06-17MicrosoftMediaroomLogo-sm3B60A823_PageYou may already be aware, but TDS TV runs off the Microsoft Mediaroom software. Like any other software you may have on your computer, upgrades are needed from time to time, some of them with the purpose of making your experience better. Recently we tested some of those upgrades from Microsoft and here are some first-blush impressions of the changes.

SD to HD Notification –
It’s not a problem that I’ve encountered, but some people are watching TV in standard definition even though they’re paying for high definition. A newly added feature lets you know a show is available in HD. So if you change the channel to CBS in SD, an alert will pop up and ask if you’d like to watch the program in HD. You simply hit okay, and you’re transferred to the high def broadcast. Handy.

Personal Media –
All technology seems to be integrating nowadays, and your television set top box isn’t any different. The new software allows you to plug in a USB device and play music or view photos on your television. I have surround sound connected to my TDS TV set top box, so if I plug in a USB drive full of songs that I’ve downloaded I can play them over my surround. That’s nice when I’m struggling to clean the house. It could also be handy to show a family photo slide show on the television during the holidays.

Last Button –
Next up is the always useful “last” button. You used to press the button and it would immediately flip back to the previous channel watched. Now, it pulls up a list of your five most recently watched channels, and you can select which one you want to jump back to. I really like this feature. If you’re flipping between 3 or 4 things on television, you can use the last button to pull the channels, and then arrow up or down the options and use the picture-in-picture to see which ones are back from commercial. It’s really nice when watching multiple sporting events at once.

Guide Transparency –
Another item that other TDS TV users seemed to struggle with was the too-transparent guide interface. It was made somewhat transparent in order to view the programming behind it. But it was so light , some users had problems reading the text while strolling through the guide. This version darkened the screen, making reading much easier.

Info Panel Text –
Finally, there’s one last change that I thought was neat. When you would scroll through the guide looking for things to watch, the detailed text of what the program was about flew by way too fast. If I was trying to read what the Bluth’s were up to this week, I had roughly 3 seconds to get through 4 lines of text. I’m not a speed-reader. Now, you have a full 8 seconds to read through what the episode is about. Much better.

My fellow TDS TV blogger Eric will tell you about some of the new things he likes. It’s nice to know that upgrades are possible, and if you have something that you’d like to see changed, TDS will do its best to work with the software to make everyone’s experience better.


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