TiVo Roamio – the best PVR that you can’t buy?

TiVo Roamio and remote controlTiVo, so popular in the US that the company name became the verb people used when talking about recording a TV program, launched with some fanfare in Australia in 2008. By late 2012 TiVo was effectively pronounced as dead in this country. Now not only are there no TiVo devices on sale in stores, it is no longer offered for sale on the Australian TiVo site.

Which is a pity. The TiVo recorder worked well, and, like the iPad, it was a device that could be picked up and used easily and confidently by a two-year old, as proved at home by my son.

So it’s with some regret that I say that TiVo has shown off a new personal video recorder (PVR) in the US, called the TiVo Roamio. Shown in the US, but it will not be a PVR that you can buy in Australia.

But US customers can choose from 3 Roamio models – TiVo Roamio, TiVo Roamio Plus, and TiVo Roamio Pro, selling for  US$199.99, US$399.99 and US$599.99 respectively. On top of the cost of the PVR there is a US$14.99 charge per month for the TiVo service, or a fee of US$499.99 for a product lifetime subscription.

The entry-level TiVo Roamio has 4 tuners, allowing you to record 4 programs simultaneously, and with onboard storage enough to hold 75 hours of high definition content. The Roamio Plus and Roamio Pro each have 6 tuners, to record 6 programs simultaneously, and storage for 150 hours (1 terabyte) of HD content on the Plus and 450 hours (3 terabytes) on the Pro.

In addition to watching recorded / streamed programs on the television connected to the Roamio, TiVo subscribers with the Roamio Plus and Roamio Pro can also stream their content to tablets and smartphones. This ability can also be added to the entry level Roamio with the separate purchase of an accessory called the TiVo Stream. With a CableCARD decoder the TiVo Roamio works with major US cable services.

Access to on-demand movies, music and sports apps from Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus and XFINITY, Spotify, Pandra, Rhapsody, MLB and more is also built into the TiVo system.

So there you have it. The land of the free-to-enjoy-lots-of-content-from-lots-of-places has it over the land-of-the-tyranny-of-distance-and-small(er)-population.

Sigh.

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