DIRECTV: What’s the difference between a regular search and a “keyword” search?

If you’ve used DIRECTV’s “Smart Search” you’ve probably noticed that once you put in enough letters you are presented with the choice of a “keyword” search. You might have also noticed that you can press the red button to get a keyword search.

This of course led you to scratch your head, I’m sure, and ask what a keyword search was, and why it’s so special that it has to appear on the screen all the time.

DIRECTV’s search wasn’t always as smart as it was, and while the smartness of the search has made a keyword search a little less important, it’s still a critical part of finding what you’re looking for. A regular search just looks at the title of the show. See how the search above didn’t find any shows? I was searching for Downton Abbey. The problem is that the show is actually called Masterpiece Classic because it’s an ongoing PBS anthology show that includes several programs, not just Downton. That’s where a keyword search comes in.

A keyword search looks not only at the name of the show but also the title of the episode, the description, the category… everything about the show. If I pushed that red button for a keyword search (or selected the keyword search as my choice) it would have found Downton Abbey faster than Thomas Barrow can light a cigarette.

Why not use keyword searches all the time? They’re slower than regular searches. Regular searches update in near real time… as you type the searches show up just as they would in Google or another search engine. A keyword search takes more time to execute. There’s a time for a keyword search and a time for a regular search, so you have the option of both.