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Onion News Network plays – hiccupping – for laughs

by Ian Black

The Onion gets no respect. The satirical comedy group has been around since 1988, pumping out witty and often hilarious commentary on current events and people without reaching household-name status like Monty Python's Flying Circus or "Saturday Night Live." I was excited by the chance to give them their due by reviewing Onion News Network app for Android. Unfortunately, the app's video playback was problematic.

The Onion News Network app focuses on the Onion's video output. Through their web site, you can consume Onion satire in text and audio forms, as well. They make fun of both the media – newspapers, radio and TV news – and the content, simultaneously. The Onion News Network comes off as a 24-hour news network like CNN or Fox News. In the app, you can navigate to "shows" mimicking segments seen on these networks. There's "ONN" for their headline news, "Today NOW!" for their morning-show madness, "In the Know" parodies Sunday talk shows, "OSN" for sports, "O-Span" for business, and "Tech Trends" follows our fascination with gadgets like smartphones!

The videos are funny when you can get them to play. When you launch the app, you must wait a few moments for it to sync the latest video titles from the web. On the top bar, you can jump between Recent, Editor's Picks or Shows to navigate through the categories mentioned above. When playing on my Nexus One, virtually every video started and stopped with those annoying hiccups you sometimes see during video streaming to a phone. This, of course, lessened the fun. Sometimes the videos wouldn't load at all.

If I were rating the content alone, I would go with five out of five bars, but because my job is to rate the app – I give it a disappointing two.