Starting today TiVo is releasing its spring software update. The key enhancements in the update include parental controls for HD menus, a new “lean-back” YouTube player and a greatly improved Netflix player. In a separate post, I’ve done a thorough review of the new Netflix player. There were also updates to the Amazon Instant Video app. The spring update is for all of the models in the Premiere product line. It will take a few weeks before the software is pushed out to all TiVo Premiere boxes.
Parental controls have been absent from TiVo’s HD menus since the Premiere was first released. The new controls are fairly comprehensive. One way to control content is with ratings levels for both TV shows and movies. Controls can also be set by the type of content. For example, Mad Men is almost always flagged L and S (Language and Sexual Content). There’s also the ability to block particular channels. Finally, there’s also a handy option to temporarily disable all of the controls. That’s nice when you don’t want to keep entering the four-digit pin code.
The YouTube client was also refreshed. Built by Google, the new client will allow you to sign in with your YouTube account. You can now “like” (or dislike) videos and flag them. There’s also the ability to pair the app with the YouTube app on Android smart phones or tablets. I was able to get videos to stream at both 720P and 1080i. In theory, for videos to stream at 1080P, they have to be encoded at 24 frames per second. While I was able to login with my YouTube account, I was not able to see my subscribed channels. However, I could subscribe to new ones. I haven’t spent a lot of time using the app yet so I will report back on any interesting things I find.
The spring TiVo update also includes fixes to Amazon Instant Video. Previously, Amazon content downloaded to the TiVo Premiere would sometimes suffer from excessive pixelization. That problem has now been fixed. Remember, the TiVo provides the best video quality of any Amazon Instant Video device: video at 1080P resolution and 24 frames per second. There’s no new information on when Amazon Prime Instant Video streaming will be made available on the TiVo.
Enjoy the update!