Cord-cutting and DVRs might not seem like they belong in the same sentence, but the TiVo Roamio OTA combines the best of both worlds, adding DVR capabilities to broadcast TV along with streaming from most major services. Now the line is getting an upgrade, including one important addition and another important subtraction.
Today TiVo unveiled the Roamio OTA 1TB, adding 500GB storage that allows users to store up to 150 hours of HD content. The new model will cost users $400, but that mammoth price is easier to swallow thanks to the other big announcement: there is no need for an ongoing monthly subscription fee. That initial price covers both the hardware and the service.
“The TiVo Roamio OTA 1TB is in a class of its own,” said Ira Bahr, TiVo’s chief marketing and retail sales officer. “It delivers the unparalleled TiVo DVR experience, as well as an intuitive integration between free over-the-air HD channels and major streaming services. No other device brings everything you watch together into one single, easy-to-use interface.”
Simply plug in an HD antenna, and any local channels in your area are seamlessly integrated into the experience, complete with the SkipMode 30-second commercial skip that helped propel TiVo to stardom. If you’re in a hurry to catch up with a favorite show, QuickMode — introduced last year — allows you to watch a show up to 30 percent faster, and with the audio pitch-corrected so the actors don’t sound like chipmunks.
Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Instant Video are built-in and with the OneSearch feature, both broadcast TV and streaming video can be browsed and searched at the same time. Built-in support for casting allows video from Netflix or YouTube to be streamed from a mobile device to the Roamio OTA 1TB without the need for a separate piece of hardware like a Chromecast.
As we mentioned in our review of the original Roamio, one of its most powerful features is the ability for the box to serve as your hub for all visual media. With four built-in tuners, the Roamio OTA 1TB can stream live, recorded, and OTT content to TiVo Mini devices throughout your home, and recorded shows can also be streamed to Amazon Fire or Apple TV devices.
Whether or not all that will be worth the $400 entrance fee for frugal cord-cutters remains to be seen.
The TiVo Roamio 1TB will be available starting May 2 and can be found at Best Buy stores and online via Best Buy, Amazon, and the TiVo website.