Take an in-depth look at a killer app for TiVo Premier users with iPads.
Channel surfing at its finest. One of the key benefits to using the TiVo Premiere app is full access to your programming guide without it interfering with what's on the screen. That way, if other people are actually watching what's on, you can continue to search for something better. Also, since the interface isn't being driven by the TiVo, it's considerably faster than using your remote. You just scroll up and down with your fingers.
Along the bottom of the interface are the five main content areas: Info, Guide, My Shows, Browse, and Manage. I'm not sure it's possible, but I'd love the option to rearrange these since I spend most of my time using the Guide and My Shows sections.
For those that like to surf using a grid view, you're out of luck: the app only has the TiVo Guide view.
The My Shows tab gives you access to everything recorded to your Premiere. Once you've selected a show, the upper right of the interface has a series of soft keys for whatever you want to do next.
If you have multiple TiVos on your network, you cannot view their recordings from here in the app. You'll have to go up to the top of the interface (where it says DVR-58EA, in this case) and switch to the other TiVo you want to view. It has to be a Premiere, too, so those with TiVo series 3 models or earlier can't be viewed. You also can't schedule a transfer of a show from one TiVo to another. And unlike the TiVo interface for My Shows, Netflix subscribers have no way to view their queue from inside the app.
Another minor nitpick: though you can expand folders to see all the recording of a particular show, there doesn't seem to be a way to collapse them again.
Hitting Explore, for example, gives you selectable cast and crew icons for viewing other shows and movies they're involved with as well as related/similar programming recommendations. It would be nice if it linked out to something like IMDb for more information, but it doesn't.
It's easy to overlook, but the bar that divides the top and bottom sections of the interface has two options on it: Credits and Episodes. Credits I just explained, and Episodes lets you see all the episodes for a particular series by season.
Missed an episode? Pressing Upcoming brings up a scrollable list of upcoming shows. Unfortunately, the box isn't very large, so the amount of information is limited. It's more of an issue for shows that are in syndication, making it difficult to quickly see if a show is new or old. You can switch to the Episodes view to get that info, though.
Whether you're interested in catching up on past seasons of a show or just want to view a specific episode again, the Episodes view comes in very handy. Select a particular title and you'll see next to the description at the top where you can get the episode. Tap the Get From key on the right nav and you can quickly decide who gets your business.
Once you make a selection in Get From, it pops up an alert to look at your TV. On the TV will be the typical Play screen, but the experience is oddly jarring the first few times it happens. It is nice, though, that you can pull something directly from Netflix without it being in your Instant queue first, since there's no way to search Netflix's Watch Instantly catalog through the TiVo itself.
Heading back down to the navigation tabs at the bottom of the interface, there's Browse. Basically, when you're not sure what you want to watch, you can head here and check out collections of TV shows and movies. The divider bar lets you get more specific on what type of programming recommendations you're after.
The remote control functions for the app are awesome. The TiVo is as responsive, if not more responsive, over a network connection than with either the IR or Bluetooth remote controls. The only issue, as it is with any touch-screen remote, is that you have to look at the iPad to control what's on your TV.
Lastly, searching is much easier thanks to a full-size keyboard. Search goes across all supported content platforms, too. For example, if you want to search for a specific movie, it'll tell you if it's available through Blockbuster, Netflix, Amazon, or your cable provider/OTA.