Review: The TiVo Slide QWERTY Remote

The TiVo Slide isn’t a secret and on the surface, it’s really not all that innovative. It’s just the classic TiVo peanut remote shrunk down a bit with a sliding QWERTY keyboard added. But how is it in practice? Pretty much the best thing on Earth.

We can pretty much all agree that a proper QWERTY remote is long overdue. It’s a chore using on-screen keyboards. Personally, more times than not, I’ve avoided the search functions all together because it’s takes five minutes to type in something like “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.” But it’s just not searches anymore. Most set-top boxes besides the very basic cable provider’s units offer so many more features, but on-screen keyboards often hinder and almost nullify their use.

That’s where the TiVo Slide comes in. It gives TiVo owners a fantastic alternative to on-screen keyboards with a bonafide QWERTY experience. Wherever in the TiVo system you want to type, it simply works as you would expect: Netflix, YouTube, Search, Blockbuster, and setting up network connections. It’s wonderful and suddenly all these extra functions are actually useful.

The TiVo Slide is as nice as you’d expect from TiVo. It’s about 2/3 the size as the standard remotes and feels just as solid if not slightly more. It’s a fine kit.

People criticize TiVo for a few things these days — high price, slow to update, and so on — but I’ve never heard anyone complain about the TiVo experience. In many ways, TiVo is like Apple in the “it just works” department and the Slide isn’t anything different. There’s zero lag with text input and the Bluetooth range is about 20-30 feet. There’s really nothing to install, either, besides plugging-in the Bluetooth adapter. Sneaky TiVo already pushed the necessary software to all the boxes so the Slide is good to go right away.

The Slide is clearly a fundamental shift for not only TiVo but really the whole set-top box industry. The TiVo ecosystem is such that the company could release this remote for multiple platforms at once. It works with the new Premier boxes, the HD/HD XL line, and the Series 3. Seeing though as it’s basically just a dual-device remote (TiVo & TV), it’s a bit pricey at $90, but the added functionality makes quite a case for the price.

The Slide is a wonderful evolutionary step in remotes, but it still lacks a lot of the options found on a modern remote: computer setup macros, rechargeable batteries, RF signals, and IR blasters. Hopefully now that TiVo added the capability to their devices, companies like Harmony and URC can out their own universal versions, too. TiVo isn’t the only A/V device that’s QWERTY-friendly after all. Vizio has a line of HDTVs with a similar slider remote and the Boxee box will ship with a QWERTY remote later this year. There’s even Windows Media Center that could use a more mainstream remote as well.

It’s only a matter of time before other providers and set-top box makers follow TiVo’s lead for the zillionith time and build their own version. Just think of all the functions a QWERTY remote can bring to your TV. Finally all those silly apps like Twitter, Facebook, and games make sense. So next year about this time when you’re using a cheap (and less expensive) Comcast or DirecTV knockoff, don’t forget who started the revolution.

The Slide is available starting today on and should hit your local Best Buy store this weekend. $90.