TiVo Adds Search HME

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TiVo has released a new search feature run from an HME app called Universal Swivel Search.

Called what? Well, ok this is TiVo, and they are not the brightest bunch.

USS is a necessary addition to program search features to keep TiVo competitive. It could be a platform for the future of TiVo searching if the application is extended properly.

What does it do that Wishlist and title search didn’t do. Well, first, it ONLY searches for title keywords (incl. wildcards, ie. ‘wo’ = woman = worst …) So far you’ve gotten nowhere. But then the process expands into links based on various criteria like Actor, Director ….  So if you know the title of a program, and it is showing on a channel you receive in the next 13 days or a download is available, then you can get somewhere. USS also contains data not just from TV channel schedules, but UnBox and TiVoCast, unlike the old search functions that only have the TV channels.

From a show you locate you can then search other criteria, but every search is individual and only produces other shows. Forget about searching movies Alan Alda has been in with Carole Burnett, because its going to give you everything AA has been in – TV and all. Oh, well, could have used the Wishlist thing to filter on AA movies. Basically USS reminds me of a HyperCard app. As I recall, you put in a bunch of data into each card with links to the other cards. Thus you could find all cards with Valerie Harper on them, but not isolate cards where Marlon Brando acted with Roger Corman as director.

To illustrate the limitations of using USS, suppose you want to search for Marlon Brando. First you have to think of the name of a movie he was in and hope it comes up, otherwise think of another title… Once you find a title, its easy to go into it and choose MB under Actors. Then you get everything MB was in (haven’t figured out if titles he directed but didn’t act in would come up,) but you can’t narrow any further. However, you can easily go into each title and back out to the MB screen to hunt and peck for what you want.

USS also isn’t fully integrated into the TiVo DVR interface yet. While it is accessible from a program in the Now Playing List, you can’t get at it from a Program Record screen. Thus, you can’t leverage off things you might find with a Wishlist, an important shortcoming.

USS is good for a first release, but needs much more development to keep TiVo in the running.

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2 Responses to “TiVo Adds Search HME”

  1. HDTiVo Says:

    Ron Howard as Actor does not bring up Ron Howard as Director. I’ll never find Marlon Brando as director.

  2. HDTiVo Says:

    The search results are not complete, for example, I searched for window to find Secret Window to no avail, yet ‘sec’ found it and ‘House of Secrets’ among others.

    I didn’t mention the Tags, which are a way of putting categories on certain shows. There is no way to find a list of them, and when you do find one, they are of little use. Try Teacher and Terrorist.

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