3 Suggestions for TiVo to Improve OTT App Usability

Dave Zatz —  September 22, 2014

With Vudu and Amazon Instant soon set to join the likes of Netflix and YouTube, as TiVo begins redefining themselves as a “Streaming Player,” we have a few usability enhancements to suggest. Because, as it stands, getting into TiVo’s over-the-top apps requires quite a few clicks compared to a Roku. So my first suggestion is simply repurposing the TiVo button on the remote – a double click would bring power users straight to the existing (or better) app menu. Next, as to the menu itself, instead of a vertical listing of services featuring logos of varying widths, I’d like to see a grid of standardized app buttons for quicker access and recognition, along with improved provider parity. Lastly, TiVo’s mobile app should be updated for direct app “dialing” as available to Roku owners since 2010.

15 responses to 3 Suggestions for TiVo to Improve OTT App Usability

  1. Related, wish DIAL worked more reliably on TiVo… Netflix often gets confused when trying to begin playback in that manner.

  2. I use double-tivo to get to My Shows while I wait for my damn TV to power on, it’d suck to have that go away.

  3. Hopefully TiVo captures and crunches that sort of data. If many do use it that way, it would indeed be a disruption to flip. But my thought was many of us are now accessing over-the-top content with increased frequency – I know I watch more online content than DVR-red stuff these days. How about a programable button? Or three taps? Taking one of the colored OCAP button? :) Of course, the low hanging fruit here is probably simply updating the mobile app for direct linkage.

  4. What I would love to see is integrating the shows from various providers into the “Now Playing” section, so I can see my Netflix shows next to my recorded shows (bonus points if the same shows group together). I don’t care where the show comes from, I care about the shows, and I don’t want to leapfrog from Hulu to Netflix to Now Playing to see them all.

  5. Andrew, it does seem they’re thinking about deep linking and cross pollination of that sort…

    http://zatznotfunny.com/2014-04/tivo-program-shortcuts-patent-details-social-dvr/

  6. Those are good ideas – I have also thought that it would be nice if they updated the “What to Watch” screens to make it easier to browse across the OTT content… Most importantly, Including a filter for free content that would let you filter down to Vudu apps you already own and free content from Netflix and Amazon Prime.

    “What to Watch” is a neat idea, but I do not think it gets a lot of usage today… If it provided a mature way to brows content without having to drill into each individual app, that would be a real differentiator for TiVo.

  7. I would definitely like to see them switch to more of a grid layout for their apps section over the current list. It would just make it more modern looking.

    I would however hate to lose the double click Tivo button. That is one of the most used buttons I currently use. When the Amazon Prime app hits I might actually watch some TV from them, but outside of that, I don’t use anything beyond the DVR’d shows on the Tivo.

  8. Or a “Long Press” of the Tivo button to get the streaming menu would also work.

  9. Why not just let users feature the OTT service icon as one of the top 6 things across the top of the screen? I have a Tivo, I’m not interested in watching something that is “on now” with commercials, or that I’d be “joining in progress”.

  10. Yeah, I doubt What To Watch or the Discovery Bar probably get used the way TiVo had intended. I know I ignore both. Related, when the Premiere was first pitched to me at CES 2010 along with the new HDUI, they did sort of suggest that one day the Discovery Bar might contain additional sorts of content along with options to customize or pin favorites. Wonder if that’s still on the roadmap.

  11. MSO’s have a custom VOD button on their Tivo remote. I wouldn’t mind the same for retail boxes going to a VOD menu.

    But I’d like more than a plain grid. Tivo is something of an aggregator with Suggestions, Watch to Watch Now, Discovery Bar, etc. So I’d like to see them go beyond the basic grid menu.

    For existing remotes, perhaps double-click the Guide button to toggle between the regular Guide and a “smart” OTT Guide that has the apps, and aggregates suggestions, newly available, etc.

  12. I guess I am the odd TiVo user that uses What To Watch Now all of the time. I often use it to look for a current sport event without having to use the guide. I also use the WTWN on the iOS app to record upcoming movies that I haven’t seen and have high critic ratings.

  13. I couldn’t disagree more that a gid is a better UI than a list on a TV. Grids look nice and are great for touch screens, but are terrible when all you have is Up Down Left Right and Select. Think about how awful the first go at the Metro UI was on the XBox.

    When all you’ve got is a standard remote, the best UI is nested lists. Up and down to scroll (with page up and page down to scroll fast) and left and right to drill down or up. This is basically what TiVo already does (it was even more true in the old SD UI).

    PS I only ever use WTW for sports, but then it is invaluable. Especially when it comes to college football as the team you want to watch could be on any one of a dozen channels.

  14. I dunno… 5 clicks to the to the 6th app as currently implemented or 3 clicks to get to the furthest app in a grid of 3×2. (once you’ve already clicked multiple times to get in the list and without page up/down) Grid seems to work real well on Roku and Apple TV in conjunction with standardized shapes/logos – again, there’s a visual element as well. Microsoft went too crazy with Metro – but that doesn’t mean all grids are bad or inferior.

  15. I don’t know, I kind of like the way it is… But I am really not a huge fan of all the separate apps for content anyway – tivo tried for years to consolidate under their own user interface and I miss that.

    Having access to disparate content vis search and and what to watch is great. I don’t want to have to know or care what app it is coming from – and comparing prices for VOD of the same content would be great!

    Once I find something – launch the “whatever” app directly to the play screen.