New TiVo Roamio promises something extra for iPhone, iPad owners
When I think about getting a DVR, it's TiVo that gets my attention; I've never been that impressed by the models my cable company offers. And I've daydreamed about having a Slingbox to stream live video from my cable subscription to my iPhone, too, and watching sports without having to pay the NFL or MLB for the privilege. Doing all that would mean putting two more plastic boxes — each of them pretty expensive — on my bookshelf, though, so it's never happened.
But TiVo is promising they can handle all that and more for $200. That gets my attention.
Things have been pretty quiet on the TiVo front for a while now, but the company announced its first new hardware in years today — the Roamio, named for an emphasis on allowing users access to their TV shows from anywhere. And if you, too, aren't thrilled by the DVR options your cable company offers, it might be worth checking out.
A company news release describes the Roamio, priced at $200 for the base model and $400 and $600 for the Plus and Pro, respectively, as "like Roku, Apple TV, Slingbox, Google TV, your cable DVR — rolled into one." (Of course, that price doesn't include the cost of the TiVo subscription, which costs $15 a month or $500 lifetime.)
Roughly translated, they're saying Roamio is meant to help you put what you want to see from your cable subscription or online accounts ("live" TV, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and Amazon) on your television when you're at home — and stream your DVR recordings plus a selection of live cable TV channels to your iPhone or iPad when you're not.
Did you already cut your cable? The Roamio promises antenna connectivity, too, to pull in and record or stream live broadcasts without a cable TV subscription, funneling whatever you want to watch to whichever screens you want to watch it on via just one box.
Not all those features have been rolled out yet, and there are some other arrangements you'd have to make. There's a slot on the back of the Roamio where you'd have to insert a Multistream CableCARD from your cable company if you want to use it with your digital cable (or Verizon FIOS) subscription, for example. And if you have satellite TV, you're out of luck.
But it sounds promising. "Coming very soon," the release says, "out-of-home streaming will allow [TiVo] subscribers to stream TV and recorded shows to your iPad or iPhone. The built-in TiVo Stream feature allows users to connect to their Roamio over Wi-Fi and watch recordings and cable almost ANYWHERE."