Tuesday August 20, 2013 6:58 pm
TiVo Roamio: Up to 6 tuners, 450 hours storage, remote streaming
TiVo has launched a trio of next-generation Series 5 DVRs in the new TiVo Roamio family. What makes Roamio so much better than Premiere? How about more of everything that people love about TiVo? We're talking more tuners, more space to store your recordings, and even a less expensive service fee. The crowning feature, though, is that the TiVo Roamio boxes have both Wi-Fi and the ability to stream to mobile devices built right in--no need to purchase the TiVo Wi-Fi dongle, or the recently-released TiVo Stream.
It's been almost two years since TiVo released the Premiere Elite line of DVRs, and unlike the previous generation, the improvements in the Roamio line are immediately apparent. TiVo even says that Roamio is, on average, 1.7x faster than the previous TiVos, and that's a welcome change because browsing through the menus was a time-consuming experience at times. We go through all three Roamio DVRs after the break, but if you've been waiting for them and just want to buy now, here are the links:
As you can see, at the top end you've got the $599 TiVo Roamio Pro, sporting 6 tuners (which means you can record up to six shows at a time, while watching a seventh previously-recorded show) and 450 hours of HD recording capacity on its 3TB internal hard drive. As we've mentioned, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi is already built-in, so you can have Roamio jump on your home network right away without having to futz with dongles or stringing Ethernet to it (although, we would have loved to have seen 802.11ac make an appearance, we'll take what we can get.) If you don't need all of that recording capacity, you can bump down to the Roamio Plus, which sports all the same specs, except it has a 1TB hard drive instead of the 3TB, allowing it to record about 150 hours of HD content for $399. Finally, there's the regular Roamio for $199. It can record up to four shows at once, with 75 hours of HD recording capacity. Interestingly, this is also the only TiVo in the Roamio family that supports ATSC OTA recording as well.
For the first time, TiVo is supporting remote out-of-home streaming and downloading. The feature will be enabled in the fall, and will allow owners of the Roamio Plus and Roamio Pro to watch their content on their mobile devices (currently iOS only, but Android is coming soon) when they are away from home, provided they are on Wi-Fi, similar to what you can currently do with a Slingbox. We're very excited about this feature in particular. We reached out to TiVo's Margret Schmidt, and she confirmed that adding a Roamio Plus or Pro to your home network will also allow you to stream from older TiVo Premiere boxes to your mobile devices.
Those are the main features, but other niceties include a much improved Netflix app, and DIAL support for both Netflix and YouTube, allowing you to find content on your mobile app and beam it to the TiVo to be played on the television. The new TiVo remote is RF-based, so a direct line of sight is not required, and when the remote is lost, you can press a button on the TiVo itself that will make the remote play a little jingle.
So, there you have it. TiVos much-improved DVR line-up. We should be getting a Roamio Pro in later this week for review, and we'll report back with our thoughts. For now, if you're interested, here are the links one more time:
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