TiVo announced the release of its TiVo Roamio OTA DVR, is a $49.99 device that will give customers who don’t have cable or satellite service.
TiVo’s new product isn’t based on radical new technology. TiVo Roamio is light and small at 14.3 inches wide by 7.4 inches deep by 1.9 inches tall and weighing just 3.7 pounds.
It’s a near-twin of the most basic model of the TiVo Roamio, with the ability to record four shows at once and enough hard-disk space for 75 hours of HD video. The company merely discarded the CableCard slot which was a requisite to hook up the box to cable TVand it cut down the price from $200 to $50.
As a boon the Roamio doesn’t need any supplementary accessories except an antenna. There’s both built-in Wi-Fi and a 500GB internal hard drive. If 500GB isn’t enough, you also have the option of adding more storage using the Roamio’s eSATA port; an extra 1TB will run you about $100.
The home screen (“TiVo Central”) lets you jump directly to your recordings or find other content, whether that’s via TiVo’s universal search, the “What to Watch Now” feature, or TiVo’s streaming media apps. There’s a lot of it out there–around 90 stations in the Bay Area, for instance–and plenty of HD, all for free. You get support for Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube, and Hulu, plus all the sports and first-run broadcast shows you can’t find anywhere else. Some of the available local channels include: PBS, FOX, NBC, CBS and ABC.
“Many top TV shows in America are available with a simple HD antenna. TiVo is devoted to making the best possible cable TV user experience available through our operator partners and in retail, but we recognize some viewers opt not to receive the benefits a subscription with a cable provider offers,” said Ira Bahr, TiVo CMO in a statement.
The TiVo Roamio OTA will be available in select BestBuy stores by mid-September. The DVR may be offered in other markets but there’s no certified word from TiVo.
The Roamio Pro can at the same time record six shows and store about 450 hours of HD recordings. The built-in Wi-Fi lets you access live TV on your mobile devices.
You have to pay for a monthly service and a CableCARD fee on top of your present cable subscription. It lacks HBO Go and Watch ESPN support.