Saturday, September 5, 2009

Early impressions of the U-Verse iPhone app

After our installation of U-Verse, I grabbed the U-Verse iPhone app which promises the ability to remote-managed your DVR, similar to what is available for the TiVo (albeit for TiVo, via a webapp, not a native app)

I haven't used the app too much yet, but I do have some early first impression, and they are decidedly mixed.

First, the plus side: the app does what it says. You open it, sign n, and you can managed your U-Verse DVR. You can see the shows already recorded (and delete them if you want), as well as see a schedule of what is coming up. You can search for shows, and either recording single episodes, or schedule series recordings (season passes in TiVo-speak). Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be an obvious way to customize series recordings, for example, setting it to only record new episodes and not repeats.

You can also do basic activities like browse the program guide, and set favorite shows to make finding things easy. Settings are available for preferring HD and whether or not to show "mature" shows (I don't think they mean "Golden Girls" either!) The UI was tolerable, no the greatest, not the worst, and it did seem rather slow, even over WiFi to switch tabs and load data.

So if the "good" is that the app basically does what it says it does, the "bad" is that, well, sometimes it doesn't! After a few successful launches, last night I fired up the app, and it simply would not work - just sitting there spinning, never loading program guides or letting us see our shows. This went on over several launches, and finally I gave up, deleted the app, re-installed it, and suddenly, it started working again. A brief perusal of the app's reviews on iTunes shows that I am not the first person to have this problem. I certainly hope it was a fluke, because a bug like this would be a deal-killer for this app.

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