TiVo Announces Supercharged iPad Remote App

Dave Zatz —  November 22, 2010 — 26 Comments

Looks like TiVo is skipping a simplistic mobile remote control app, leapfrogging directly from their limited mobile website to a supercharged iPad app… that is much more than a mere remote. The upcoming app appears to replicate nearly all TiVo functionality in your lap and, most impressive, doesn’t duplicate what’s on screen — meaning you can browse the guide or your recordings without interrupting whatever’s already on screen. From the press release:

  • Gesture based control – Take complete control of all recordings, even dragging forward and back through a show with a simple tap or swipe
  • Start watching what you want – Launch a recorded show, live TV or streaming video with the swipe of a finger
  • Program guide – Browse your full-screen TV program guide without interrupting TV viewing
  • Schedule - Schedule one-time recordings and Season Pass recordings from the device at home or on-the-go
  • Get more from your shows and movies – Explore cast and crew and other recommendations of your favorite shows without interrupting the big screen
  • Search – Search for all of your favorite TV shows, movies, actors or directors across both broadcast and broadband from Netflix, Amazon Video On Demand, and more

Additionally, the iPad app will enable users to fire off tweets and Facebook status updates about the shows their watching, spoilers and all. Although it’s a heck of a lot more natural way to communicate online than the early kludgey Twitter-on-TV apps we’ve seen.

In talking to TiVo, Premiere DVR hardware will see a software update to support the new app. And, given what it does, they’ve obviously added a slew of new hooks accessible via WiFi. Although it’s yet to be seen if third party developers will be able to tap into them. Additionally, TiVo has nothing to say at this time regarding other mobile devices or platforms. Although anything destined for a smaller screen iPhone or Android handset would surely require a reworked UI given how much they’ve packed in.

TiVo says this free iPad companion app will be available “in the coming weeks” and I assume they’ve decided to pre-announce with the knowledge that folks are currently stocking up on holiday gifts.

Click to enlarge:

26 responses to TiVo Announces Supercharged iPad Remote App

  1. So… it won’t work at all with my TiVo HD? Not even scheduling?

    I don’t really blame TiVo for pushing its newer products, but some of us paid for product lifetime service on what was at the time a top-of-the-line box. We need a little love too.

  2. One big thing of course that is missing, streaming. It also would have been nice to have TiVo Desktop built in so you could at least transfer a show.

  3. Glad to see this finally come to light for as long as they’ve been talking about it since they did the premiere training with my employer.

    I also liked how they have a Tivo HD on the tv stand but obviously the premiere ui on the screen.

  4. brennok, I’m pretty fired up about this new app as it is. But, man, would MRV streaming be killer. Turn the iPad into the deck or kitchen TV at will. I could see that happening (given some of the things Verizon FiOS TV has been doing with the studios), but I’m not sure we can replace TiVo Desktop for TiVoToGo.

  5. I find it ironic that the TiVo App actually loads faster on the screen than the Premiere does! Argh, this makes it that much harder to hold out for the second-gen iPad.

  6. I’m with Zach. Sucks it doesn’t work with the older hardware. We’ve got a DT and two TiVo HDs that are just begging to be utilized with this!

  7. Regarding support for TiVo HD and Series 3, I seriously doubt the horsepower in the legacy devices is sufficient to support some of the features shown in the video.

    Seems like streaming support might be on the roadmap once they put the hooks in the Premiere to support the iPad app.

    This would be a good reason for me to upgrade to the Premiere if TiVo releases an Android app for my Galaxy Tab.

  8. You know, between this and the Xfinity remote app it is nice to see some real innovation being deployed to users. It makes me think that the requirement for a “CableBox” to get all of the OnDemand access is becoming more a of bullsh#t argument from the CableOps to get you to rent their box. I’d honestly just pay a fee to Comcast at this point to have ondemand integrated into my Tivo via an ipad app that would allow me to stream these to my Tivo — even if I couldn’t record it. It would be nice if Tivo and the CableCo’s could figure out an agreement. It seems that it is technically possible at this point.

  9. I’m actually kind of surprised that TiVo not only came out with an iPad app, but a fully featured one at that. TiVo likes to through the “i” work around (innovation), but they haven’t been doing a lot of that lately. This is a welcome change, though I only have an iPhone, not an iPad.

  10. This looks very nice. Might make me move back to a REAL tivo soon enough. Continuing to add to 2011 TIVO calls.

  11. Tivo needs to be able to stream/decode to iphones. Brain dead simple.

  12. Only TiVo looks at the market size of iPads versus iPhone/iTouch/Android and goes with iPads (especially for a free app). I mean I am sure it is great, but I am with the other commenter makes the waitting for the second generation iPad that much harder….

  13. “I find it ironic that the TiVo App actually loads faster on the screen than the Premiere does!”

    Why ironic?

    The iPad is more expensive than the Premiere.

    The iPad is a more powerful computer than the Premiere.

  14. It will be interesting to see how much is handled over the local network and how much is coming from the TiVo servers. I really hope this leads to TiVo opening up more access over IP to allow things like remote deletion and other features that could be given to third party apps. Of course when they were asked about access to their api code for access to certain features on the website they said it would probably require some type of agreement.

    @Davezatz yeah when I saw it I was really excited. It is really tempting now to throw the iPad on the Xmas wish list especially with a couple hundred in BB giftcards burning a hole in my wallet.

  15. It’s a combination of both local and remote control. But my contact on this isn’t technical and couldn’t get granular with me last week when we discussed it. Things like the scrubbing and starting playback of Now Playing shows look to be new local hooks.

    Regarding HD and Series3 owners… TiVo has confirmed for me that this app will only support the Premiere. I can’t say I’m surprised — While I understand their motivations, I understand subscriber frustrations. And glad I own at least one Premiere.

  16. I wonder then if they couldnt add the hooks to the series 3 and HD to allow people to write their own like Directv users on dbstalk. Of course this probably gets away from what they want. I can understand the frustration but not the anger from HD owners. I wonder if it only works on the HDUi

    I guess this was what Rafe was supposed to ask but since he didnt ask the way they hoped they kept quiet.

  17. “I can understand the frustration but not the anger from HD owners.”

    Yup.

    “I wonder if it only works on the HDUi”

    That would frustrate and anger me.

  18. Now TiVoDesign did say in reply to my question about the series 3 and HD that there is a chance but that it wouldn’t have the same functionality. Of course now that I think about it she might be talking about TiVo Desktop since I said this should be something TiVo Desktop can do also.

  19. Cool. I’ll believe it when it ships. And even then if the reviews on the Premiere still suck (like the HD UI is too slow) then I *still* won’t be buying one.

    Nice to see Tivo doing something though. Slowly but surely moving away from them in little steps.

  20. I would not expect the Premiere to ever be capable of streaming video to an iPad or iPhone. In short, the way one would want to do it is not feasible, since real time transcoding an 18 Mbps HD MPEG2 stream to an h.264 stream suitable for the live streaming infrastructure in iOS using the BCM7413 SoC that powers a TiVo Premiere is really not feasible.

    An iPad easily has enough horse power to decode the MPEG2 on the CPU, but that has a number of technical and legal issues related to battery life, wireless bandwidth utilization, the $2 per unit decoder licensing fee, etc.

    So, not impossible, but not “brain dead simple” from either a technical or legal perspective.

  21. TiVo is really working hard to lose me as a customer. I have a fully functional Tivo HD that I have been paying their “subscription” fees on for years. Precious little additional functionality has come along. No, I don’t count “internet radio” and crap they want to sell me. Between my XBox 360, PS3, Wii, AppleTV, and Verizon FIOS I have all the choices in those departments I care to shake a stick at!!! Now, they finally build something that someone might care about, and they expect people to buy new hardware with a new subscription plan? To support features that shouldn’t require new hardware or a new subscription plan?

    What this means, in case they (TiVo) don’t understand, is that I will be reevaluating my choice of platform entirely. Rather than finding ways to tie me in deeper through my substantial investment, they are working hard to make sure I have to make a new complete investment. There is no “hook” to keep me loyal to TiVo. What is a lifetime subscription worth if they abandon platforms with new functionality?

    Of all my favorite companies, TiVo is the most incompetent set of business people….

  22. it is not the hardware that will not allow the iPad functionality with the S3 models – it is the software. Obviously a bunch of new APIs were written into the code for the premiere. Obviously it would be a not small amount of work to retrofit those APIs to the older and very different S3 code base.

    I would rather TiVo look forward and make use of the new code base for premiere which was a complete re-write in part to get things like this out the door faster.

    I saw the iPad as a useful toy but more toy than need. Now with this I will be waiting for iPad prices to fall in anticipation of the next gen model and pick up one of the old ones. I promise not to stamp my feet when some app will not run on the old iPad model :)

  23. This will be a fun little thing for the small number of Premiere owners (compared to all those S2 and S3 and HD owners, who find themselves grumbling yet again).

    But it won’t be enough to convince TiVo HD owners like myself to fork over a few hundred $$$ for a TiVo Premiere.

    What WOULD convince me is if I could actually WATCH SHOWS on my iPad. If Slingbox can do it, TiVo should be able to. Basically, I want my iPad to work like MRV, except streaming.

    If the TiVo Premiere hardware can’t support sending an H.264 stream to the iPad, then TiVo should add it. That would truly differentiate TiVo from the CableCo DVR.

  24. “doen’t”??

  25. This iPad app looks nifty, but wouldn’t it make sense to release a version for iPhone/iPod Touch too? (Android and support for HD/S3 would be great too, but baby steps, lol).

    It’s pretty shocking that in this day and age, when EVERYONE has an iPhone/iPod Touch app, TiVo doesn’t have one and we have to use i.TV (is there another app?).

  26. Looks like 14.7 is doing the initial roll-out so we should be seeing it soon.

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