TiVo has unveiled a new family of DVRs dubbed “Roamio,” which add more tuners, more storage, a new interface, and the ability to stream both TV and web content to devices inside and, soon, outside of your home.
The Roamio line is available starting today, and it includes three models. First up is the standard Roamio, which has four tuners, meaning it can record up to four shows at once. It has a 500 GB hard drive that TiVo says can hold up to 75 hours of HD video altogether. It costs $200 with a TiVo subscription.
Next in line is the Roamio Plus, which can record up to six shows at once, and is said to hold up to 150 hours of HD content with its 1 TB hard drive. That one costs $400 with a subscription.
For those who want to go all in, there’s the Roamio Pro. That costs a whopping $600 with a subscription, but has an equally whopping 3 TB hard drive, which is said to hold up to 450 hours of HD content. It has six tuners as well.
All three of the Roamio DVRs come with a redesigned interface that TiVo claims is personalized to show your most watched channels and programs. They all sport integration with the TiVo mobile app, which lets you schedule and manage your DVR from iOS and Android devices. And they all come with built-in WiFi, although only the Plus and Pro come with built-in MoCA support.
The Roamio DVRs also come with a range of multimedia apps built-in, including “the latest versions” of Netflix and YouTube, Hulu Plus, MLB.tv, and Amazon Instant Video. In general, TiVo is pitching the Roamios as being like a standard cable DVR, a Slingbox, and a streaming box like the Roku blended together, and indeed it offers an integrated search feature that returns search results from streaming services and your DVR at once.
The biggest draw with the Roamio boxes, however, is its ability to stream live and recorded content to iPhones and iPads. Both the Roamio Plus and Pro have integrated TiVo Stream functionality (regular Roamio users will need to buy the $130 standalone TiVo Stream device separately), which currently lets users stream their programs to iOS devices so long as they’re on the same network.
In the near future, though, TiVo is going to be pushing an update that takes that streaming functionality and extends it for use outside of the home. It’ll come to the TiVo Stream first, then the Roamios sometime this fall, but it will allow iPhone and iPad users to watch their live shows and recorded content on their devices so long as they have any WiFi connection.
It’ll let them download TiVo recordings to their devices too, letting them watch programs on the go without a connection. TiVo says that an Android version of the TiVo Stream functionality should arrive by the end of this year or early next year. No word has been given for Windows Phone or BlackBerry users as of yet.
This out-of-home streaming capability isn’t a first, but it does mark a major step for TiVo as it tries to reclaim the level of success it once enjoyed. DVRs and multi-functional devices like the Dish Hopper and Slingbox have proven popular since the original TiVo was introduced, and streaming media devices like the Roku, Apple TV and Chromecast have only grown as well. And that\’s not to mention the fact that most cable companies include DVR functionality in their standard cable boxes.
The Roamio boxes bring the first major launch for TiVo since it introduced the Premiere line three years ago, and instead of trying to compete against one particular type of product, it’s trying to meld a variety of devices into one ultimate (and expensive) solution. Whether or not it does so smoothly remains to be seen. The Roamio devices can be bought today from Amazon, Best Buy and TiVo itself.