TiVo Roamio DVR: A Masterful Entertainment Manager


TiVo’s experience in the DVR world makes the brand particularly suitable for offering an all-in-one entertainment management devices that records, streams, and offers Internet apps. This is the goal of the TiVo Roamio, which is a DVR — but also so much more.

A Deeper Look Into the TiVo Roamio DVR

This isn’t your father’s TiVo, so prepare to be impressed by all the features and different ways this unit can serve your family.

Cable Features

The TiVo Roamio sits comfortable between a digital video recorder and a set-top box, offering a mix of features for people who do not want to give up their Cable, TV but still appreciate the benefits of Internet streaming technology. Its DVR features will sound familiar if you have used DVRs in the past. You have the ability to record multiple shows at once for later viewing. The number of shows varies a little based on model. There are three different types of Roamio boxes. The original Roamio lets you record four shows at once. The Roamio Plus version and the Roamio Pro version let you record six shows out once.

Of course, recording shows does not do you much good if you cannot store them to watch later. The original version lets you store up to 75 hours worth of programming, while the Plus gives you 150 hours, and the Pro ups this considerably with up to 450 hours of potential recording. You can also search for specific programs when setting up your recording. Each model comes with basics like built-in Wi-Fi capabilities, too.

Keep in mind, to use these cable features you will need to have a working Cable TV subscription. Any digital cable service will work f+ine, as will Verizon FiOS services or a simple HD antenna. However, if you do not have one of these services, you will be missing out on a lot of what the Roamio can do.

Compatible Software

Now for a look on the streaming, set-top box side of the TiVo Roamio. Here the hardware sports a collection of apps right out the gate, allowing you to tap into the Internet side of watching TV. This provides access to old favorites like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube. It also provides pay-based services like Amazon Video, Hulu Plus, and AOL On. It does not yet provide support for iTunes (music or video), HBO Go, Google Play, or Amazon Premium.

On the music side, the Roamio provides support for Pandora, Spotify, Rhapsody, and Live365. You will get the most benefit from these music services if you have a great sound systems connected to your TV and enjoy living room music.

Wireless Streaming

One thing that sets the Roamio apart and moves it more toward Slingbox and Chromecast territory is its streaming capabilities. You can stream whatever the Roamio records from your cable to mobile devices, notably an iPad or an iPhone. Record a game on your TV, and stream it right to your phone. Record your favorite show while you’re out eating, and watch it on your iPad when you get home. The device can stream to up to four different devices at the same time.

An important note about these streaming capabilities: This is intended for DVR recordings. For Internet streaming, you should download the respective apps (Netflix, Pandora, etc.) on your mobile devices directly. The original Roamio must be combined with the TiVo Stream to properly stream this content. The Plus and Pro can stream right out of the box.

Pricing Considerations

Pricing varies based on the Roamio model that you choose. For the basic, low-end version with minimal space, it’s only $200. For the middle-of-the-road model, the cost rises to $400, and for the best model with the most space and best channel capabilities, the cost rises to $600.

This refers only to the cost of the hardware itself. To use the TiVo DVR capabilities you have to pay a subscription fee of $15 per month or $500 for a lifetime use, if you do not already partake of TiVo services. This is in addition to whatever you may be paying for Cable TV or FiOS.

Final Decisions

The TiVo Roamio is packed with great features for the living room and associated mobile devices, offering the best of the best when it comes to DVR, streaming apps, and TV on demand. It has a price to match as well – you may end up paying upwards of $1,000 for the best of all TiVo’s services if you are starting out with a blank slate.

If you don’t mind the monthly payments, have iPads and iPhones, and have no desire to cut the cord on your cable, the Roamio is a masterful manager of your entertainment, especially the Plus and Pro models. If you are trying to save money and switch to more streaming services, a less expensive set-top box may be a better bet.