TiVo hinted that Netflix and YouTube apps for the Premiere would get an update this spring, and it just so happens that update is rolling out today. Fire up your Premiere and update to find a Netflix app that looks and feels much like the one on many other integrated platforms, and a new YouTube streaming app with Google's "Leanback" UI to go along with it. Both have search boxes with on-screen keyboards that find results as you type, and the Netflix app now does 1080p with Dolby Digital Plus surround sound for assorted titles. You'll also find that parental controls are now accesible from the HD menus, although the settings themselves still use the older SD interface.
I had a chance to play with the update on a loaner Premiere XL4, and things aren't exactly wonderful. The Netflix app is abysmally slow — it took over a minute to load, and while the updated UI is a welcome change, it's all so laggy there's simply no point in trying to use it. The YouTube app is marginally faster, although still quite slow, and the Leanback experience really isn't "YouTube" as you might know it — it's all built to highlight YouTube's new channel partnerships. That's certainly interesting — it's neat to see channels like the one from our sister site SB Nation on the big screen — but the performance difference between Leanback in a PC browser and on the TiVo is startling.
I thought the Premiere was almost unusably slow when I first reviewed it in March 2010, and things haven't gotten much better; if anything, these new apps are even laggier. TiVo has repeatedly promised that it's working on speed with every update, so there's still hope, but it's going to take more than two sluggish ports of existing experiences to make anyone swap out their cable company DVR for a Premiere.