Roaming With TiVo

TiVo, the savvy couch potato’s alternative to a cable company DVR, just rolled out its 5th-gen Roamio platform. Roamio comes in 3 flavors: Core ($200), Plus ($400), and Pro ($600). The difference between the three comes down to storage (the Pro tops things off at 3 Terabytes) and options (the core Roamio has just cable and off-air tuning, while the Plus/Pro add streaming capability). TiVo service will run you $14.99/month.

The demo I caught of TiVo’s new platform made a compelling case for making the switch from program provider-supplied DVR to a Roamio Plus or Pro. Both boxes stream movies/TV from Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant (and music from Spotify, Pandora, and Rhapsody), and an integrated search function lets you scan for programs across multiple platforms. There’s a recommendation engine that shows currently playing content it thinks you will like, plus Collections, a curated listing of programs grouped into categories like New Fall Shows, Emmy Award Winners, Sundance Award Winners, and IFC Recommends.

Perhaps most compelling is TiVo’s app, which lets you perform all DVR-related functions with your smartphone or tablet and also lets you stream recorded programs straight from the DVR. Right now the streaming feature is iOS-only, but TiVO plans to introduce an Android version sometime in 2014.