TiVo’s iPad App Now Available

TiVo’s iPad app, announced in November, is now available via the the App Store.

I’ve had app on hand for several weeks now, and I quite like it. Whereas TiVo has been lagging the competition in providing this sort of functionality, they may have just leap frogged nearly all contenders in producing both a beautiful and functional television companion. Of course, it’s only a companion for TiVo Premiere owners. But perhaps there are a few more this week given that amazing $65 Woot deal.

The app itself is quite comprehensive. Who needs picture-in-guide when you can manage just about every meaningful element of your TiVo from an iPad without interrupting the television viewing experience. Remote control? Check. Guide? Check. Season Passes, To Do List, Now Playing? Check, check, check. Plus, you know no app is complete these days without the ability to share on Twitter and Facebook. So they’ve checked that off, too. Bonus — portrait and landscape views for any/every screen.

Is TiVo’s iPad companion enough to jump from another DVR solution? For most, probably not. But it’s a significant enhancement for Premiere owners. If I had to nitpick, the interface can be cramped at times and upcoming shows are presented as a variant of TiVo’s “live guide” – yet I’d prefer a traditional grid guide, similar to say the FiOS TV iPad app, as a perennial channel surfer. But overall I’m stoked with TiVo’s progress is this arena. Plus, I expect continued development and additional platforms (Android?) going forward.

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20 thoughts on “TiVo’s iPad App Now Available”

  1. Some notes on stability… An early build of the app actually crashed my TiVo when I went a little crazy with the scrubber/progress bar. Fortunately, I haven’t been able to reproduce that and both the app and my iPad OS have been updated since. The latest build sometimes has problems communicating with my Premiere and is something I’ve discussed with my PR rep. Additionally, the latest version has crashed at least once one me. But, based on discussions with TiVo, I know this is not a one off and will see continued development (unlike the archaic Netflix app…) – so I’m not overly concerned; they’ll tighten it up.

    To really crush the competition and get folks to give up their cable-co DVRs, we’d need to see TiVoToGo or Slingbox-esque capabilities built-in. Not sure if that’s possible or likely. I’m not holding my breath on that front. But there is another…

  2. Ideally, TiVo would open up the API and let others write their own apps – then you’d see all the features you want. Also, as someone who owns two TiVo HDs with lifetime service, it seems like a slap in the face that this only works on the Premiere.

  3. I wish they’d do something for the iPhone / iPod Touch. I realize the screen real estate means they can’t do it all but maybe even just a Remote Control + Guide / Remote Scheduling app.

    The Remote could have a QWERTY keyboard and the Scheduler could be better than their Mobile site which is horrible and doesn’t even allow browsing.

    If I had a Premiere or an iPad I’d upgrade to have both. But right now I have neither.

  4. This is really cool, but as the owner of a Tivo S3, this seems like the only compelling reason to upgrade to a premier. And what an expensive upgrade it would be – Tivo Premier + lifetime service + iPad. That’s just too much dough.

  5. I don’t see myself rushing out to buy an iPad for the app, but it looks good. Even though Tivo keeps teasing it is working or looking to work on other versions, what I really want is a PC version. Either build it into TiVo Desktop or release it as a stand alone program. So many people use a laptop or netbook while watching TV it seems to make more sense to me.

    There also appears to be some missing functionality that I would like to see such as the ability to start a transfer from another Premiere or TiVo Desktop/PyTiVo.

  6. “Ideally, TiVo would open up the API and let others write their own apps – then you’d see all the features you want.”

    I can’t imagine why they don’t do this.

    It’d be a win-win situation for TiVo.

    I mean, seriously. What’s the downside from TiVo’s point of view? And there would be multiple avenues of upside.

    “Also, as someone who owns two TiVo HDs with lifetime service, it seems like a slap in the face that this only works on the Premiere.”

    Ugh. It’s not a slap in the face. It’s a feature they spent money developing to add value to their current (and future) lines of gear. Welcome to a reasonable reality. Your TiVo HD works just as well today as it did yesterday.

  7. “what I really want is a PC version”

    See, that’s one of the multiple reasons why it’d make sense for TiVo to publish the API’s…

  8. “I wish they’d do something for the iPhone / iPod Touch.”

    Reason #2 already on the thread showing why TiVo should publish the API’s…


    They’re not charging for the iPad client, so it’s not a matter of brining in minor app revenue.

    They’re doing the iPad client in the first place, so it’s not a matter of protecting revenue brought in by the weird slide remote.

    If you’re pushing a sidelined, but worthwhile platform, it really makes sense to leverage the contributions the free and commercial developer community can bring to bear. Think about how Apple leveraged the UNIX community to help sell their struggling OS X platform a decade ago.

    TiVo ought to let a thousand flowers bloom.

  9. This looks great and I intend on getting it. But it bothers me that they’re even working on this stuff when the UI on the ACTUAL BOX is woefully incomplete. Great, I can re-order and manage my season passes with new interfaces on the web and on my iPad. So why am I still using a decade old interface on my TV?!?!?!

    Finish the HD UI already! ALL THE WAY THIS TIME!

  10. Yeah, good point. It’s so much nicer to manage Season Passes from the iPad app than from the actual TiVo. Although you’re still hit with that woefully long wait time as it recalculates everything.

  11. One reason to lock down the API is to keep rogue apps for accessing the TiVo. Here are examples of apps that TiVo would probably hate to see:
    * Apps that scrape guide data from TiVo
    * Apps that scrape IMDB-like information from TiVo
    * Apps that delete recordings from TiVo
    * Apps that spy on the user in the background

  12. “One reason to lock down the API is to keep rogue apps for accessing the TiVo”

    Well, first the rogue app would have to get onto the LAN somehow.

    Second, TiVo could add some kind of password authentication to utterly end the issue.

    Third, it’s an awfully small footprint of users to stimulate rogue apps. OS X has remained virus-free not only through good design, but also through obscurity.

  13. Encouraging start, but like others I don’t have a Premier, and this won’t compel me to upgrade. I recently had a hard drive fail and actually spent the money on a 1TB drive for one of my existing Tivo HD’s rather than buy a new Premier.

    Hey Dave, if you wouldn’t mind a couple of questions…

    1) Can you use it when you’re not in your house/local LAN (I assume no)

    2) If I reorder my Season Passes on my iPad it sounds like it locks up my iPad until its done, but does it lock up my Tivo at all? If not, its still an improvement since I don’t really have to wait…

    3) Can I do a bulk reorder of my Season Passes with ONE big wait at the END?

  14. @Glenn

    1. The App does have some functionality when outside of the house according to the TiVo site, but it sounds like it may be limited to commands that can be sent through TiVo.com

    2. It sounds like it works like the Season Pass Manager on TiVo.com where it does everything in the background so it wouldn’t interfere with the TiVo. My guess is the iPad app works even better than their web version since it seems like you are directly changing the season pass manager rather than sending commands from TiVo.com to handle the changes.

    3. Based off the video over at engadget by Ben, it looks like you can. He was able to move a couple passes around and then hit cancel.

  15. “One reason to lock down the API is to keep rogue apps for accessing the TiVo”

    Worth noting that it’d be theoretically possible to write a “rogue app” to delete all of someone’s TiVo recordings if they had the Crestron LAN remote feature enabled and you could get the “rogue app” onto their LAN.

    But it’s never happened.

    And it’s not likely to ever happen for a couple of the exact same reasons that I listed above for why opening up the API’s for the Premiere’s remote features wouldn’t lead to “rogue apps”.

    Seriously, there really ain’t any downside for TiVo in publishing the API’s, and there’s a whole lot of upside…

  16. In response to many of Chucky’s points:

    1. A mac version would be downright trivial given the similarities between iOS and OSX.
    2. Given that TiVo now has OSX/iOS developers, maybe they’ll get around to releasing a full version of TiVo Desktop for OSX.
    3. It would actually be easy to scrape the guide data with the API, now that you mention it… Dave, do you know if this connects over the web interface? Someone’s bound to reverse-engineer this…

  17. TiVo has really torqued me off with this. From my perspective, this is just another backdoor way TiVo is trying to get me to ditch my TiVo HD, and purchase a new TiVo Premier and pay ANOTHER lifetime subscription fee or monthly fee. This is NOT a feature that requires “new hardware” to implement. As a VERY long term, loyal TiVo customer, I feel cheated by this. The TiVo “service” (which is NOT a service, but a product with a monthly license key) isn’t worth squat.

    TiVo should win some kind of corporate award for having done less with more….tons of promise, great technology, no business sense….

  18. Rich, some new actions are local (like the scrub bar) and some come from TiVo’s cloud (like the show and actor info). I suspect the new remote commands will be accessible but that the cloud stuff will be harder to get at. I’m not entirely sure how/where the Season Pass re-ordering or deletion occurs but that’s the kind of stuff that would be useful for third parties to tap into. Despite TiVo’s concerns.

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