Tuesday, August 20, 2013, 1:58 PM ET|Posted by Will Richmond
TiVo has introduced its new line of DVRs dubbed "Roamio," and among other new features, the highlight is out-of-home streaming (note the caveats below). Out-home-streaming means that users with a Roamio DVR will be able to access their stored content on iOS devices (and Android at some point too), effectively unlocking content from the DVR itself.
Out-of-home streaming extends in-home streaming and downloading that have been available via the TiVo Stream device. I've been using Stream since last year and is one of my favorite devices, enabling me to download content before making a trip and then watch when not connected, a great benefit. The 2 higher-end Roamios (Plus and Pro) have TiVo Stream built in, while the base model does not.
Much as I've enjoyed the downloading benefit of TiVo Stream, the limitation has been that if I have either forgotten to download a program, or recorded that program AFTER I've left for the trip, I'm unable to watch when I want on the road (for example, I'm away right now and can't watch the 2nd episode of the final season of "Breaking Bad" that I recorded - argh!).
The caveats here are that out-of-home streaming won't be available until this Fall, and initially only for the Plus and Pro models. TiVo also included the following fine print: "Streaming is restricted to a limited number of devices owned by the TiVo subscriber. Due to content provider restrictions, not all content can be streamed out of home and some content may only be streamed while a mobile device is on the same local network as the subscriber’s DVR." So it's not clear which networks and programs will be effected.
Still, out-of-home streaming is a great advance for the company. As always, the downside is none of this comes cheap. The base Roamio is $200, Plus is $400 and Pro is $600. Then there's the pesky TiVo monthly fee of $15, or the lifetime option for $499. TiVo has never been the cheapest service around, but for TV lovers, the value prop keeps getting stronger.