Whether the Apple TV undergoes a full transformation into something representing the future of television, a number of apps are attempting to take us there today. Live TV and the increasing number of streaming-video apps on iOS present a seemingly unbridgeable gulf, but apps like Dijit's NextGuide are doing their best to synthesize the experience.
Much like TV Guide's recently updated app, NextGuide is a mix of standard TV listings, social recommendations, and direct hooks to launch streaming-video apps with the content you're looking for. The layout and discovery of shows is based on tiles and genres, split into various categories. Once shows are found, watch alerts can be set to show new episodes. Much like apps such as Fanhattan, you can also look for particular shows and discover which particular streaming services may already have the show you're looking for.
Dijit previously launched an app called Dijit Remote, a universal remote that works along with the Griffin Beacon IR-blasting accessory. NextGuide isn't so much a remote as a viewing accessory. The linked-to video services supported so far include Netflix, Hulu Plus, and iTunes (not streaming, but links to the available shows for purchase or rental). Hopefully more services will open up, such as HBO Go, and free services like Crackle. The challenge with video streaming via apps is the fractured landscape of the available content across those services, and keeping track of where episodes of a given season of "30 Rock" are can be enough to make you buy a DVD box set. If apps like NextGuide (and TV Guide and Fanhattan) can help, then I'm all for it. The question is, which service is better? That remains to be seen.
NextGuide is free and currently available in the App Store. It certainly can't hurt to give it a try.