On Tuesday, TiVo introduced its new Roamio family of DVRs that allow the user to access his or her DVR content no matter where they are. The new lineup consists of the $199.99 basic model, the $399.99 TiVo Roamio Plus and the $599.99 TiVo Roamio Pro.
According to the specs, the Roamio base unit works with a digital cable package, Verizon FiOS and an HD antenna. It has built-in Wireless N and Gigabit Ethernet networking, and requires an adapter for coax/MoCA bridge networking. The unit's 500 GB HDD promises up to 75 hours of HD video and up to 650 hours of SD video, but users can also add an external storage option via an eSATA slot and two USB 2.0 ports. It works with a standalone TiVo Stream device, the standalone TiVo Mini, and is capable of connecting to additional TiVo DVRs. Users can record four shows at the same time.
The more expensive TiVo Roamio Plus builds upon the previous unit but doesn't support an HD antenna for over-the-air broadcasts (neither does the Pro version, for that matter). At one time, TiVo used to provide tuners on all machines, but stopped offering the hardware feature in the previous generation of DVRs after signing software contracts with cable companies. That said, customers looking to cut the cable will want to stick with the baseline Roamio model.
Meanwhile, the Plus model has built-in support for coax/MoCa bridge networking and a 1 TB hard drive promising up to 150 hours of HD video and up to 1200 hours of SD video. The I/O panel is essentially the same as the previous model, but adds built-in TiVo Stream for watching content from anywhere, whether it's sitting on the porcelain throne or in a hotel room halfway around the globe. Users can record six shows at the same time.
Finally, there's the Roamio Pro that also enables the recording of six simultaneous streams. The difference between this model and the Roamio Plus model is the hard drive, which provides 3 TB of storage, promising up to 450 hours of HD video and up to 3500 hours of SD video. However, all three models have video output spanning 480i to 1080p, with 1080p provided in 24 Hz and 60 Hz via an HDMI connection. The DVRs also provide optical audio output, analog audio output, and composite video output as well (component output is not supported).
TiVo said that all three units come packed with an IR/RF remote, but the basic Roamio model does not have a remote finder feature like the two more expensive units. "An improved remote will boast an RF connection, allowing Roamio to be placed behind closed cabinets or in another room altogether -- no line of sight is needed to operate your TiVo," the company said. "Still, the remote retains the capability of learning commands to control all of your other equipment, allowing for the true one-remote solution."
Because the base model does not have built-in TiVo Stream, owners will need to purchase the standalone unit in order to remotely watch live TV (coming soon), transfer/download recorded shows to a mobile device, and watch recordings within the home network on mobile devices -- the Plus and Pro models offer these features out of the box. However, there's an iOS and Android app for browsing and scheduling that applies to all three models.
"Anywhere you have an Internet connection, you have the ability to manage your DVR with your phone or tablet," the company added. "The updated free TiVo mobile app available for tablets and smartphones (iOS and Android) offers remote Season Pass management, a recording scheduler that allows you to add or remove recordings and enhanced WishList management."
The new series sports a new "personalized" interface featuring updated HD screens, fonts and nearly twice the performance. There's also an all new application platform that uses HTML5, thus faster, more frequent additions can be made to the platform itself. It runs the latest version of Netflix and YouTube, and more HTML5 apps are reportedly on the way.
All three can be purchased now online via the company's website, at Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, and Best Buy retail locations in the coming weeks. For more information about the new Roamio line, head here.