App

Channel surfing for cord-cutters

Price: Free
Version: 1.2
Size: 18.8 MB
Developer: Neverthink
Platform: iPhone & iPad

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Remember the days when you would sit at home for hours on end, mindlessly flicking through dozens of TV channels to pass the time? Neverthink is the mobile equivalent, uprooting the TV from its place by the couch and giving you the freedom to channel surf on-the-go. In theory, you’ll never be bored again.

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Choose a channel and Neverthink just plays

It’s not conventional TV channels we’ll be surfing, though. Rather, the channels screen an endless loop of hand-picked internet videos on different topics. The content of these “shows” varies wildly from minute-long news stories to long-form documentary pieces, and everything in between. Highlights from actual TV shows are mixed in with zero-budget shorts from budding filmmakers; everyone’s on a level playing field here. Most of the content is scooped up from sources like Reddit or YouTube, but the whole thing is curated by hand to ensure a never-ending stream of quality content no matter your tastes.

Neverthink has a few key benefits over channel surfing through regular cable TV: for starters, there are no ads and the channels are much more focused to particular interests. Channels cover popular genres like news, food, fashion, and tech, but also delve into things like live eSports, amazing music videos, and a “Nanny” channel just for kids. The videos tend to be shorter than normal TV shows – though there are some exceptions – and so it works really well for dipping in for bite-size bursts.

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Extreme sport is just one of the niches catered to here

It’s natural to compare Neverthink to Hyper, another popular entertainment app. Hyper is broader, with more consistent content, and it can stockpile daily videos to watch offline, while Neverthink’s approach is more direct, somehow offering a wider ranger of content without requiring any effort from the user. Both are free, and it’s worth having at least one of the two on your device to keep you occupied if you get bored while out and about.

The unique approach behind Neverthink is great, but it does lend itself to a few minor annoyances. As you flick through the channels to settle on something that looks interesting, you inevitably land on a video midway through. Though the live stream is a powerful concept, it would be really nice if we had the option to rewind shows back to the start. And there’s no link to the source of the video if you wanted to watch the clip on its own; though you can awkwardly get around this by “sharing” the video to yourself by text with the iOS share sheet. All the channels are also available through neverthink.tv, though, making it easy to share content with those who don’t have the app.

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If you share a video, this is what the recipient will see

A few times during our testing Neverthink suffered downtime, meaning all the channels stopped working for a short while. We also found some videos would take a long time to load, regardless of internet connection strength, while is frustratingly counterproductive to the app’s core concept of quick entertainment on tap. We hope these are merely the inevitable teething problems that come with launching a new app and will be fixed promptly, but for the moment at least it’s annoying to see the app’s trademark “static” screen so often in place of actual content.

Luckily the rest of the app works as well as you might hope. Your only real interaction is to choose a channel, and rotating your device moves seamlessly into full-screen landscape mode in high definition. If you want to go fully thoughtless, you can ignore the channel select menu and simply swipe up or down onscreen to move through the stations.

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When the servers are down, this holding screen is all you’ll get

Neverthink is a great concept, unfortunately suffering from a few issues at present. It’s free, though, and we still think its worth a download. Where else could you learn about special relativity, catch up on the Late Show, and see how robots can be farmers, all while waiting for the bus?

Review: Neverthink – kill boredom with 24/7 virtual TV channels
We're sold, and we'll never think again
For
  • Good selection of channels
  • Loads of interesting hand-picked vids
  • Instant, quick-fire entertainment
Against
  • Sporadic server issues
  • Can't rewind if you miss something
3.9Overall Score