The TiVo Premiere is being released this weekend, promising to bring TiVo bang up-to-date and integrate Internet TV programming to a greater degree than ever.
Does the new TiVo hardware succeed in this mission, or is there still work to do if TiVo hopes to stop the rot?
TiVo has revolutionized the way many people in the United States watch conventional TV, enabling the recording, storing, pausing, and playback of live television.
However, there now a multitude of competitors, with each cable company offering their own DVR. And the emergence of online video which, by its very nature, offers viewing options galore, has meant TiVo has struggled to keep up.
But the new TiVo Premiere is the company’s big hope, boasting a new, redesigned user interface and the full integration of selected online video sources.
The most obvious change with the TiVo Premiere is the new Flash-based UI. And while it’s a definite improvement on the one on current models, which hasn’t changed in a decade, it’s still anything but perfect.
The ‘Search’ and ‘Browse’ options now have the ability to include online video options as well as local content. So whether you want to watch a show on conventional TV, stream it from YouTube or Netflix, rent it from Blockbuster, or purchase it from Amazon, you can do with more ease.
The TiVo Premiere has no integrated wireless, which is a big missed opportunity in this increasingly connected world.
Online Video Integration
The Premiere is being referred to as “the One Box” due to the integration of online video. But while the integration is stronger than on previous hardware, it’s still not exactly seamless.
Other Internet services are promised to be added later, such as Twitter and Pandora. But no more online video sources are likely, which means Hulu is going to remain an obvious and sorely missed omission.
The basic TiVo Premiere costs $300, with the XL version (which pushes the storage capacity from 45 hours of HD to 150 hours of HD) costing a shopping $500.
The TiVo Premiere will be available to buy from Best Buy stores from Sunday (March 28) and from TiVo.com and Amazon (see below) from Monday.