Detailed in the Wall Street Journal today, TiVo has created a small, set-top bridge between a TiVo Premiere and an Apple device. Called the TiVo Stream, the small device plugs into the back of a TiVo Premiere box and allows the user to stream recorded television shows and movies from the DVR to an Apple iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch on the same home network. On the Apple device, the user has to make sure iOS has been upgraded to at least version 5.1 in addition to downloading the TiVo iOS application from the App Store. Depending on the network, up to four different people in a household can stream high definition content to Apple devices. This is especially helpful when two or more people want to watch shows or movies that have already been recorded on a single TiVo within the home.
Beyond streaming, the TiVo Stream also allows the user to transfer video content to an Apple device to store for future viewings. However, there are restrictions on content specific to networks. Some networks lock shows and don’t allow the user to transfer programming to a mobile device.
In addition, transferring a large video file to an Apple iPad or iPhone can be taxing on the battery life of the device. After transferring an episode of a television show or feature-length movie from an approved network, the user can watch that video content when traveling rather than having to connect to the home network.
In addition, the TiVo Stream allows users to access live television that’s being streamed from the TiVo Premiere box. While dependent on the speed of the network, streaming a show or movie to an Apple device may require a few seconds of buffering before delivering the standard or high definition stream. The user gets access to a personal TiVo channel guide in addition to features like swiping to rewind or fast forward the video stream. The TiVo application developers have also added a 30-second skip button to race past annoying commercials.
Opposite from a Slingbox SlingPlayer, the TiVo Stream won’t allow users to stream DVR content outside of the user’s home network. In addition, Android tablets and smartphones aren’t supported yet when it comes to streaming content or transferring video files from the DVR. It’s likely that TiVo is working on completing an Android version of the software to work with the new TiVo Stream.
When the streaming video device becomes available for purchase during early September, the TiVo Stream will be priced at $130. Unlike the TiVo Premiere box, there’s no additional fee required to activate the set-top box. However, users will need to own a TiVo Premiere box ranging from $149.99 to 399.99 in addition to paying for TiVo service. Service costs $14.99 per month along with an entire commitment for a year. However, new users can also choose to pay $499 for a lifetime fee. Along with distributing the new TiVo Stream set-top box on the TiVo site, interested consumers will also be able to find the device at Best Buy.