Monday, August 25, 2014

TiVo Launches Over-the-Air DVR

I've had a TiVo for a long time and a Roamio for about a year and love it. It was expensive and my cable bill is high but I'm good with that and get a lot of use out of it. CNN Money reports Simple, Brilliant and Legal -- TiVo Launches Over-the-Air DVR. I'm not sure why legal is in the headline, they must be comparing it to the Aereo and the Supreme Court case decided a couple of months ago but the article makes no mention of it or any other legal issues.

So the new Roamio OTA can record four shows at once and hold 75 hours of HD programming, pretty nice. Otherwise it's a Roamio, with the great interface, channel guide and integrated streaming services like Netflix and Hulu Plus (of course you have to subscribe to those). The difference is it gets TV the old-fashion way using an antenna (aka OTA). The really attractive thing is, it's only $49.99! At that price it's a steal. I might have made the tuner/storage trade-off a little differently, more storage and less tuners (since OTA has so many fewer channels than cable) but it also works with a TiVo Mini, so you can dedicate a tuner to stream stuff recorded to a different TV in the house.

But there's a downside, like other TiVos the Roamio OTA requires TiVo Service which is $14.99/month. The people I know using OTA TV are doing it because they don't want to pay cable fees. I doubt they're interested in paying $15/month (or $500 for lifetime service). The TiVo really is easy to use and $15/month is a lot less than cable fees so so maybe there's a market for that, but I suspect it will be a big turnoff, as it's been with other TiVo products. Also the TiVo Mini I mentioned is $100 and requires a $6/month service, so I don't know how attractive that is to pair with a $50 device.


The Dad said...

I can see a justification for this even if cutting cable You're paying for true DVR service itself...the channel guide and the ability to record shows easily. I really like the setup, and am trying to justify the monthly fee in my head. When my FIOS contract is up I am going to seriously consider going OTA. Of course I will need to invest in a "real" antenna, i.e. one on the roof or in the attic, because I found that in-house antennas don't seem to do the job where I live. So there's a couple hundred bucks minimum right there. I also watch a LOT of my TV via the channel apps on my iPad - granted most of them require you to log in with a cable subscription, so it's possible they become useless if I drop my cable connection (of course, there are ways around that, like borrowing dad's subscription). Realistically, this thing has many benefits over just using iPad apps - not having to wait 24hr or more for a show to appear on an app, not having to register the app, being able to record "special" shows like the emmys, sports, or news. hmmm...

Howard said...

Good points. Also depends on if you the TV you watch is network or (basic) cable.

The apps thing is an issue. The thing that so many people want is an internet only HBO Go subscription. Maybe that will happen in a couple of years. There is this, but I'm not sure if it really works. How to get HBO GO without signing up for cable TV