Last week I received a call from Time Warner letting me know to expect their new on screen navigator guide on my cable box (Cisco 8742 HDC) this week. Today I turned on my box and discovered that the update was pushed out over night.
A reader first brought the new navigator guide to my attention a couple of months ago in the comments of another post. Apparently the new guide has been slowly being deployed throughout Time Warner’s regional divisions.
I was excited to hear that Time Warner was actually working on an updated guide. If you’re a TWC customer you know that updates usually don’t happen very often! The video floating around on the web made the new guide seem pretty appealing too.
Unfortunately after about 30 seconds of using the new guide I became very disappointed. While the new guide may look great with it’s new darker theme there really haven’t been any notable features or improvements made to the guide.
The New Visual Look
Overall I think the new color scheme looks good. The old blue color scheme was never very appealing to me and always seemed to bright. All of the colors have been toned down to mostly black / gray colors.
I was shocked to see that the program guide is still displayed in a cramped 4:3 ratio. Wide screen TVs have been main stream for years at this point, how hard would it really be to implement a wide screen guide?
Maybe they decided to use black as the background color so it would blend in with the black bars on the side of your screen when you have the guide open.
Time Warner’s newest competitor in the metro area , Google Fiber, has a very polished guide that fills the entire available space on a wide screen TV. For now it looks like Time Warner customers will have to live wasted space on the screen.
The announcement I received mentioned new search and navigation features in the new guide. Maybe I’m missing something but I’m only seeing very minor changes to the search system. It still takes forever to search for a show by title since you have to move the cursor to each character one at a time.
The category search function seems to have a few new options but in the past I’ve never used categories very much and I don’t see that changing in the future.
Usually I know the name of the show I’m looking for, or at the very least the channel it’s on. Instead of categories like HD, and Themes why not allow users to search by actor, or director?
If you’re able to access the diagnostics screen on your cable box you can check to see which version of the guide software is loaded on your box. On my Cisco 8742 the diag page can be loaded by holding the select button for 10 seconds, then pressing the up arrow. As you can see below my box is running ODN (OCAP Digital Navigator) 188.8.131.52.
I hope the new guide had laid the groundwork for future improvements to be implemented. If the features I see today are all that’s in store I’ll be left wondering why TW would treat this minor face lift as such a big announcement.
Have you seen the new guide? If so what are your thoughts?