Hands On with the TiVo Slide QWERTY Remote

Dave Zatz —  August 24, 2010

Unveiled along with the Premiere, the TiVo Slide Bluetooth QWERTY remote ($90) is finally ready for its close up and now shipping. Of course, the primary selling point and key differentiator is the well concealed QWERTY keyboard to facilitate text entry as Search and other broadband apps become regular elements of our daily television viewing experiences. It’s a whole lot more elegant and effective than my keyboard hack.

I found the slide mechanism smooth and snappy, with the individual keys having good tactile feel and clickability. My only real complaint with the form is related to TiVo’s shortening of the traditional peanut — resulting in some button size and spacing compromises. Probably not a deal breaker for most, but it could take some getting used to.

Another potential issue for a subset of owners is the limited USB port count (2) found on Series3, TiVoHD, and Premiere hardware. Because Bluetooth isn’t directly integrated into these TiVo models, a small USB BT dongle comes bundled with the TiVo Slide. So if you connect both a SDV Tuning Adapter and wireless adapter via USB, as we do with our bedroom TiVo, you’ll need to pick up a powered USB hub for Slide usage.

Click to enlarge:

13 responses to Hands On with the TiVo Slide QWERTY Remote

  1. Some random notes… The standard portion of the remote can fall back to IR if needed, and works without the BT dongle, which is interesting. Everything, from the remote buttons to the entire QWERTY keyboard is backlit in dim lighting – it’s nicely done, although I wonder what it’ll do to battery life. Yes, text entry works in both Search and HME apps like YouTube. The UI displays battery level for a “RF” remote. The remote ships with 2 AA batteries and a USB extension cord. Price will be the limiting factor for many, I’m guessing.

  2. TiVo supports USB hubs. That will solve your port dilemma. See the official TiVo support article:

    http://support.tivo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1791

  3. Get that down to $49.00 and ill order it asap, its just a little crazy to basically spend a third the price of a tivo primere for a remote to only use with it…but after saying that, it is really nice looking.

  4. Cool, but only a novelty for me as I don’t find myself sitting there with my standard remote wishing for this functionality.

  5. It looks nice. I’ve moved on from the peanut remote, though. I use a Harmony One. The keyboard seems like a really nice addition but it’s one that I’d probably only appreciate if it came with the TiVo in the box. I really don’t find myself entering enough text to where I’m really wanting this remote.

    I do a search maybe once every few weeks and even then I’m just entering in enough letters to get to the point where it pops up in the list. That usually happens with 3-5 characters.

  6. @Dave Zatz
    I’m assuming that your TiVo is in some sort of cabinet. Is it? And what kind of range have you seen with the bluetooth?

  7. Irwin, Both my TiVos are in stands/enclosures that are pretty open – nothing with doors to obstruct signal. However, the theoretical range for Bluetooth is 30 feet and TiVo did package a USB extension cord to help one’s cause if needed. I didn’t notice problems with signal in our bedroom (~18×13), where I did most of the testing. I can do some more testing when I get home from work tonight to get a better idea of range and penetration.

  8. I feel like the Lenovo Multimedia Remote with keyboard is still a better value. I don’t find myself typing that often, so it just hangs out in the remote basket until I need it.

    On the other hand, if there was ever a giveaway on a certain blog I frequent, I wouldn’t not comment on that thread for a chance to win it… hint hint…

  9. jon, I still have the Lenovo mini QWERTY keyboard. It’s a decent deal for ~$30 and comes in handy for various tasks or projects (including and beyond TiVo).

    I’ll be checking in with TiVo later today regarding the possibility of a giveaway. They’re usually pretty cool about it for accessories like this.

  10. Dave – thanks for that. I have a couple of other follow-up questions:
    – When the remote goes out of range, is there any indication of that either on the remote or on the TiVo itself (be in on the TV output, the bluetooth dongle or TiVo unit)?
    – On initial install, what was the pairing process like? I see that it says on the package that its an “easy plug and play setup”. Did you have to type in a pairing key? And if you did, did you do that with your old remote?
    – You mention that it can fall back to IR. Does it only do that when there is no bluetooth connection? Or can it use both at the same time?

    Sorry for the book here – this sounds really appetizing for me and I just want to be able to justify spending the money :).

  11. Irwin, No manual pairing process at all. I plugged the USB BT dongle in and a few seconds later the remote was active. So it comes pre-mated as far as I can tell. And I do believe it seamlessly toggles between IR and BT as needed – to change your television’s volume for example. I’ll check the range thing tonight, but I don’t recall noticing anything other than the battery capacity displayed on the one info screen.

  12. Thanks for the nice quick review and answering my question over at Engadget.
    Talk about full service!
    :)

  13. No problem, Robert. I recognized a friendly face (name) and figured I could help. :)

    Irwin, range and penetration seems good. I was able to control our S3 in the living room from my office which is on the other side of the living room and through a wall. It also main connection for a bit into the office walk-in closet. Not sure the total distance, but it all seems pretty good at my place. When the remote loses signal, there doesn’t seem to be an onscreen notification but the remote itself will use the orange/red light (indicating IR) instead of blue (indicating BT) on button presses.

    Also, I’ve confirmed what Ben reported on Engadget. TiVo did upgrade my Premiere software. I’m trying to find out details on what other changes might be buried in this release (14.6.M3).