It was a different time. A time before sizable data plans, a time before streaming on your phone, a time before Vines. It was a simpler time, in so many ways. It was a time when Apple’s iPhone, then only two years old, still hadn’t conquered the smartphone universe, turning every competitor into a virtual clone of itself. Think about it. It was a time when you could own a flip phone and not be completely embarrassed.
It was a time when you could be impressed by the fact that you could do something — anything — using your phone and have it affect something in your house. We were all so naive back then.
DIRECTV’s scheduler app
DIRECTV had a mobile version of its web site as early as 2007, but it was deliberately light on functions and stripped down in its graphic content. Unfortunately there isn’t even an archive of how simple their page looked at the time. The closest I could come was this video:
Produced in 2008, it starts to show the mobile scheduler at about 55 seconds in. Yes kids, this is what we used to think was incredibly advanced.
The iPhone app
Keeping in mind that we were a good five years away from being able to stream DIRECTV content, what we wanted was a quick and easy way to set up a recording to our home DVRs, no matter where we were.
Way back in 2009, that meant an iPhone app, and it looked like this:
Let me tell you something, I totally geeked out about this at that time and I didn’t even own an iPhone yet. I was working for another tech site back then and I’m pleased (and a little embarrassed design-wise) to show you the review I participated in. You can find it here in all it’s reflective and needlessly shiny glory. Hey folks, that’s what good design looked like back then.
The iPhone app was really nothing but a glorified version of the web-based scheduler, but because the graphic content was generated by the phone, it could look a lot better. And it did, in a very mid-2000s way. You could tap and swipe and scroll and it all worked.
It was the best app of its time, and then for some inexplicable reason DIRECTV decided not to do an Android version (yet) and instead focused on the Palm Pre – here’s the Wikipedia article on the Pre since I know you’ve never heard of it. They came around eventually, though, with a top-notch Android app and as far as I know they no longer support Palm products.
It wasn’t until about 2012 that the “DIRECTV Everywhere” initiative started. Here’s my initial review. Using an iPad and the DIRECTV app, it became possible to stream a small selection of content in blurry standard definition. Hey folks, this was nine years ago. That was pretty cool back then.
Of course now we think nothing of streaming our content no matter where we are. We also think nothing of setting DVR recordings whenever we think of them, wherever we are. And, we know that if we miss something, chances are we could stream it somewhere if we needed to. When you think about it, this interactive functionality all started just about 15 years ago, not such a long time. It makes you wonder what we’ll all be doing in 2036.