Anyone that knows me knows that I'm a TiVo fan! I have been ever since my DirecTV TiVo Series 1. Since those early days I have moved on to multiple TiVo HDs and finally a NEW TiVo Premiere XL box. As a matter of fact my biggest reason for upgrading one my TiVo HDs to the Premiere XL is because I wanted to use the NEW iPad App that TiVo announced was coming, back in November. While I do like the TiVo Premiere XL, I was perfectly happy with my TiVo HD boxes. However, now that I have the TiVo Premiere XL it's definitely many (little) steps in the right direction and improves on an already best in class experience. With that said, I was anxious to see how the new App would make life even better.
It's an intelligent Remote Control
First off the TiVo App for iPad was designed to be a "companion" and remote control for your TiVo Premiere. Once the App is installed and you've got your Premiere box setup with Network Remote Control enabled in the prefs, the TiVo App will give you information about the show that is currently playing. You can drill down on the actors/actresses and see credits as well as other shows/movies that they have been in. This is where the intelligence comes in. If you see a show/movie that you're interested in you can then check to see if it's coming on anytime soon. If it is you can set ti to record it right then and there. You can also buy the movies that they were in on the spot from Amazon, Blockbuster or stream it via Netflix if it's available.
Too much to write about
Rather than go on and on in words here trying to describe how the App works, I figured it would be easier just to show you a demo:
Two points of clarification from the video: I never showed that you can in fact jump to a specific day/time in the guide and set a show to record that's coming on in the future. Also I mistakenly said that the Slingbox was connected to "your computer" when in fact it's connected to your TiVo or other video source and doesn't require your computer to be on or connected at all.
The Bottom Line – The Right Way to Do Internet Connected TV
I have to give it to TiVo for once again solving a problem that the rest of the industry seems to be scratching their heads about. There have been many (failed) attempts at combining the internet and TV and while TiVo is definitely leaning towards the TV side of the equation (as opposed to general internet browsing on your TV), their combined solution (TiVo Premiere and iPad) makes sense. I actually own a Sony TV with Google TV built-in and I rarely use the internet features of it because of the obvious issues of using a keyboard and having to share screen real estate with what's currently on TV. Having a tablet device instead means that the action doesn't have to stop on TV for me to look something up, schedule a show or manage the shows I'm already recording. Yes, they've done it! This is what I hoped Internet/Google TV would be.
Sadly the App only works with TiVo Premiere and Premiere XL boxes. It would have been nice to see support of at least the remote scheduling and remote control of playback for the older TiVo HD boxes. Also I'd love to see an iPhone/iPod touch version for scheduling on the go (yes I know that there are other Apps that do this, but I want the TiVo branded one.)
See my TiVo Premiere XL Review here.