As we’ve written before, a big problem facing the newteevee world is finding what you want to watch. As millions of video choices become available, the up-down-left-right grid view on-screen guide just won’t cut it. Search will be key to navigating viewing option, and today Cablevision rolled out a new enhancement for its subscribers to do just that.
The cable company’s new iO Search lets its TV viewers type in search terms based on a show’s title, genre, performers, network or other attributes using an on-screen virtual keyboard. iO Search then brings back results from both the linear and VOD options. From there a user can either launch the program if its available on demand, or set the DVR to record it.
iO Search isn’t necessarily revolutionary, but it inches viewers closer to what an electronic programming guide will need to offer and at the same time shows the limitations of current technology offerings — virtual keyboards are clunky and lame.
From the screenshots provided, it looks like Cablevision is offering a keypad based on a phone keyboard, which is smart given how people are already familiar with triple-tap key entry from using their phones. And this could be indication of where Cablevision is headed — tying your mobile phone to your set-top box to use it as a remote control. While smart phones like the iPhone and the Droid are increasingly popular, dumb phones with their standard keypads will still dominate for a while longer.