Solid Signal’s Hands On Review: DIRECTV’s new TVApps, now in HD!

DIRECTV’s TV Apps have always been a bit of a mixed bag. There were a lot of apps available but not all of them were really high in quality. Their servers were frequently overloaded and that meant performance delays and errors. DIRECTV has just launched its new TVApps and they look and act great. The apps themselves are fully rendered in HD and they work quickly, with new features, too!

The apps platform will launch for all DIRECTV HD receivers, DVRs, and clients (including Genie) with the next software release. Unfortunately, most of the old apps (and the old App store) are gone, leaving only the four most popular apps. We expect more apps to roll out in the coming months.

Getting started

As before, start by pressing the right arrow on your internet-connected DIRECTV receiver. After a delay of 1-2 seconds you will see the main app menu pop up. Moving from app to app now has a slight animation and the both the colors and layout are contemporary and fresh.

Scoreguide

Scoreguide is the most popular interactive app and it has received a massive makeover. The HD screen gives a lot more room for detail and while type has gotten smaller, it’s also gotten clearer. You can browse through multiple sports, just as before, and get the details you need, plus the ability to tune to channels where games are in progress.

New browsing options abound, and with the full HD text, there’s a lot less abbreviation.

If you want to keep tabs on a game without watching it, choose the “minimize” feature, or just press the {DASH} button on your remote. The app will shrink down to one corner and stay live.

You can even choose which corner you want and scroll through games even while the app is minimized.

All the new features of the scoreguide app will also be available by pressing the RED button on your DIRECTV remote, when you are tuned to any full-time sports channel.

Weather

Weather has received a thorough redo as well. The new HD format makes the screen much easier to read. The weather app can also be minimized like the scoreguide app, although if you’re that worried about your local weather, perhaps watching TV isn’t the best idea.

A new feature — add multiple cities to the app and quickly choose between them.

The detail forecasts look a lot better and are a lot more legible, and there’s an easy way to tune directly to The Weather Channel.

Social and What’s Hot

DIRECTV continues its commitment to social media with the new Social TV app. You can watch your Twitter, Facebook or GetGlue feeds scroll by on the TV while keeping your eyes off the smartphone. The app has a new QR-code-based setup which makes it much easier.

If you’re looking for something to watch, get real-time stats for your local area or for the whole nation with What’s Hot.

TV Apps were a big deal several years ago, with many manufacturers building them in. Today, although there are hundreds of devices with hundreds of apps, there are precious few good ones. DIRECTV’s ScoreGuide has always been very capable but has started to look really dated, and this ground-up redo makes it better than ever. We hope DIRECTV considers rolling out additional apps, but they were smart to focus on making these apps the best they could be.

Here’s a simple video showing TVApps in action.