I am a DirecTV customer. Last year I dumped cable and went to them. About 12 years ago I used DirecTV too when they first came out to the masses. I first cancelled and went back to traditional cable because I got sick of reception problems during light rain storms, limitation of 1 box to the dish and it was just not flexible as cable. Today that is significantly different and no longer an issue. The only time I have lost reception was during a tornadic thunderstorm, every other time solid as a rock. My dish is a monster that can support up to 12 boxes I think. The reason why I am falling more and more in love with DirecTV as a service is how they are allowing user interactions and controls with their software and Internet connectivity.
Myself and Mrs. Binary have used the iPhone app since we got the service. The iPhone app allows you to browse the Guide and set shows to record remotely. This has come in handy when you are at work or a friends house and they are talking about a great show or movie that you haven’t seen. Usually there are adult beverages involved and when you leave you forget all about it. With the iPhone app I can pull up the show and set the DVR and it will be there. It has been a nice, niche toy. Yesterday I downloaded the new iPad app and DirecTV took control to the next level.
The iPad app is an extension of all of your receivers in one location. You can still do the remote DVR recordings but when you are on the same WiFi network as your receivers you have total control. In the screenshot below you can see the settings that you can change for the application behavior and for each receiver. Every option you have that is on the receivers menus itself you can now control centrally with the app.
The Guide is probably more sleek and easy to use than the onscreen guide as the iPad app is more responsive, fast and for easier to search than with the remote control and clunky menus. Where DirecTV goes from a cool reference app to a fantastic interactive control app is that you can tune and fully control all your receivers like a remote control right from within the app.
The interface for the Remote control is in the format you are already familiar with because it looks like the physical remote control. When you are browsing around the guide you can actually tune to that channel, pause the TV, rewind, record, even navigate the receiver menus on the TV from the app. You do not need the remote control if you don’t want to use it. The iPad app has it all and it uses the communications through your WiFi to do it.
What would an iPad app be without the social integration. You can hook your Facebook and Twitter accounts into the app and share what you are watching, similar to Miso, but without the badges and Foursquare like fun factor to it. At least not yet. The other part that I really took a liking to is when you are looking through the guide, it will give you recommendations of other shows you might like.
It’s the little things like this that adds to the value of DirecTV above and beyond cable. I am still paying less for DirecTV than I would for the same service with a standard cable service. The cable companies have some internet enabled functionality, but nothing like this.
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Binary Blogger has spent 20 years in the Information Security space currently providing security solutions and evangelism to clients. From early web application programming, system administration, senior management to enterprise consulting I provide practical security analysis and solutions to help companies and individuals figure out HOW to be secure every day.