DVR Remote – Review and Give Away

On January 25, 2009

We recently came into the 21st century and got our first high-definition TV. My oh my, once you go HD there’s no going back. The high-definition TV required us to also update our TiVo box — there’s no point in having a HDTV if it’s coming through a standard definition TiVo box. So we went out, picked up a refurbished TiVo HD and hooked it up. It’s nothing short of fantastic!

TiVo HD opens up another wonderful range of possibilities. Not only does it incorporate Netflix streaming media (we recently reviewed all of the iPhone apps for scheduling Netflix from your iPhone) but it also incorporates Amazon’s movie and television download service. It’s amazing to see how in-home media has changed in the last year alone.

But there’s another trick that the TiVo HD box can do when it’s connected to a wireless network — it allows you to throw away the TiVo remote. That’s where this application comes in.

You might be wondering — why go to the trouble of having to pull up this application on your iPhone or iPod Touch every time you want to use your TiVo device rather than using the remote? The answer, at least for me, is simple. I always have my iPhone with me while it’s not uncommon for me to have to hunt around for the TiVo remote. By having this application on my home screen I don’t have to worry about where I last left the TiVo remote.

Setting up DVR Remote was simple. There were a few minor complexities but that was on the TiVo side not on the application side. In TiVo using the application requires knowing your personal media key and enabling "network remote". (Both settings can be found  it by going to TiVo Central and then "settings".)

Once that was done my TiVo box immediately showed up under the device list. Tapping the name of the DVR brought up what is nothing short of a beautiful and easy use remote control interface. It’s well designed, and simple to use. It offers every bit the control that the TiVo remote itself offers. In fact, it offers even more. (More on that in a second.) The only exception I have found is volume control.

The controller lets you do everything you can do from the regular remote. The only thing missing on the main screen that is found on the physical TiVo remote, is the actual number pad. To access that you simply swipe your finger up briefly which pulls up the number pad. That alone makes the application worthwhile and a simple replacement for the TiVo remote.

But the application isn’t done. The biggest problem with the TiVo remote is that putting in a network name or password is an absolute pain. It requires using the TiVo remote can navigate through the entire alphabet one letter at a time. It’s a slow, relatively painful process if you use a long password. With DVR Remote that’s a thing of the past. Simply tap the icon in the upper left portion of the screen and the application brings up a full QWERTY keyboard for simple, painless text entry. Fantastic!

Finally, the application also allows you to see what programs  are currently available on your TiVo box without having to go to TiVo Central

This is one of those rare applications that does exactly what it says, does it exceptionally well and even looks great while doing  it.

Quick Take

Value:  Exceptionally high

Would I Buy Again: Without a second thought
Learning Curve: Once it is set up simple to use
Who Is It For: Anyone with a TiVo HD
What I Like: makes the TiVo remote completely obsolete and actually has more functionality and the TiVo remote
What I Don’t:  Nothing. Absolutely nothing. (please note — this is the first time I’ve actually written that in review.)
Final Statement:  For me, this application is a home run! This application has a permanent place on my first home screen on both my iPhone and iPod Touch. Does anyone want the TiVo remote that’s been used for about 35 seconds? There’s no way I’m ever going to use it again thanks to this application.

The app is available HERE in the App Store.

For more info visit the developer’s website HERE.

Give away– We have five copies of the application available. To enter to win one simply tell us why you love TiVo. (Please note, in order for the application to be useful you must have a TiVo HD. It doesn’t work with the series 2 boxes.)