Wednesday, 23 November 2011

15.2 Software Update for Virgin Media's TiVo - First Impressions

TiVo from Virgin Media. Now with more performance, less PIN nagging
and remote buttons which actually do what their supposed to!
Its here! First impressions.
  • Its fast! It took around 5 to 7 seconds for 15.1 to display My Shows on my 1TB TiVo (77% capacity used). It takes 15.2 just under 3 seconds! Everything has been given a performance boost, from changing channels to flicking through menus to Wishlist lookups to viewing information regarding shows and actors. Its early days yet but so far, I've yet to see the spinning 'please wait' red doughnut.
  • The PIN nagging is over! You can now stop PIN requests for content recorded after 9pm.
  • Pressing Info produces programme info!
  • Stop really means STOP when playing a recording!
  • Finally, I can watch Sky Sports News (and other Sky channels) in the mini-window.
  • As previously mentioned, multi-room streaming is in 15.2 but at present the broadcasters are preventing content from streaming (or so says the on-screen message). It will be interesting to see if Virgin get permission from Sky to allow their content to be streamed.
  • Because the Ethernet ports are now open, that means all sorts of potential fun for those customers who have connected their TiVo(s) to their home network (via CAT 5 or Homeplugs). Got a Android phone or tablet? Check out TiVo Commander, which allows you to remotely control your TiVo! TiVo Net Controller does the same thing for Windows PCs (Windows 7 & Vista).
  • Those USB ports are open too. Time to get hold of a wireless keyboard.
  • Standard definition content looks a little better on my Samsung 40 inch TV, from 8ft away.
  • Entering search words for content is a lot quicker thanks to SMS-style entry.
  • Channel names are now displayed on the right when viewing past days in the EPG.
  • Programme start and end times are now displayed in the EPG.
  • Is it me, or has 'View from On-Demand' replaced 'View Available Episodes' for the button linking to VOD content for a show?
  • 1 step forward for the (new look) YouTube app, which can now playback HD content.
  • 3 steps back for the YouTube app, which no longer allows you to log into your account (which didn't work properly anyway).
  • Express Series Link - only record 10 episodes by default? Really? What's the point? I can see some people getting caught out by that since most shows have more than 10 episodes per season. The ones not caught out will have to manually change the number of episodes, a process which due to its non-expressly nature, makes this new feature near useless.

In short: 15.2 is a big improvement. The performance improvements and other tweaks (like Info and Stop buttons actually doing what they're supposed to do) make the box more pleasurable to use, with the exception of the YouTube app which has improved in looks and has lost functionality.

Longer term, there are potential issues (and recording clashes) which may arise due to the default padding which 15.2 introduces, which is now 1 minutes before and 4 minutes after. The lack of a global option to change these defaults is glaring. The continued, inefficient use of tuners in 15.2 (especially when recording back-to-back recordings on the same channel) doesn't help and both of these issues should be on TiVo's fix-it list for future sofware updates.

Still, everything else is faster, a little snapper, sharper (in standard definition) and in places, easier to use with 15.2, and that's only a good thing. I'll take a more in-depth look at 15.2 later this week.


BuddieBoy said...

Also when you create a wishlist In the 15.2 update there is now a subcategory after you select the HD category.

BuddieBoy said...

US Tivo slide remote now works on the 15.2 update.

adiboy said...

There seem to be two versions of the YouTube app.

1. Use My Shows -> YouTube (at the bottom of the list) or use Home->Apps & Games->Featured Apps->YouTube

This is the new version - HD but no log in.

2. Use Home->Apps & Games -> All Apps and Games->YouTube

This is the old version with log in, though possibly not HD. It lets me log in and see my favourites though doesn't access playlists.

Of course, it would be much better if the new version defaulted to a system like the old. Who needs a trailer for VirginMedia to run on YouTube by default? Surely we all have a Tivo box already!

Dan said...

The old YouTube app does seem to be there still, as detailed above, but I wonder for how long? One of the big pluses of TIVO for me was being able to watch my YouTube subscriptions, and the new app doesn't seem to support this.

Dan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Like multi-room streaming 15.2 allows iTiVo and similar applications to connect the box from a Mac. It lists all recorded shows but transferring is currently prevented as all are marked as copy-protected.

When multi-room streaming is enabled (for select content) I imagine this may then work too. It's probably one of the reasons it's not enabled already.

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