LAS VEGAS -- The folks at Peel have announced a new version of their universal remote app that looks to make watching TV a more social experience. Peel 2.0 builds on the company's previous iOS app by giving users the ability to see what their Facebook friends are watching with Peel, as well as what their favorite shows and guilty pleasures are. We spent some quality time with the app inside the Peel bus located just outside the convention center here at CES and were very impressed with what we saw.
The app itself is free through Apple's iTunes App Store. However, to control your TV with Peel 2.o you'll need to also purchase the $79 Peel smart remote receiver. When you start up the app, the first thing you'll notice is the new Social tab located in the bottom left corner of the home screen. Tapping the button brings up the app's Social interface, from which you can see what your Facebook friends who have Peel have been watching as well as their favorite shows, movies and sports. The setup is similar to Spotify's social interface, but much more detailed. And unlike Spotify, Peel doesn't have access to your Facebook account by default. Instead, you'll have to enable the feature in the app's settings.
While using the Social interface, we were able to find friends on Facebook that are using Peel, or view trending shows and specials via the Global Activity tab. Viewing a friend's Peel profile felt very familiar, thanks to its Facebook-style interface. Peel 2.0 also gives users the ability to update their Facebook status to mention that they are watching a particular show or make show recommendations to friends.
In addition to the Social interface, Peel has also added Friends' Favorites option to the rotating dial tab at the top of the home screen. In the original version of the app, the dial would allow you to scroll between various categories of shows including comedy, drama, and documentary, as well as your favorite programs based on a particular date and time.
The Friends' Favorites functions in much the same way that the dial tab did in the first Peel app, but instead of showing your which of your favorite shows are on during a particular date and time, you'll get to see which of your friends' favorites are on. Can't find something good on TV? Navigate to the dial and check out what your friends are watching.
In addition to social integration, Peel 2.0 also includes a fun Guilty Pleasure rating to its show ratings system. Previously the app only allowed you to like or cut a show from your show listings. The Guilty Pleasure rating also ties into the app's social integration, so make sure you'll alright with your friends seeing that Jersey Shore is one of your Guilty Pleasures before rating it as such.
Peel 2.0 is available now for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.