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TiVo Roamio DVRs, now with out-of-home streaming

TiVo Roamio DVRs, now with out-of-home streaming

TV addiction can be tough, especially when you’re away from home and missing your favorite shows—but TiVo feels your pain. Among the features in its new family of Roamio DVRs will be the ability to access cable shows and recorded programs on your iPhone or iPad even when you’re traveling. Support for Android devices is expected to begin later this year or early next year.

There are three models, starting with the entry-level Roamio, which costs $200 (plus a $15 per month TiVo subscription). This DVR has a 500GB hard drive, good for about 75 hours of HD recording, and four built-in tuners, so you can record four shows simultaneously. The Roamio Plus ($400) and Roamio Pro ($600) let you record six shows at a time and have 1TB or 3TB hard drives, respectively.

All models have built-in Wi-Fi and access to several streaming services, including Amazon, Hulu Plus, Netflix, and YouTube. The basic Roamio requires a separate TiVo stream adapter ($129) to enable streaming to mobile devices. TiVo works with most major cable services and Verizon FiOS, but you’ll need a cable card to access cable channels.

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The ability to stream shows from a Roamio to an iPhone or iPad requires the free TiVo Stream app, which includes a 30-second commercial skip feature. While previously you could stream content to an iOS device, it was limited to the network inside your home. TiVo says that some, but not all, content will be available to subscribers outside the home when the services start in October or November, and there will be limitations on the number of devices that can be used for streaming. But there are plans for streaming via cellular networks and Wi-Fi. The ability to watch shows donwloaded to an iOS device outside the home is also in the works.

In addition to the out-of-home streaming feature, the new Roamio DVRs are faster and have a new look, plus improved search, guide filters, and Wish List management. The DVRs now support HTML5 video, and the remote controls use RF rather than IR technology, so they don’t require line-of-sight with the DVR. Thus you can place the recorder behind a cabinet door or in an A/V closet.

The Roamio DVRs are now being sold online by Amazon, Best Buy, and TiVo, and they’ll make their way to Best Buy stores in the near future.

—James K. Willcox

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