There is a sinister, low-tech monster lurking in my house. It mocks me with its unrealized promise; a gadget that could do so much, and yet is forced by its distributors to do so little. I’m talking, of course, about my home cable box DVR. There are all sorts of great shows recorded on there, and I can only watch them on my home television? What a waste.
TiVo, the company that essentially created the DVR market, wants to free up that content from your cable box. That’s the idea behind TiVo Roamio, a first-of-its-kind cable box that streams live TV and shows you’ve recorded on your DVR directly to your iPhone or iPad, with a download option for off-line viewing.
Want to catch Judge Judy while you’re away from home? No problem – have your Roamio record episodes, and then stream them directly to your iPhone. Heading on a plane? Just download a few TV episodes to your iPad via WiFi while waiting to board. Can’t find Judge Judy in English once you land in Shanghai? You can direct your TiVo to stream the show live as it’s recorded, essentially giving you access to your home TV even when you’re away from home.
Sadly, there are some restrictions. TiVo Roamio only works with iOS devices, at least for now – Android support is “scheduled for 2014.” A bigger frustration: Because of copy protection, certain shows and content won’t be viewable offline or when you’re away from home. That’s a definite minus, especially since the stuff that’s copy protected is most likely going to be the stuff you want to watch.
TiVo’s Roamio line comes in three flavors: TiVo Roamio ($199), TiVo Roamio Plus ($399) and TiVo Roamio Pro ($599). The base-model Roamio requires a separate TiVo Stream ($99) for out-of-home streaming. For more information about Roamio and TiVo in general, visit tivo.com.