Thursday, January 18, 2018
Business

TiVo's Roamio offers features for TV lovers

With its fifth-generation device, Roamio, TiVo adds more features that TV lovers want.

Roamio still lets viewers record and play back shows, as well as pause and rewind live TV. And it lets viewers find programs through on-demand services like Hulu and Netflix.

But Roamio was updated to include up to six tuners, and more storage space, up to 3 terabytes. Other improvements include faster processors that make the user interface run smoother, which makes searches and content management much easier. Even the remote control was upgraded with radio frequency, so it no longer needs direct line of sight to work.

The best enhancement was the incorporation of Wi-Fi streaming, which allows the viewing of live or recorded content on any iOS device on the same wireless network (Android compatibility is coming next year). This allows users to, for instance, view one program on the TV in the living room and another one on an iPad in the bedroom. An out-of-network feature, for which Roamio is named, allows for streaming to devices anywhere, as long as there is a good Wi-Fi connection. Using this feature, I was able to watch Sunday night's episode of The Simpsons at work on Monday.

The $600 Roamio Pro can store 450 hours of high-definition content, while the Roamio Plus stores 150 hours of the same for $400. The base model offers 75 hours of high-definition storage for $200, but has only four tuners and lacks built-in wireless streaming. And the cost does not include TiVo's service for television listings and other features, which runs $15 a month or $500 for a lifetime.

Roamio makes the search for programming simpler. For instance, after browsing TiVo's extensive library of listings to find a specific episode of Seinfeld, I had the option of watching it immediately on Amazon Prime or telling Roamio to record it the next time it showed up on cable.

Competitors may provide cheaper DVR options, but Roamio bests them with superior features.

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