The new aptly named Roamio digital video recorders let you stream TV throughout the home - and will soon take streaming on the go.
TiVo is flexing its interactive TV muscles again.
Three new Roamio digital video recorders that went on sale today aim to transform home TV viewing by integrating Internet video favorites such as Netflix and Amazon into an improved DVR that can record up to six programs simultaneously.
Each new Roamio also streams TV and DVR recordings to Apple iOS and Android tablets and smartphones at home, with out-of-home viewing due later this year.
"Now, wherever you roam, your TiVo Roamio is there," said TiVo President and CEO Tom Rogers in a statement accompanying the new product announcement.
He called it TiVo for "people who love TV" and compared it with competitors Roku, Apple TV, Slingbox and Google TV "all rolled into one."
The $199.99 TiVo Roamio records four shows at the same time, storing up to 75 hours of HD programming, while the Roamio Plus ($399.99) records six shows simultaneously and stores 150 hours. The Roamio Pro ($599.99) boasts a 3-terabyte hard drive, records six shows simultaneously and stores 450 hours of HD content. (Each requires TiVo's $14.99 monthly DVR service.)
In addition to Internet video services such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, the Roamios also include music services including Spotify and Pandora. And the DVRs have TiVo's popular TV search function and personalization features that will recommend shows to watch — based on your "Thumbs Up" and "Thumbs Down" votes — and let you create wish lists of shows to record.
The Roamio DVRs work with digital cable services, as well as Verizon FiOS and HD TV antennas. They are available now on TiVo.com and soon at Best Buy stores. They can also be ordered on BestBuy.com and Amazon.com.
The San Jose company was among the pioneers in interactive TV, bringing the first DVR to market in 1999. But competitors caught up, and its subscriber base dropped.
However, it's seen subscribers grow over the last year to 3 million worldwide (its peak was 4.4 million in early 2007). In the first quarter of this year, TiVo reported a net loss of $10.3 million. The company has also received hundreds of millions from court victories and settlements in lawsuits filed to protect TiVo-held patents.
TiVo plans a major advertising push for the new Roamio products, and the company has also revamped its website.
This new wave of TiVo DVRs could be welcomed by consumers because "this capability that they are adding is the next thing that everybody wants, which is the ability to take stuff off of your DVR and stream it somewhere else where you might want to watch it on your iPad," says Lazard Capital Markets analyst Barton Crockett.
The company's challenge is connecting "those consumers who are willing to pay up for a premium experience," he says, and aligning with more cable companies, "so they can offer (TiVo) directly to the consumer."