What’s the opposite of “Wow?” We’re not sure, but whatever it is, it basically sums up our reaction to tonight’s much-hyped TiVo announcement in New York. Even the involvement of 30 Rock‘s Jack McBrayer (in an incredibly hokey part that seems like it fell quite flat) couldn’t save the event from an overwhelming feeling of disappointment.
Let’s cut to the chase: As we pretty much already knew, TiVo unveiled two new DVRs, the TiVo Premiere and Premiere XL (the XL has a bigger hard drive and THX certification). What’s new with these guys? Not a whole lot- they lose the phone jack found on previous models, and a faster processor allows them to run a swanky, flash-based HD interface that’s slicker than what the current Series 3 models sport. Yes, it has lots of long-missing features like a capacity meter and an IMDB-like search function that lets you look for actors and actresses across TV shows, movies, Netflix and Amazon Video on Demand. That’s about it though.
Really. No new place-shifting capabilities, no SDV support, not even built in wireless. (There is a new wireless-N dongle they’re hawking for $90, though!) Aside from the new search functions and a vague promise of Pandora integration at some point, it doesn’t do a whole lot that current Series 3 models don’t. Even worse, the new interface, which was beta tested on Series 3 models over a year ago won’t be available for older units.
The only thing remotely interesting announced at the event turned out to be TiVo’s optional new remote with a slide-out qwerty keyboard, not surprisingly though, there’s a catch, which is that using the keyboard requires a dongle. Seriously. They couldn’t even build in a bluetooth receiver.
This whole thing is such an all-around fail that we’re not even going to grade our predictions from yesterday. TiVo may have invented the DVR, but they’re clearly struggling these days, and unfortunately show no signs of recovering.