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You'll never again have to pause a show to see what else is on -- or try to watch the show through the opaque Guide screen on your TV while your spouse clicks around.
TiVo forever changed the way we watch TV, but its arrival on the iPad sure won’t spark a similar revolution. This app definitely delivers some killer new functionality, but it doesn’t do the one thing you probably most want it too: streaming. Nope, that wasn’t a typo -- TiVo’s app doesn’t let you stream your DVR content for portable iPad viewing on the road, or even elsewhere in your house. And we have a feeling that four of five people who download this app will spend their first few minutes with it trying to figure out what button to tap to make that happen. Talk about a missed opportunity!
You can manage your TiVo's to-do list easily, and make sure everything you want to record will be recoreded.
Once that letdown sinks in, don’t lunge for that wiggly red X just yet. TiVo’s app actually converts your iPad into a terrific, very useful remote control. By letting you schedule recordings, browse programming guides, and surf show-related info (episode guides, cast bios, etc.) from your iPad, it actually provides a far better interface than the DVR itself does -- and you can use it without pausing whatever you’re watching.
The gesture-based commands work great for both navigation and playback.
We were especially impressed by how awesome it was to use the iPad’s keyboard to type in search strings and how much better rewinding and fast-forwarding work when you can touch-scroll a scrubber. There’s even a nifty gesture-based option that lets you swipe and tap to deliver commands like pause, skip ahead, and jump back.
And if you misplace your TiVo remote -- or it runs out of batteries -- the iPad can fill in. Fast-forwarding with the scrubber works better than using the remote anyhow.
Before you rush off to download this truly 2.0 remote, we’ve got two caveats, and the first one’s a whopper: This app only works with a TiVo Premiere (also know as a Series 4). If you have a TiVo HD -- a recent-model DVR that had been offsale for less than a year when this app was released -- there’s no joy here for you, bub. Obviously, TiVo hopes you might be swayed to upgrade, but that’s the kind of crass disrespect of loyal customers that fills App Store reviews full of righteous, fiery indignation. (Check ’em out -- there’s some barn-burners!)
Oops. But to be fair, errors like this decreased when the app was updated from version 1.0.4 to version 1.1.
More forgivably, especially for a free 1.1 app, is the minor bugginess. Sometimes the app hangs or other small hiccups occur, but anything glitchy we encountered was solved by restarting the app and sometimes the DVR.
We love the extra info -- episode guide, cast bios, recommendations. It's like television 2.0.
The bottom line. This app isn’t what most of us want from TiVo’s iOS debut -- and disgracefully, it neglects a wide swath of TiVo’s installed base. But it’s free, and when it works, it converts our iPad into one of the coolest, most useful remote controls we’ve ever used.
iPad running iOS 3.2 or later. Also requies a TiVo Premiere or TiVo Premiere XL and TiVo service.
Turns iPad into an awesome remote control for free! Makes searching and scrubbing much easier. Lets you schedule recordings and otherwise interact with your DVR without turning on the TV. Nifty gesture commands. Twitter/Facebook support.
Doesn’t stream content to your iPad. Only works with newest hardware (the TiVo Premiere). During setup, must reboot DVR for app to connect. Bugs require occasional restarts of app and sometimes DVR.