Later today, broadband-connected TiVo Series3 and TiVo HD subscribers will be treated to a revamped search experience. And, marking a first, TiVo is finally taking widescreen televisions seriously with a high-def interface utilizing that extra real estate. And, instead of carrying on with the questionable success of “Swivel Search” branding, this new offering is simply referred to as TiVo Search. Combined with a ‘beta’ designation and the visual similarity to those leaked prototype usability videos, I think what we’re really seeing is the foundation of a new (Java-based) TiVo look & feel. Some details from TiVo:
The new interface not only displays in high definition, it has a focus on finding high definition television content. TiVo search automatically recommends high definition television channels and episodes when users schedule a program to record. Additionally, users can now browse shows season by season and select any episode they want utilizing a robust episode guide. The newly tuned search engine also displays the most popular search results of the day automatically, even when typing only a single letter. Depending on availability users may record content from cable/antenna, download it from Amazon Video on Demand, or use WishList searches to record it the next time the content is broadcast.
All of which seems like the natural evolution of DVR search capabilities. But what really caught my eye, beyond the revamped UI, is seeing TiVo head back to their content discovery roots… by introducing a graphical and browseable video selection bar. It provides a richer, more interactive experience featuring video suggestions based on “community” popularity and subscriber’s personalized Thumbs Up/Down show ratings. Unfortunately, it’s probably inevitable that we’ll also see some sponsored placements.
TiVo’s soliciting feedback of their new Search widget and, based on a brief trial yesterday, my first comment is that the fonts are too small. In the size/quantity equation, I’d rather see less information that is more readable.