TiVo Gets Personal with the iPad

TiVo, the DVR pioneer that helps users record their favorite shows, is about to help them find something good to watch on live TV, as well.

TiVo has added a “What to Watch Now” dashboard to its iPad app that combines recommendations with personal preferences to create a handful of customizable, finely-filtered "feeds" to help viewers find that video needle in the haystack without exploring the vastness of the program guide.

The feature assesses user-defined preferences, viewing history and “regional viewing trends” to present a suggested slate of live programs airing within the next 30 minutes that, if it works as advertised, should be of interest to the viewer.  

What to Watch Now calculates those TV show and movie recommendations and assembles them into specific  feeds, including a sports-centric version developed in tandem with sports metadata provider Thuuz that calculates the “excitement factor” for live sporting events based on a scale of zero to 100. Other feeds lock in on recommended movies, what's popular on TV, movies on TV, favorite channels, and viewer-recorded TV.

Future releases will add new feeds, including those based on social networking trends and critic recommendations, said TiVo, which ended its fiscal fourth quarter with 3.1 million total subscribers, with 2.1 million coming way of partnerships with Virgin Media, Suddenlink, ONO and other pay TV operators.

“What you truly love to watch on TV shouldn't be hard to find," said Jim Denney, TiVo’s VP of product marketing, in a statement. "What to Watch Now puts in front of you the choices to watch that you most care about every time you turn on the TV. It helps you effortlessly filter through what can seem like infinite choice by giving you the immediate viewing options that are most important to you.”

TiVo, of course, isn’t along in developing recommendation engines. Comcast is working on a new version of its cloud-based guide, internally called X2, that will add recommendation features. The MSO is expected to show off the new guide at next month’s Cable Show in Washington, D.C.