiple “Live Events”, a feature geared towards sports fans.