Thursday, 8 September 2011

Major software update for Virgin Media's TiVo will contain support for iPad Companion App


AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 09/08/11 -- TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ: TIVO), a leader in advanced television services and personal video recorders (PVRs), and Virgin Media Inc. (NASDAQ: VMED) (LSE: VMED), the UK's leading digital entertainment provider, today announced details of a key new feature coming to their next-generation connected TV offering which will allow customers to take control of the TiVo powered service through a cutting-edge iPad companion app. The feature will be made available as part of the first major software update for the system and is designed to build on the user experience of the award-winning service. Virgin Media plans to roll-out the software update, which will feature the companion app as well as other new features to be announced, in the coming months.

The TiVo companion app will allow Virgin Media customers to use their Apple iPads to interact directly with their TiVo service and extend their viewing experience beyond the remote control. After installing the free TiVo companion app, users can interact with the elegant, intuitive TiVo user interface directly on their iPads to search across Virgin Media's content, including the TV Guide and thousands of hours of content available through its video on demand library, without interrupting what they are already watching on TV. With just a couple of swipes on the iPad user can immediately and seamlessly begin viewing the content they have discovered via their TiVo app right on their TV.

Cindy Rose, executive director of digital entertainment at Virgin Media, said, "The way viewers watch television is changing faster than ever. Partnering with TiVo has helped us develop the most advanced and flexible TV system in the UK ensuring our customers are able to enjoy the best connected television offering available in the market today. In less than a year since launch we are already building new features to offer our customers more ways to enjoy their service with an unprecedented user experience, and maintaining our position at forefront of technological innovation in TV. The companion app and other forthcoming enhancements we are working on form part of our long term strategy to deliver the most dynamic and user friendly multi-screen entertainment experience in the U.K."

Since its launch in December 2010, the Virgin Media: TiVo service has been heralded by mainstream media(1) as 'the most sophisticated piece of hardware you can connect to your television.' Users of the product are able to enjoy a host of content ranging from hundreds of traditional television channels to a myriad of content streamed directly from the online sources via BBC iPlayer and YouTube through its built-in broadband connection as well as Virgin Media's vast video on demand library all seamlessly folded into TiVo's award-wining user interface with its easy-to-navigate search and discovery functionality.

Joshua Danovitz, VP & General Manager, International, TiVo Inc., said, "Virgin Media is a partner that recognizes where the future of television is headed. Through working with TiVo, Virgin Media has quickly implemented an award-winning user interface with TV's most innovative features and functionality, available anywhere in the U.K. With the initial rollout of Virgin Media: TiVo Service underway, it is already driving more measurable user satisfaction than any other hybrid television experience in the UK further demonstrating that TiVo continues to be the best way to watch television, bar none."

TiVo and Virgin Media made this announcement during the 2011 IBC Conference which runs from September 8-13 in Amsterdam.
You can check out large photos of the App here, here, here and here. Meanwhile, Nick Ontiveros, Virgin Media head of TV Strategy (Digital Entertainment), posted on the Help and Support Forums that:
 ....the introduction of new features to TiVo planned for the second half of this year will not come all in a single update.

I just hope to set expectations because it seems that a rumour has been heavily perpetuated on this board that there is one all encompassing update to come. In actuality, there will be a large update, but other feature updates will follow very soon after this update (as their introduction had the update itself as a dependency).
The actual contents of the update (or should that be updates?) remain secret to anyone outside the beta trial panel, but we do know that improved picture quality for standard definition content is among the list of issues which Virgin are looking to fix. Red button functionality is probably on the list somewhere, indeed the website states that "Red Button functionality will be coming in the future to our TiVo service."


martine93 said...

Great News.

adiboy said...

Will it be possible for Android apps to take advantage of the same functionality?

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