Meet Roamio, the New TiVo

TiVo goes into its fifth generation with the new Roamio line, which succeeds the Premiere line. You can still buy refurbished Premiere units through the TiVo Outlet. However, if you want the latest and greatest, consider Roamio and its three models.

The top-of-the-line model is the TiVo Roamio Pro ($600). It can record six shows at once, one for each built-in tuner, for up to 450 hours of HD. The Roamio Plus ($400) also has six tuners and records up to 150 hours of HD. The plain old Roamio ($200) has four tuners and records up to 75 hours of HD. The top two models stream to iOS devices, even when you’re not at home. All three have built-in Wi-Fi and support digital cable with a CableCARD. The bottom model also accepts an HD antenna connection. Stream video from Netflix, Hulu Plus, or Amazon; and audio from Pandora, Spotify, and Live365, among others.

TiVo’s intelligent user interface does a new trick, recommending live programming based on a combination of your own patterns and what other TiVo owners are watching. Of course, there’s a price to be paid for that—the monthly program guide subscription. You may pay a monthly fee of $15 or a one-time fee of $500, after which you’re good for life.

TiVo is also getting into whole-house distribution with the compact TiVo Mini, which resembles a square of chocolate. It sends content from a separate TiVo DVR anywhere in the home. It supports Hulu Plus, YouTube, Pandora, and Spotify. The box costs $100, and the program guide is $6/month or a one-time fee of $150.

The TiVo Stream, another small box, sends content to iOS devices, switching output from the mobile device to your TV with the tap of a button. You can use it to schedule DVR recordings, watch recorded shows, or download shows to watch later. Not being able to share your impressions with Facebook and Twitter friends would be a fate worse than death—providentially, that is supported too. The box costs $130.

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