TiVo’s Amazon Video App Updated For 2017

Dave Zatz —  January 15, 2017

Over the last few days, TiVo Bolt, Roamio, Premiere, and Mini units have been updated with a refreshed Amazon Video app to more closely mirror the latest experience deployed to other platforms like Roku and Amazon’s own Fire TV. Beyond the large tiles and left column navigation, as pictured on my Roamio, two notable enhancements are the integration of Amazon Channels and the option to filter video genres with the D button (as notated in the upper right). TiVo continues to offer the best mashup of over-the-air, cable, and online content, despite AirTV’s attempts, and it’s refreshing to see another major Amazon app update roll out after only two years … given the decades it took the streaming version of Amazon to arrive and just in time for Sneaky Pete.

(Thanks Avi!)

36 responses to TiVo’s Amazon Video App Updated For 2017

  1. Anyone see this on Premiere? Will update if so…

  2. The first thing I noticed with the updated Amazon app on my Roamio is that there is an HBO channel, bringing HBO Now to TiVo for the first time. Too late for me unfortunately, as I’ve been using a Chromecast for HBO. Oh well…

  3. Well, it’s not exactly HBO NOW as you subscribe thru Amazon and access thru Amazon. Having said that, it’s a big improvement and perk for TiVo owners. Amazon’s generous one month free trial of HBO (for Prime members) is also how I caught Westworld. Will probably subscribe again after a few other seasons conclude, like The Leftovers.

  4. Dave, I can confirm the new app is also on my Premiere along with my Roamio and Bolt. Of course one might die of old age waiting for the Premiere platform to load it along with pretty much any other app.

  5. Thanks, updated! Premiere is an underpowered platform and TiVo’s architecture of not locally caching the app takes a toll – even on Roamio it’s too slow to load. I’m hoping for some updated Minis as I can’t justify migrating DVR to Bolt.

  6. The Android 7 (Nougat) update is coming for Shield TV and when it does it will not only offer Amazon video on the platform (same app as the Tivo), but USB OTA tuner DVR support.

    Only thing that annoys me is Comcast refuses to allow a lot of apps to work with the Android TV platform.

    Can’t wait for the Nvidia Spot to come out and use Google Assistant with it.

  7. William Christian Bonner January 15, 2017 at 11:52 am

    My TiVo Roamio has restarted several times in the past few weeks. each time telling me about the new voice accessibility features. I’m glad to know what was updated this time.

    Each time it’s reset, there have been two things I’ve noticed.

    It forgets the settings I’ve got for display in now playing.

    HDMI stops passing sound to my receiver.

    I fix the second item by putting the device into standby, then waking it back up. The first I have to go back to the options and reconfigure it.

  8. William, the voice accessibility feature was probably going to be my next post. Looks like it was first seen back in November, but I just learned about it this week.

  9. “Dave, I can confirm the new app is also on my Premiere along with my Roamio and Bolt.”

    I’d have been astonished if it wasn’t. Given the OTT apps are all server-side, it’d have pretty bizarre for them to suddenly have different apps for different TiVo models.

  10. “even on Roamio (the Amazon app is) too slow to load.”

    Well, yeah. Initial launch is certainly not snappy. But frankly, I never understand why that’s an issue for folks. The 10 to 15 second launch delay on the Roamio is a helluva lot quicker than switching inputs and remotes. And once you’ve launched, while it may not be quite as snappy as a modern Fire or Roku, it’s still perfectly snappy enough for me – and I’m someone who highly values snappiness. Plus, assuming you’re using OnePass, you land exactly where you need to be, which is much quicker than instantly getting to Amazon on Fire or Roku, and then having to manually navigate for a while.

    I still think OnePass is the easiest and quickest way to deal with OTT by far, at least among those OTT services that have TiVo clients. I value saving time and effort in not having to adjust to and navigate each different UI for each different OTT service, not to mention valuing the unified list on the TiVo. My only (big!) complaint is that since the Rovi data switchover, a goodly number of available OTT shows don’t show up in Search, which kinda defeats the whole purpose of OnePass…

  11. And still no UHD Amazon support. Amazing.

    Glad I have my Shield TV.

  12. We spend most of our time in PS Vue on the Fire TV (connected to same tv as Tivo Roamio). Until Tivo brings on the top 3 OTT services: Sling TV, PS Vue and DirecTV Now we will keep switching inputs.

  13. Did your guide date reflect whether you have HBO Now through Amazon?

  14. I’m glad for the updated Amazon app, but I have to ask TiVo, “When will you update the Netflix app?” Whoever designed this app obviously doesn’t watch Netflix! They have the usual big splash for some of the shows that they are pushing and then an endless line of tiles for every genre that you can imagine. Where is my LIST? It is at the bottom after all of these lines of genres! Where is the SEARCH icon? in the line under my list! Hey TiVo, put the search at the top of the page and make my list the first line of shows! Also, although this might be user error, I still can’t figure out haw to move backwards in the Netflix app. The circular BACK button doesn’t work, nor does pressing on the left arrow on the top control pad. My workaround is to press the TiVo button and start over! If I am being an idiot, please tell me how to fix these problems. However, the search and my list being at the bottom of everything is not an ID-TEN-T error (write it out using the numeral 10).

  15. Re: Netflix

    “Where is my LIST? It is at the bottom after all of these lines of genres! Where is the SEARCH icon? in the line under my list!”

    Scroll up, not down, to get to search. It’s right there. I think the same applies to your watchlist, but I’m not sure without checking, as I very rarely use it instead of OnePass. But whether up or down, I definitely don’t have to scroll that far to get to my watchlist.

    “Also, although this might be user error, I still can’t figure out haw to move backwards in the Netflix app.”

    Yup. User error. I don’t recall without launching it which is the back button for Netflix, but it definitely exists. It’s just different from the Amazon app, and unlike the Amazon app, it’s not labelled on screen.

  16. “Did your guide date reflect whether you have HBO Now through Amazon?”

    IIRC, we’ve previously had commenters note that services you subscribe to via Amazon do not show up in TiVo search.

  17. Still no preview when fast-forwarding/reversing in the Amazon Video app. =(

  18. Stephen, TiVo may assist with development and perhaps provide best practices in regards to button mapping, but it’s on the services themselves to build or update an app. Unfortunately, they don’t have the same footprint of a Roku or Xbox so I assume its not top priority. Perhaps they’ll move to Android down the road to make the platform more accessible.

    Chris, I assume this will set the stage for 4K on Bolt. But that’s just a guess.

    Chucky, as some point TiVo will cut support for Premiere — could be an arbitrary line in the sand or it could be performance based, hardware capabilities, etc. I’m surprised they’re keeping it current at this point and assume retail customers are benefiting from MSO deployments like RCN.

  19. @Chris why would you expect to see Amazon ULTRA HD programs on a TiVo that can’t deliver UHD content. UHD content will never be available on any Premiere or Roamio, these devices aren’t capable of delivering that. It’s a matter of hardware not software.

  20. “Chucky, as some point TiVo will cut support for Premiere — could be an arbitrary line in the sand or it could be performance based, hardware capabilities, etc. I’m surprised they’re keeping it current at this point and assume retail customers are benefiting from MSO deployments like RCN.”

    Anything is possible. After all, they’ve recently undergone a change in ownership.

    But doing so would be a pretty drastic departure from the traditional “TiVo Way”. Hell, it’s only been a year since they did the work to make damn S3 compatible with MPEG4!

    If the day comes where either they simply can’t maintain the S4, or it becomes cost-prohibitive to do so, then sure, it’ll be consistent with traditional behavior. In the current sitution, the Amazon app is already working on the S4, and the concept of TiVo interfering just because Amazon did some server-side tweaking is why I would’ve been astonished if it hadn’t appeared on the S4. Hell, that would be more difficult for Amazon.

    (To take a different situation, if the code bases are different enough on the S4 for it to be a lot of work, I could well see them not bringing the forthcoming TiVo UX to S4, but that’s waaaay different than no longer supporting it.)

    And to repeat myself, it’s always possible that Rovi will depart from traditional TiVo practices. But the default is for the brand to be quite good on supporting legacy hardware wherever possible. And while I’m sure that MSO deployments are a large part of it, don’t forget about customers like me who purposely didn’t lifetime in order to incentivize TiVo to keep good support for legacy hardware. Something has got to explain why they bothered with bringing MPEG4 to the S3, and it’s either non-lifetimed users, or just to keep the brand cuddly ‘n’ friendly. They’re the anti-Sling.

  21. What I want to know is when (if) tivo will add time display like on the premiere? I recently added a bolt to my devices and really miss the time

  22. As an Amazon Prime Member, Netflix Streamer and TiVo Subscriber (c/o RCN Cable)…
    I can sad halfheartedly deny the existence of any “Amazon Video Provider” option on ourLeased PACE TiVo T6 “Six-Shooter”.

    I am obligated to divulge the cause of our intense sadness directly correlates to the increase in QUALITY CONTENT a slight decrease VIEWING TIME (until recently it averaged out over the years, ultimately remaining constant).
    My Wife was watching Adrian Brody in Predators so I only had a few moments to explore and did not have the time or motivation to enter the “Opera App Store” where the App very well may be hiding. I also need to check the TV upstairs it has FiOs and a Verizon DVR (We have Dual ISPs, fault tolerant remote access to my job).
    Last thing working from home, I basically leave You’Tube on Auto Pilot all day, every day for background atmosphere being squirreled in the Basement for 10-12 hours per day.
    Lastly @Steven we feel your years of frustration with the “Now Newer and Niftier – Negligent Netflix Navigation”. -Being original ChromeCasters – WE HAVE A SOLUTION. Use whatever leftover – still to nice to giveaway piece of non-obsolete tech like any iPad, Tablet, NoteBook, LAPTOP, Etc…. as a dedicated remote control. (Chromebooks inexpensive and work the best for us, we generally continue with research, work or school when the Movie starts.
    IT IS SO MUCH MORE ENJOYABLE Picking a NetFlix Movie from the ChromeBox and having it instantaneously appear on your TV (Linking YouTube or NetFlix takes less then minute to navigate to th unique URL on the TV. CASTING is also more enjoyable, as is The HDMI-OUT on my ChromeBook to the HDMI-IN on our Wall TV – Overall it has ever so slightly, consistently become less frustrating. Only the APPS UI speed has improved (Along with the infrastructure in our Communities.Our Bandwidth: RCN’s Mythical DATA 155/25 (FiOS’s ez 100/100 LOL! Remember Dial-Up?) , the MOCA Network, and the Hardware (T6), meaning now it’s “SNAPPIER KLUGE” (Neither NetFlix nor YouTube play nice with three generations of Slide Remotes).

    Hope this helps!
    AdManTheLabRat

  23. Any idea if it works with the the new Amazon Prime video service launched in Canada in December. When I tested the old Amazon app on Roku last week it didn’t work.

  24. Doubtful. TiVo abandoned the retail market there like ten years ago and Cogeco doesn’t provide an Amazon app to customers. If it works, I’d call it an accidental and unexpected gift.

  25. I checked last night on my Premiere and the updated Amazon App was there. Very Hulu ish/Netflix ish in appearance. It seems the designers are following the big block/big tile model of design.

  26. Now, if they would just hire someone capable of putting the rest of the SD menus in HD. ARGH…

  27. “Now, if they would just hire someone capable of putting the rest of the SD menus in HD. ARGH…”

    I’m really bummed that the new UI will be coming out later this year for this exact reason.

    I was absolutely sure that given another 4 to 5 years to ponder, I’d finally be able to figure why on Earth this actually seems to bother a few people. But with the UI coming so soon, I guess I’ll never figure it out. ARGH…

  28. Well, I can kind of keep watching/listening to a channel while I’m in most of the menu, but going into the networking settings prevents my wife from seeing the show she was watching before I interrupted her. It doesn’t happen often, but one day I hope someone will figure out how to do it.

  29. “but going into the networking settings prevents my wife from seeing the show she was watching before I interrupted her. It doesn’t happen often”

    Right. It doesn’t happen often, to say the very least, no? How often do you go into the networking settings in the first place? How often are you forced to do that when your wife is watching TV?

    I’ve literally never found myself in that situation. YMMV, of course. But I’m now aware for the first time of one potential valid use-case-scenario where the SD menus in the settings could actually negatively affect one’s experience, even if it only happens for 90 seconds once a year. So I’ve learned something new today, and I genuinely thank you for that, Lawson.

    (The thing that annoys me far more than that thing I’ve never experienced is if you pop up the guide when watching a recording, and hit “Info” for that the show in the guide and go “Explore” it, when you get back to the guide, instead of being back watching your recording as you would expect, you’re bizarrely watching Live TV, and must go back to My Shows to get back to your recording. I get annoyed by that at least once a week.)

  30. Is it really that difficult for Amazon to offer UHD through the Bolt? I guess I’m just not informed enough but given the amount of time its been, it must be an extremely difficult process.

  31. Chucky, seems indicative and a shame with $1b in the bank they couldn’t fill out their development team. How many other cool features, like profiles, have been dropped or delayed because they’re possibly not appropriately staffed? Speaking of which, I got a great screenshot to share. Maybe they’ll leave us a few SD menus in the new, new UI to joke about the next few years.

    Regarding realer UI quirks, I have a few like you minor ones. Left directional button inconsistencies with channel banner is one, I think. It’s not often, probably same weekly annoyance.

  32. “Chucky, seems indicative and a shame with $1b in the bank they couldn’t fill out their development team. How many other cool features, like profiles, have been dropped or delayed because they’re possibly not appropriately staffed?”

    Look, I’m certainly not offering a blanket endorsement of TiVo’s development team, though I think they’ve done some excellent things in the past few years with the current interface, OnePass, and ComSkip. I’d be a lot less attached to my TiVo these days had OnePass never appeared. But my motto forever has been, “TiVo makes the worst DVR’s in the world, with the single exception of all the other DVR’s.” And despite nifty features being added to MSO DVR’s, I think that motto continues to stand up.

    My only issue has been utter bafflement at why folks get upset at the SD settings menu, as I could never see any real-life downside to the thing. And without that, I could never see it as indicative of absolutely anything, other than possibly TiVo having its priorities in the right order. Helpfully, Lawson finally noted to me an edge-case scenario where it would be a rare and minor inconvenience. But beyond that? I mean, it’s certainly funny as a cheap joke, but were I running TiVo development, why would I want to devote a single man-hour to dealing with it when that man-hour could be used elsewhere to deliver more practical benefits? (And, of course, it wouldn’t be just a single man-hour.)

    In short, I’m all in favor of criticizing the things their development process gets wrong or neglects that affect real-life usage. I don’t think I’ve ever been shy on that front. (Though as to your example, the commenters here recently had a useful discussion on profiles where it was posited that profiles might be enough of a niche feature in the shared living room setting to explain TiVo not pursuing it.)

    And enough with the tease, Dave. Share the damn screenshot. My interest is highly piqued.

  33. I don’t know… professionalism? I don’t watch SD channels at all… only HD. It’s unprofessional for TiVo to have a little area of their UI squirreled away that forces us back to SD, even it brief.

    It used to bother me more than it does now, because the majority of the UI was SD for quite a while. It’s now just a minor inconvenience, but if I were the program manager I would have had the entire menu redone instead of just part of it.

  34. @Stephen

    When watching a Netflix program on TiVo the Up arrow functions as Stop/Back.

  35. Thanks! I’ll have to try this. This one “fix” would greatly improve my NetFlix experience on my Roamios. I still do not get why NetFlixd puts my list and Search at the bottom, though. Stoned programmers?

  36. THAT is good to know.
    Are there any other such tidbits about navigating Netflix & other parts.