Three TiVo Roamio Surprises


Thanks to a stellar network of sources and community sleuthing, we pretty much nailed the TiVo Roamio ahead of launch. However, TiVo did manage to surprise us with one very significant upcoming feature and two other interesting points.

Your TiVo Is Your Slingbox!
The higher-end 6-tuner TiVo Roamio Plus and Pro models will take their integrated Stream capabilities on their road, enabling out-of-home streaming over WiFi (versus cellular). Both live television and DVR recordings look to be covered, other than our restricted channels — which hopefully don’t expand in count. TiVo indicates this feature is “coming soon” …

No Love For Android
Unfortunately, we were somewhat surprised to see those very same Stream-capable Roamio units launch without Android support. AllThingsD reports Android support is expected either later this year or early 2014. Which, as a Galaxy Note 2 and Kindle Fire HD owner, is coincidentally when I’ll consider upgrading my Lifetimed Premiere Elite.

Live TV Is Alive And Well
tivoRemoteWhile old-timers may have some difficulty adjusting to new remote button positioning, the relocated and enlarged Guide button, (along with “What to Watch Now”) suggests live TV viewing is alive and well amongst DVR owners. And we suspect TiVo will further tap into this resurgence of appointment TV via and given second screen social media.

45 thoughts on “Three TiVo Roamio Surprises”

  1. I was very excited about this box while reading different reviews. I’m with you though Dave, I won’t be upgrading until Android support is available. I said the same thing about the Tivo Stream when it was released. I would love to have a new Tivo Roamio Plus with a Mini or two, and would gladly pay for it. However, I won’t pull the trigger until I can stream to my many Android devices.

  2. So, is the hard drive still user-accessible with non-heroic effort? And if so, how long until reverse-engineering of the file system takes place?

    As a single-teevee household with limited interest in slingboxing and no MoCA, I’d be more than happy to get a 4-tuner and upgrade the hard drive. I’m even willing to go non-lifetime and pay a regular fee, as I do with my TiVo HD, to help out TiVo’s bottom line. I actually like sending a regular payment to TiVo just so they don’t forget about the existing customer base…


    “Both live television and DVR recordings look to be covered, other than our restricted channels — which hopefully don’t expand in count.”

    Curb your hopefulness.

    Ugh. I still blame the Steam for causing Time Warner to force Verizon to flip the CCI byte on HBO, and I simply can’t imagine this not making things significantly worse. TiVo is short-sightedly destroying the friendly CCI byte for those who still have access to it. If they’d just kept it all in the LAN, everyone would’ve been cool with it.

  3. “Wow, and they even work with DIAL. They sound pretty promising.”

    Yeah. DIAL is a pleasant surprise.

  4. Slingbox-type capability is neat. Does it only work with iOS devices, or are there windows and OSX clients also?

    It’s almost 2014. I am profoundly dismayed to see that they’re still shipping a 500GB model and the UI still isn’t full HD. The latter is actually kinda astonishing, when you think about it. SD? In a new 2014 product? Really?

    The slingbox stuff is a neat feature, but I was really hoping for more– an app store and local media streaming in particular. My original S3 is still working, and I see no particular reason to upgrade. That said, I probably would upgrade for the heck of it if they would allow me to keep my $6.95 monthly payment… but that’s not gonna happen.

  5. Rodalpho, rumors of an updated TiVo Desktop for computers. But I don’t have any concrete details and I haven’t read all the reviews for clues. It’s a chicken and egg dilemma for TiVo – I’m sure they want more apps too, but they need a large base on this new platform (or cash) to attract partners.

    Chucky, Weaknees is reselling the Roamios but they’re still working out expansion details.

  6. Dave for all the talking you have done about Tivo over the years, I got to admit that I am deeply disappointed that Tivo send you one of the first units to review.

    Come on Tivo guys wake up, support those that have supported you all these years. I think Dave deserves a test unit.

  7. Actually, the divorce was mutual and I’d rather not work with their (current) marketing team. Basically, we can’t be bribed with access nor can we be bullied into submission – we call it as we see it and only answer to our readers. Not to mention, covering TiVo without the shackles of NDAs has been quite liberating and I’m having more fun than ever.

  8. Dave (and all), from the GigaOM story, it looks like TiVo will have the “Opera TV App Store”. I don’t know if that’s actually any good, but it is supposed to be HTML compliant and includes stuff like Vimeo as well as a 10ft UI browser.

    So that’s actually potentially very exciting. New TiVo with reasonably modern speed hardware and an app store could be truly useful in a roku kind of way– if developers embrace it.

  9. slingbox streaming with the 4 tuner roamio and tivo stream will also work according to their comparison chart on

  10. It is the existing Amazon app. It was nice to see some of the reviews call them out on that and the unfinished UI.

  11. I think it’s a bit strange how they broke down the features on the boxes. If you have an antenna, you have to get the lowest end one, but if you get the lowest end one, you can’t stream out of home (as far as I can tell that only seems to be coming to the built in stream). Anyway, my point with all of that, is that they don’t seem entirely aware that cable DVR may not be their only competitor anymore. It seems like Aereo (if you can get it) plus a Roku would offer a much more compelling (and cheaper) experience.

  12. Dave, I’m with you on holding off on the Elite->Roamio upgrade until they get Android streaming, plus I’m not going to pay full retail for a launch box. I also can’t fathom the $200 upcharge to go from 1TB->3TB between Plus and Pro when a 3TB drive can be had for a little over $100 now. I’m sure someone will come up with a way to do a drive copy on the S5s like we’ve seen before on the 3 and 4’s. Given the identical form factor between Premiere and Plus I’d bet it’s just as easy to do a drive swap too, assuming the new boxes use the same 3.5″ SATA drives.

  13. Will the Stream/Premier (or Stream/base Roamio) be able to stream to wifi outside the home, or will that just be available on the Roamios with integrated Stream?

  14. Andrew, from what I’ve read it sounds like the Slingbox-esque functionality will make its way to the Stream, via Roamio or Premiere. But we’ll know more and for sure in a few months I guess?

  15. @Andrew – one of the reviews somewhere actually said that the current Stream will support outside the home before the Roamio will.

  16. @Dave… I keep reading conflicting stuff on the stream being upgraded CNet seemed to think it would, but The Verge seemed to think it wouldn’t, and one of the reviews seemed to think that the stream in fact already had been updated with this functionality… and several of the reviews seemed to not be super clear. I suppose they’ll clear it up over the next few days.

  17. I am trying to figure out what practical difference this would make for me if I bought it to replace my Premiere + Stream. The faster UI would certainly be welcome. The Premiere is ridiculously slow. Otherwise… eh. I am reluctant to give up antenna capability since I see that as part of my eventual cord-cutting escape.

    If TiVo had a decent upgrade path and I could carry my Lifetime sub, maybe, but they don’t, and I think that’s part of why they’ve been so unsuccessful.

  18. And I just sent my original S3 w/ lifetime for repairs to Weaknees! I thought end of September was the time frame.

    I may also wait til 2014 to see how all the promised updates go. I already have a slingbox, so I’d like to see how the streaming quality goes. Inside the home I would suspect no difference in quality between watching the base TiVo or its Stream cousin. Sling does downgrade the image, depending on the box. Outside the home would be an interesting comparison.

    I’d be curious to see what upgrades Weaknees has in store for the new Roamios. Right now they don’t list any upgrades. But in lieu of that, what’s the max capacity for attached storage on the new units?

  19. I am waiting on Android support and folks using these in the wild for a good many months first. This is the first TiVo box in some time I want to upgrade for but I never jump on TiVo box out of the gate, especially when needed features (android) are not in play yet

  20. PS -Dave, I also gave up on TiVo insider testing. Tired of having even worse than release TiVo in the house for what seemed little gain on major bugs

  21. I am very excited about this announcement yet I’m left wondering whether there is enough upgrade to get rid of my premiere/stream for one of these. Also seems like a bit of a swing and miss with the name Roamio. It would make sense except it looks as if only the Plus and Pro can actually “roam” with you, so the base model is completely misnamed.

  22. This looks like a great update. I have 2 problems with it as far as upgrading myself.
    The first is cost, not so much the cost of the box as the $500 lifetime fee. I have a slingbox, 2 tivo premeires and a tivo stream so most of these things I can already do. They don’t even offer present tivo subscribers a discount on the new lifetime fee. I am not saying never, but I won’t upgrade until I have to.

  23. Happy to pay TiVo for the new box. Happy to pay extra for the 6 tuner model and the 3TB drive. However…

    Okay, so I’ve already got a 4-tuner Premiere with a 2TB drive. And a Mini that I didn’t give a tuner to. And a Stream. And a Slingbox on that Stream. So…

    I could buy the new box and it would be faster obviously. That would be nice. Not life altering but nice. Not sure its enough to get me over the hump yet though.

    Since they’re obviously not going to do dynamic tuner allocation for the existing Premiere’s (and I don’t really need it on a 6 tuner model), the only way to replace my Master Bedroom TiVo HD with another Mini (and get out from under my only remaining CableCARD fee from Comcast) is to upgrade to the Streamio 6 tuner. So that might force my hand.

    Like others though I’ll wait. I want to hear from people how its going. Does it crash/reboot a lot? Is it actually faster?

    The out of home streaming would be nice but hey, I’ve already got a working setup with my Slingbox. Rather toss it in the trash, but it seems unlikely the new box will be as bullet-proof in the short run and hey, they aren’t even shipping that feature yet. And with TiVo you don’t buy for the features they promise “in the future”. Buy for what they’ve got and assume they’ll NEVER do any of the things they promise in the future.

    I’ll sit on the sidelines for a bit and think about it.

    Sounds promising though.

  24. Glenn, dynamic tuning is coming to 4-tuner Premieres and Minis. May be a few more weeks for the “Fall” Premiere software update.

  25. “Rodalpho, you’re the second or third person to ask, so I passed the question along to TiVo Margret who confirms 5Ghz.”

    I would’ve been genuinely astounded had Tivo sought to save the pennies on that particular trade-off.

    And that makes you a TiVo Insider, Dave!

  26. “I’ll sit on the sidelines for a bit and think about it. Sounds promising though.”

    Can you do DIY with the hard drive, once the reverse-engineered file system gets open-sourced? If so, given your current situation, you’re in the cat-bird’s seat to wait out the initial excitement.

    DIY-ing a TiVo is the best amateur nerd fun that exists.

  27. Surprised they dropped support for analog cable. Every new generation seems to drop another feature I would need to use it.

  28. Great! I have a friend who wouldn’t consider it without 5Ghz wifi. It really is a requirement in tightly packed urban areas.

  29. I visited HBO at the Cable Show and the rep I spoke with implied TiVo didn’t have enough customers for them to mess with at this time – they were/are focused on higher profile platforms with a larger installed user base. I believe PS3 is next.

  30. No analog input is a deal breaker for me. I’m in a rural community with standard cable, with minor OTA;

  31. Glenn sez…
    “Happy to pay TiVo for the new box. Happy to pay extra for the 6 tuner model and the 3TB drive.”

    Really, you’re happy to pay Tivo $200 for a $50 drive upgrade, with no other difference between Plus and Pro? I’ll wait for the drive copy/expansion to be figured out and get the Plus after it goes on sale for $300-325 or so, thanks.

    I would’ve expected Pro to be $499 but not $599, that’s just Apple-like greed.

  32. I see the new remote is RF which is great, but does it have a keyboard like the Slide Remote? I just don’t want to have to screw around trying to enter text with the remote on the Tivo interface, and I am not a big fan of having to go to another device like a phone/tablet to enter text when the slide worked well and I could simply enter text using the remote.

  33. Nope, the QWERTY keyboard of the Slide remote is not coming back. Related, I wonder if this new remote will be made available as an accessory to older TiVos (with dongle?) and/or as a replacement part for the new units.

  34. Its crashed on me twice today when watching netflix. I get the C501 app not available, but what pissed me off is it reboots the roamio. Going to return it.

  35. Well, the nicest thing I’ve found about them so far is no more copying images when you replace the hard drive. Though getting the lid off is fun. :)
    Bolt in the new drive, snap the lid back on, plug in the HDMI + coax cables and switching power supply, and the Tivo OS prepares the blank drive with Apple partitions for you.

    There are no SD menus that I can find, by the way.

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