Your TV Tech Fix: TiVo’s Remote Grows a Keyboard, Changes Name to Slide

When TiVo first unveiled their latest and greatest DVR, dubbed “Premiere,” they also showed off a slick looking remote control with a slide out keyboard. At the time, it looked like one of the slickest things they’d made in years in years (even if they weren’t the first), and consumers and critics waited with baited breath for TiVo’s new DVR and slider remote combo.

When it came, users discovered that TiVo’s latest and greatest DVR comes with classic TiVo remote, sans keyboard, slider, and general coolness. However, TiVo promised it would someday be available as a separate accessory.  Yet five months later, the QWERTY slider seemed to be but a distant memory of a great product that would never come.

Thankfully, “never” ended at the end of August. TiVo’s Slide remote  is finally here, and after going hands on with it for a while, I’m in agreement with just about every other professional and armchair critic out there… this is what should have come in the box.

The TiVo Premiere really started to make search front and center as part of discovering content, and the more and more web-focused they get, the more and more you need to type stuff into a box. That’s the direction TiVo is going, which has been clear since we all first set eyes on the Premiere’s revamped UI. I’ll be the first to admit typing stuff out with the standard peanut remote isn’t the most horrible thing I’ve had to endure, and is still better than the crappy cable company boxes, but it’s hardly a fun experience. Using the Slide remote for five minutes with a TiVo Premiere almost felt like it was a whole new product; I never want to go back. This is much better.

The Slide is slightly smaller than the regular TiVo remote control. As a person not sporting massive hands, I find it to be an improvement. The keys feel good too, giving just enough travel to make presses feel great. Sliding the face up reveals a full QWERTY keyboard, along with a D-Pad on the left side and a number pad on the right. You won’t use tje d-pade often, since you’ll usually close it up after you’re finished typing something. It seems like it would be a chore, but the motion is very natural, particularly if you’ve had a smartphone with a sliding keyboard.

The remote uses Bluetooth wireless to communicate with the Premiere, and ships with the necessary dongle since the Premiere doesn’t have one integrated. I found the process simple and didn’t have any problems with spotty reception like some others I’ve talked to, but like any Bluetooth device things like wireless networks and distance are big factors.

The TiVo Slide will also pair with PCs that have Bluetooth capabilities. So even if TiVo isn’t your bag, with a little extra software and setup time, you can use it as a Media Center remote. Assuming, of course, you don’t want to hold out until a cheaper knockoff becomes available.

If you have a compatible  TiVo the Slide is an excellent required accessory… if you can get over the fact the Premiere should ship with one in the box and that it’s crazy expensive. With a price tag at $90, I personally think it should be laced in gold and give Shiatsu massages, but I’ll settle with making text entry on TiVo bearable.

Satisfy your inner geek while fueling your TV addiction… TV Tech Fix is a column by Matt Whitlock, editor of the Consumer Electronics Community (plus several other gadget-focused community websites), and lover of both technology and TV. In this column, he’ll cover a wide variety of tech topics aimed squarely at the TV addicts of the world – from tips and tricks to help you better your TV experience, to gear recommendations, to the impact technology is having on the TV shows we love.

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