TiVo to let users stream shows anywhere, on iOS devices


The Roamio Pro (pictured above) and Roamio Plus will get an upgrade to support streaming on mobile devices outside of the home. (Courtesy of TiVo/Courtesy of TiVo)
October 24, 2013

TiVo announced Thursday that its customers will now be able to stream live shows as well as those recorded on their DVRs straight to their smartphones and tablets from anywhere.

Users can stream to one device at a time, and can also download a show over WiFi or 4G/LTE networks for later viewing. That should be particularly helpful if they know they’ll be somewhere with no (or limited) Internet connectivity.

The feature will come as a free upgrade to its Roamio Pro and Plus plans and will work initially only on Apple devices running iOS 5.1 or later. An Android app will follow next year, the company said, as will support for streaming over 4G/LTE networks.

TiVo’s Roamio service already lets users stream to their mobile devices within the home, and the new addition offers what promises to be an elegant solution that competes with Dish Hopper with Sling and Slingbox.

Jim Denney, TiVo’s vice president of product marketing, said that the TiVo app will sometimes even suggest that users opt to download something rather than stream it, after getting a read on the speed of available connections.

The quality of the stream depends on the quality of the Internet connection, he noted, and sometimes users will get a better experience downloading a show rather than streaming it.

Some shows will be restricted from streaming because of content agreements, said Denney. The shows that won’t work with the product will vary by area, he said, but consumers can generally expect that shows from premium channels, such as HBO and Showtime, won’t be included because of the terms of their agreements.

TiVo does, however, provide copy protection for shows that stream to tablets and smartphones, Denney said, and downloaded files are also encrypted.

The Roamio Plus costs $399.99 and lets users record up to 150 HD hours of video. The Roamio Pro costs $599.99, and allows for up to 450 hours of HD recording. Using the boxes will also require a TiVo subscription, of course. If you’re buying the Roamio for the first time, TiVo offers you the option of a 1-year commitment at $14.99 per month, or a $499.99 service plan that works for the life of the product.

Those who already have Roamio Plus or Pro plans will get the update for free, starting Thursday.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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