TiVo is now pushing out their fall software update to the Premiere line of DVRs. The update started rolling out to customers about a week ago. While my TiVo Premiere downloaded the updated software on Monday, the flickering lights from Hurricane Sandy kept me from manually rebooting the Premiere to force the installation. Yes, I do have my Premiere on a UPS, but I don’t think I have enough run time to make it through the installation. The UPS did its job and kept my TiVo running through all of the power dips and brief outages during the storm.
For the full run down of all of the new features in the fall update, TiVo has a complete listing on their blog. It’s good that TiVo has started to share this level of detail with software releases. To summarize, besides a number of minor changes, most of the remaining classic UI screens are now availalble in the Premiere’s HD interface (the old SD versions are still available if you prefer it). The season pass manager, to-do list and history screens have all been updated. All three screens make good use of screen real estate. In particular, each of the aforementioned screens discard the discovery bar, opening up more space for data. Functionality-wise the new screens are noticeably improved over their classic UI predecessors. The To-Do and History screens do a good job of indicating which programs will not or did not record. The Season Pass Manager takes advantage of the HD display to list many more titles on the screen. As you scroll through your season passes, the selected item shows a summary of the season pass on the right hand side of the screen.
Also, I did notice one UI tweak not mentioned in TiVo’s release notes. The Premiere now has a new icon it displays for my Series3 unit (picture below). There’s also a new HD screen when you’re browsing another Premiere DVR.
All in all, a good update for the TiVo Premiere. After using it for most of the week, the performance seems solid as well. I now consider the HD user interface complete. Yes, some of the set up screens and the system information screen haven’t been converted but those aren’t screens most folks spend any significant time in (I do admit that the System Information screen fascinates me to no end). The only thing that was a surprise was DLNA support was not added in this release. It could still appear before the end of the year as stated in the Access announcement. Folks have speculated that the technology from Access is needed to support the new TiVo Mini.
We should also see a Stream update coming our way soon. Rumor has it that we’ll see some tweaks to how the Stream handles live TV (right now it has to create a recording that you have to clean up later). Another fix is supposed to prevent the fan from continually running on the Stream unit.
Finally, I’m sorry to say we probably won’t see the TiVo Mini or IP Set Top Box this year. The Mini is designed to function as a TiVo extender. Word is that TiVo is taking more time to get it right and we’ll see it in early 2013.