As promised (to me, personally;), the TiVo Fire TV app has arrived today … in “beta” form and without live television. Having only played with it about five minutes, my initial observation is that this was clearly designed for or tested against something other than a television given little thought to overscan. Without adjusting my Fire TV’s settings, elements in the lower left, upper left, and upper right were clipped on my television. Indeed, from Amazon’s design guidelines:
The amount of space a TV uses as overscan varies across manufacturers. That real estate is not available to your app. Although the Amazon Fire TV platform provides a way for the user to adjust for television overscan in the settings, for the safest possible behavior we recommend that you avoid placing any of your app’s UI elements within the outer 5% of any edge on the screen. The focused item and on-screen text, especially, should be fully within the inner 90% (the safe zone) of your user interface.
Of course, TiVo knows this – as their primary interface exists on a television. However, it’s clearly a new concept for the Android development team. Having said that, they’re off to a good start in simplifying interaction for a lean back experience… as the bulk of the app is simply an easily navigated listing of recordings from your linked DVR.
In my brief look, the transcoded picture quality definitely takes a hit. What works on a 5″ screen isn’t going to work on a 50″ screen. As such, this is no TiVo Mini replacement. However, it looks to be a versatile solution for smaller, secondary televisions, like the 22 incher I rotate between kitchen, deck, and basement. Also, I anticipate this will be pretty killer when used on the road in conjunction with Fire TV’s hotel network support.
Perhaps more significant than how TiVo’s Fire TV app operates at launch is that it even exists. It’s a welcome and powerful fee-free expansion of the TiVo ecosystem to include third party set-top boxes… with signs other platforms are being looked at. And I sure hope live television is also on the roadmap.
(Thanks for the tip Elias!)