Hands-On with TiVo’s upgraded IPad App

July 12, 2011

TiVo’s iPad app was updated this morning to support limited functionality for the Series3. In particular, you can browse the guide, schedule recordings and even use the virtual remote control. It’s nice that TiVo hasn’t forgotten about Series3 owners. Even Series1 and Series2 owners get some love with “guest mode”. Actually, anyone with or without a TiVo can use guest mode. Guest mode enables anyone to browse guide data for their local cable or broadcast line-up. However, guest mode requires you to enter your zip code and email address each time you sign into the app (you could just leave it running on your iPad). Seems like a fair trade-off and it gives TiVo a great way to market the Premiere to folks. The differences between the Premiere, Series3 and guest versions are shown below. In addition, this update allows the TiVo app to work on the iPhone and iPod Touch.

TiVo Premier vs Series3 iPad functionality

TiVo Premier vs Guest iPad functionality

Set up

Set up is pretty straightforward. On your TiVo,  first enable “Network Remote Commands” (under setup). If you have a Premiere, you will also need your TiVo media access key (MAK) by going to “Settings & Messages” -> “Account & System Information” -> “Media Access Key” (or login to your account on the TiVo website). Download the app from the App Store on your iPad or iPhone. Select your TiVo. Enter your MAK (for the Premiere) or your email address (guest / S3) and you’re ready to go!

The App Itself

Today was the first time the Hub did a deep dive with the TiVo iPad app. The app has a definite TiVo look and feel. Its different areas of functionality are driven by five tabs at the bottom of the screen: Info, Guide, My Shows, Browse and Manage Tabs:

TiVo’s app does a great job of creating a complimentary screen experience. People like to relax while they’re watching TV and this app’s fun and personal nature plays into that. While laying on the couch and not disturbing anyone else who you’re watching TV with (unless you’re chatty), you can find out more information about the show you’re watching: who are the actors, what other shows have they been in. You can flip through your program guide and record shows. Similar to TiVo’s universal search, you can also search for shows or actors by name. The best part is that it tells you where to obtain the shows: It displays when the show will be on (and you can schedule a recording) or what streaming services it’s available from including Netflix, Amazon or Blockbuster (no Hulu Plus yet). If you select Netflix, it will actually fire up the Netflix app on the TiVo and start playing the show. This gets around some of the limitations of TiVo’s Netflix client. The one missing piece here is that the app does not tell you if a particular program is already recorded on your TiVo.

Browsing “My Shows”, you can perform the same functions you can from the TiVo (click to enlarge)

When browsing for a show, it displays the streaming services its available on

When the app is working with the Premiere, you can fully control your TiVo. You can manage Season Passes, delete shows, browse the to-do list, etc…

The new version does appear to have some kinks in it. For one, when selecting my Series3, you can no longer see guide data. If I connect to my Premiere or as a guest, I can browse the guide.


TiVo’s upgrades to their iPad and now iPhone app are welcome additions. The only key functionality missing from the TiVo is the ability to stream a program to the iPad itself. Perhaps we’ll see more developments on that front when TiVo to TiVo streaming is officially introduced.

Tags: IPad, Premiere, Series3, TiVo

One Response to Hands-On with TiVo’s upgraded IPad App

  1. Craig on July 17, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Thanks for the detailed introduction! I took a cursory look at the update but got impatient.

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