TiVo Begins Pitching Aereo Castaways


Is a list of (perhaps) 80,000 customers and a URL worth a cool million? TiVo’s about to find out… as they’ve begun emailing Aereo castaways, having closed on various Aereo assetts through bankruptcy proceedings. As you can see above, the targeted pitch is actually pretty compelling. For those who have OTA reception, anyway. At $20/month, with a two year commitment, TiVo is offering the four-tuner Roamio OTA DVR with 500GB hard drive and a TiVo Stream to handle mobile viewing on iOS or Android. Beyond television recording and streaming, TiVo also includes a variety of online apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Instant. While I might find this to be a good deal, our pal Todd’s knee-jerk reaction when forwarding me the email blast was: ‘dafuq?’ So I’m wondering how others feel – chime in below! (By the by, the Aereo URL has not been updated… yet.)


53 thoughts on “TiVo Begins Pitching Aereo Castaways”

  1. They probably could have done a bit better with the email subject line?

    From: Aereo News news@messaging.aereo.com
    Subject: Aereo Bankruptcy Resolution

    Also, this is kind of a stretch considering it requires two boxes. Guess we’ll let it slide given the bundle pricing.

    the world’s only HD antenna DVR and streaming player in one.

    I’m still thinking there is or should be a next gen Roamio OTA in the pipeline not based on the original Roamio and with streaming built-in… that’d be my strategy anyway.

    Still bummed Aereo got shut down. No hardware, other than client endpoints, no commitments, everything in the cloud (for better and for worse), a “DVR” at every TV via Roku, and a reasonable price.

  2. Lets make a realistic comparison. First, the 2-tuner TabloTV.

    $200 2 tuner TabloTV
    $120 $5/month subscription for 2 years
    $085 2TB USB drive

    If you go with lifetime it’s only another $30 and a much better deal, but to be totally fair lets go with the monthly subscription.

    Compare to the TiVo deal.

    $000 TiVo Roamio OTA 500GB + stream
    $480 $20/month subscription for 2 years

    So the TiVo is an additional $75, and it only has 500GB of storage so you’ll probably want an external drive. And for another $30, the TabloTV gets lifetime service. Then again, if you don’t have a roku or firetv, you’ll need to tack another $35 on the TabloTV too– but both the roku and firetv are much better streamers than the TiVo.

    They’re pretty close, but IMO the TabloTV is a better choice.

  3. Tablo is more versatile in what it can stream to and you have the benefit of placing it wherever reception is best. On the flip side, you need at least one Roku if you want to “watch on TV” – whereas the TiVo directly connects. Also, for iOS households, you can offload TiVo recordings for travel. I would also prefer Tablo in this comparison as you’re not really locked in. Two years is a long time in this space – things are moving fast and TiVo’s resale value may not hold up without Lifetime service. At least with Tablo, you’re left with an external drive you can repurpose should you move on. Some folks might also prefer a publicly traded company over a startup, I don’t know. If I were to cut the cord, I’d go Tablo – but I’m also more geeky than most. I imagine there’s a bit of a conceptual hurdle, for some, to run it headless with your own personal cloud.

  4. We are very disappointed that Aereo was forced to shutdown as this was our best option for watching live broadcast TV without a cable/satellite subscription.

    We live about 25 miles North of a major city, and our reception is horrible at best. After trying multiple Antennas (Indoor, Outdoor) with sporadic results, I have returned them all. Unfortunately, over the air is not an option without a monstrosity of an Antenna that my HOA will not allow.

    So this device that is being targeted at former Aereo customers fails to address that one major issue, actually receiving the signals. So it’s useless to me and the thousands, if not millions, of others that are in my same situation.

    I refuse to go back to cable/satellite, so we just do without our local TV. Just seems like such a shortsighted move on the part of the broadcasters to kill the service that allowed me to watch their broadcasts.

  5. Allan — “Unfortunately, over the air is not an option without a monstrosity of an Antenna that my HOA will not allow.”

    a) 25 miles away is not that far. Post your tvfool.com results somewhere, like reddit’s cordcutters sub-reddit. UHF antenna are much more compact than yester-years VHF huge wingspan creatures.

    b) FCC antenna regulations over-ride every HOA’s rules. period. You just can’t install it anywhere that it is deemed “unsafe”.

  6. Travis. You can blame your local governments for the proliferation of HOAs. They don’t want the burden of maintaining the standards of a community and the upkeep of the common areas. So when a builder wants to create a new subdivision they will require the builder to setup a HOA. I for one would never live in a community that did not have an HOA.

    As Frank said an HOA cannot impose rules on a homeowner that would cause cause reception issues of local TV. Here in AZ they cannot also impose rules that would impede on the efficiency of solar panels.

  7. TabletTV is a better alternative than any of these. $89.95 up front and no subscription. Watch all broadcast TV forever without paying anything each month, plus links to OTT services, plus software PVR, plus VoD coming soon. Check it out: Tablet-TV.com.

  8. “And for another $30, the TabloTV gets lifetime service.”

    Who knows how long the ‘lifetime’ of TabloTV or other startups like TabletTV will be?

    How do you get guide data if Tablo goes under?

    Sorry, I’d bet on Tivo for lifetime service.

  9. I wonder how many people think like that. Given how much folks invest on unproven companies and tech via Kickstarter and Indiegogo, we might be in the minority understanding how hard it is to succeed as a startup – even with a great product and proven team. I’d still go Tablo. :) Will need to take a look at Tablet-TV. At first blush, doesn’t seem like it scales.

  10. And TabletTV includes a software PVR in the one-off price $89.95. With Chromecast or AirPlay watch on the big screen too.

  11. I’ll research Tablet-TV if Marc and Len will research astroturfing. One comment was sufficient.

  12. @Bill: For the cost of an additional 6 weeks of TiVo service, you get lifetime TabloTV. So really you’re betting the service lasts 2 months past that initial 2 year period.

    Also the TabloTV lifetime subscription isn’t tied to your device, so if they release a new one, or you want to add a second tuner, you will never have to pay again.

  13. HOAs do have a place. My GF lives in an area without an HOA. Behind her house is a house with a dark green deck, a red deck, and a light green deck. Driving down the street, one house has baby blue shutters, one has pink shutters, one has purple shutters. It looks like crap. You don’t have to worry about that with an HOA.

    And then the fences are another deal. Some houses have fences and some don’t. And the ones that do, they are all different.

  14. Where i live we also have an HOA and fortunately I got my two square shooter antennas up in 2004. Outside my condo. I would not be able to do that now. I was grandfathered into it. Since the buildings have new siding, they are not allowing any dishes or antennas in those areas. And in the areas without the new siding, you have to sign a waiver saying that it will be put back the same way as you found it. And will be responisble for any and all damage from water etc.

    Back in 2004 I didn’t have to sign anything like that.

  15. My Roamio Basic for OTA has $6.95 a month service on it. That I transferred from a Premiere. Which over time might add up to a lot. But at $6.95 a month, I don’t mind paying that indefinitely. While my Roamio Pro, Premiere and four Minis all have lifetime service.

    At the $480 this offer is for, you might as well pay a little more and get a Roamio BAsic with lifetime service.

  16. It’s more than a little more once you add a $150 MSRP TiVo Stream to the mix?

    I have an HOA. They’re good for many things and I appreciate the structure. They’d be better if their enforcement of the negotiated policies was more universally enforced. They have limited ability to restrict antenna or satellite dish placement due to federal regs and we don’t have the condo considerations arronwt does. Solar is approved on a case-by-case basis, presumably based on visibility and location (like rear of the home is preferred) — not sure how many have tried given the sizeable investment.

  17. Regarding the TiVo Roamio vs. Tablo debate, the TiVo Roamio looks more attractive to me. I’m not a cord cutter yet — got several more months to go on my DirecTV contract — but I’ve been researching my options. Granted, you’ll spend less with the Tablo over the long run, but the TiVo looks like a better option in a couple of key areas for me.

    1. Convergence: I want one box with an attractive, unified interface that will allow me to channel surf through my local OTA channels, watch recordings from those channels, and also let me stream from Netflix, Amazon Prime and others. (TiVo doesn’t offer them yet but I’m really hoping and betting they add the new streaming subscription services from Showtime and HBO later this year.) With the TiVo One Pass feature, I can search across all those sources and then have a single “watch list” of recorded major network shows like Last Man On Earth and Jimmy Kimmel Live right next to streaming shows like Bosch and House of Cards. Yes, the new Tablo interface that’s in beta right now looks nice, but Tablo only covers OTA TV within the separate Tablo app. To stream, I need to exit the Tablo app and open separate apps for Netflix, Amazon, etc. And on a TV, that’s going to be on a Roku. I know some folks are big fans of Roku, but after occasionally playing around with one for maybe a year, I gave my Roku to my parents. I now use my Apple TV and Wii U for streaming. The Roku interface isn’t great and I wouldn’t want all my TV viewing to have to go through a Roku, which would be the case with Tablo. (Yes, I could buy an Amazon Fire and use the Tablo app on that, which I might like better. No, I don’t want to have to use AirPlay to stream to my Apple TV from the Tablo app on my iPad every time I want to watch TV.)

    2. Video Quality: I’ve never used or even viewed video in person on a TiVo Roamio or a Tablo, but I do wonder if the Tablo would be as good since it’s receiving the OTA video signal through a tuner in the Tablo box and then sending it over wifi to your Roku or other wireless device (tablet, PC, etc.). Is some type of compression applied to the video before shifting it around the house wirelessly? The TiVo, on the other hand, connects directly to the TV via HDMI — a nice, high-bandwidth low latency wired connection. Maybe someone who owns or has used both devices can comment on how the two compare on video quality.

    Another reason I like the TiVo Roamio for video quality is that it allows for streaming in 1080p24 from Netflix (and I think from Amazon and Vudu as well). I have a 120 Hz TV that can display natively 24-frames-per-second content (which includes virtually all films, plus a few TV shows). Content shot at 24p looks better when it’s displayed that way rather than having to apply 3:2 pulldown to fudge it to 60p. Do you know how few devices out there will automatically stream content from Netflix (never mind other services too) at 1080p24? After searching around, I actually think the TiVo Roamio may be the only one out there!

    3. Remote Control: TiVo looks like it has a great remote control, one that offers all the functionality (and more) that I’m used to from my DirecTV Genie remote. But when viewing TV through the Tablo app, you’ll be using whatever remote comes with your streaming box (Roku, Amazon Fire, etc.). The Roku remote is really basic (although not as stupid basic as the Apple TV remote); I wouldn’t want to use it for all my TV viewing. Yes, there are remote apps that you can use on your phone or tablet to control your Roku or other streaming box, but I much prefer a real remote with dedicated tactile buttons.

    If you’re really into watching TV on multiple tablets, computers, etc. in and out of your house, and don’t mind getting your entertainment through multiple apps/interfaces, Tablo would probably be a good bet for you. I can see it really appealing to “cord nevers,” those folks who’ve never been cable/satellite subscribers, including young people who actually enjoy consuming video on small screens like their laptops and phones.

    If, like me, you watch virtually all of your video on one big screen HDTV, and you’re looking to replace your cable/satellite DVR with a similar single box that can most seamlessly package all your video together, both OTA and streaming, then the TiVo Roamio is probably better, although it will cost more in the long run. (But given how quickly the TV landscape is changing, how long is the “long run” — who knows what will be the most attraction option for TV consumption a year from now?)

  18. One other note: this TiVo deal pitched at Aereo fans ($19.99 a month with a 24-month commitment but zero up-front hardware costs) only makes sense if you want the TiVo Stream device so that you can watch TV on mobile phones and tablets. If you don’t care about the TiVo Stream, and just want the TiVo Roamio OTA to hook to your TV, it’s better to go with their regular deal: $50 up-front hardware cost, then $14.99 a month with a 12-month commitment.

  19. Did you see the HDHomeRun DVR Kickstarter? I wonder if that could be a contendor here. It definitely piqued my interest, though I am completely outside the Siren song of TiVo. I will be joining thr Kickstarter, though beta software may not come for a few months.

  20. TiVo’s ability to search across both recorded TV and streams is a major advantage I had not considered. If I was interested in recording OTA TV, that alone makes it a much more competitive choice. Roku can search across streams only, and FireTV can’t even do that across most of its non-amazon catalog.

    I haven’t played with a Roamio much, so I don’t know how its streaming capabilities compare to a Roku3 or FireTV. I know the Premiere was _far_ inferior. If Roamio streaming is comparable, that makes it a pretty decent choice– with this specific deal, anyway.

  21. The Netflix and Amazon apps have been updated, are current and they launch/interact much faster on Roamio than Premiere. Still slower that your Roku or Fire TV, but now with a mostly acceptable speed.

  22. Yeah, TabletTV looks great if you only want to ever watch TV on a 10-inch screen you hold in front of you. Meanwhile, I’ll be kicking back on my sofa watching my 52-inch 1080p Samsung. (And looking forward to a 60-inch UHD TV with HDR in a year or two.)

  23. @Joel Ward mentioned the HDHomeRun DVR Kickstarter.

    I don’t see this ever getting much traction with the general public. The HDHomeRun DVR appears to be a PC accessory, while Tivo and Tablo are standalone appliances.

  24. Len obviously didn’t get the hint. So I’ve taken the liberty of removing a few of his contributions and in theoretically directing future comments into my moderation queue prior to (unlikely) publication. I’m all for sharing and learning about new solutions, but there’s certainly more constructive, less douchey ways to do it.

  25. You do make a good point. Tivo is a standalone, while the HDHomeRun setup does require some sort of PC or NAS/server to store. However, I am curious to see how easy they make it. Probably not easy enough for the masses, but maybe good enough to support the crowed that used to use the dying Windows Media Center. So a good alternative to Tivo and the cable company DVR, maybe for a lower cost and support for more screens in the house (Windows, Mac, phones, tablets, Kodi, etc.).

  26. “Video Quality: I’ve never used or even viewed video in person on a TiVo Roamio or a Tablo, but I do wonder if the Tablo would be as good since it’s receiving the OTA video signal through a tuner in the Tablo box and then sending it over wifi to your Roku or other wireless device (tablet, PC, etc.). Is some type of compression applied to the video before shifting it around the house wirelessly?”

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but the Roku can’t playback HD MPEG2. So, some kind of transcoding would be involved, included some amount of PQ loss that would be easily noticeable on a medium size lean-back.


    “TiVo’s ability to search across both recorded TV and streams is a major advantage I had not considered.”

    OnePass is a BFD, as the kids say, IMHO. It’s the biggest innovation in the DVR space in a looooong time, as far as I’m concerned.

    I’m a big Roku fan, but I rarely use mine since OnePass rolled out. These days I just use it for HBO and occasionally looking at the new addition sections of Netflix and Amazon. (The TiVo clients are performance dogs, so I resort to Roku for ‘client immersion’. But if you’re using OnePass, you don’t really interact with the TiVo clients except breifly, while starting playback. OnePass search truly rocks, especially via kmttg.)


    I’m not personally interested in the OTA market, so my opinions are quite limited. TiVo seems to have considerable advantages, particularly in the lean-back. But you do pay for those advantages. If you want to save a few bucks, other options may works quite well for certain use-case-scenarios.

    And since Kickstarter has been mentioned, I’d like to [promoted comment] mention my exciting new Kickstarter that will be launched in a couple of days. I’m starting farms of individual micro-antennas that will record to individualized cloud DVR’s that will be accessible via multiple lean-back and mobile clients. It’s going to all be kosher legal-wise since each customer will have their own personal antenna and personal cloud DVR. Contribute early and often! Random contributors will win T-shirts!

  27. Chucky, you’re so bad….

    I also love the new OnePass, especially since I’ve just switched back to digital cable from OTA.

    If I try a cable show & like it, I can then easily check if previous episodes/seasons are available via my Netflix/Hulu+ accounts, or buy shows from Amazon Video.

  28. Chucky…

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but the Roku can’t playback HD MPEG2. So, some kind of transcoding would be involved, included some amount of PQ loss that would be easily noticeable on a medium size lean-back.

    While the MPEG2 > H.264 transcoding is lossy, it can be done whereby the vast majority of people have no idea quality has changed. Having said that, I have’t spent enough time with Tablo to comment on its transcoding quality. My hunch would be the streaming over the network, with potential buffering and adjustment, would be the weak link tho – not the transcode and codec. Maybe we can get Adam to chime in.

  29. I currently have my Tablo set to 720p to capture recordings and stream live TV. Not sure how to measure quality to the Roku, but both live TV and recordings are very clear for me with minimal artifacts. The playback is smooth, and honestly it looks better than my Comcast feed as that has more compression. Even the Mrs. commented on the picture quality coming from the Roku3/Tablo combo compared to our Comcast feed.

  30. The deal is not really better than the one year $15/mo contract offered currently with the Roamio OTA. I guess unless you really want the stream. My question is when, if ever will TiVo offer lifetime service on the ota model roamio? I would pay up for lifetime.

  31. zach: My guess is never. The Roamio OTA is the same unit as the base Roamio, just being sold for less with a mandatory monthly subscription, which is how they make up the money. If you want a Roamio with lifetime for OTA just buy the base unit.

  32. “My guess is never. The Roamio OTA is the same unit as the base Roamio, just being sold for less with a mandatory monthly subscription”

    I think we’re likely looking at a relatively soon-to-be-announced “Roamio Aereo”, which will be OTA-only with integrated streaming. And who knows how the current pricing scheme will change for that…

  33. Chucky: I have been trying to decide what I believe TiVo’s next hardware move will be. Have not come up with an answer that really made sense to me yet. I think the Roamio line is fine for now. In the future 4K and a cable-card replacement will have to be dealt with. But for OTA the only thing I can see is a unit with “stream” built in and perhaps a full removal of the cable-card to free up what TiVo can do with recordings more by removing the cable-card restrictions. Just not sure the OTA market justifies the development expense.

  34. Yeah, why would there be any new Tivo hardware when the 4K market is in its infancy & there’s no IP-based standard for authorization to decrypt digital cable?

  35. “Yeah, why would there be any new Tivo hardware when the 4K market is in its infancy…”

    No doubt. I think 4K is still a year or two or three away.

    But I assume TiVo wants to leverage the Aereo purchase beyond the mailing list into actual retail branding. The price paid seems high just for the mailing list alone. So, that calls for an OTA model with integrated streaming, and without CableCARD slots to reduce the BOM. (Doesn’t mean it’ll happen, but seems the likely pathway to me.)

  36. When you suggest a possible “Roamio Aereo” with integrated streaming, what do you mean? Doesn’t the current Roamio OTA already offer that with Netflix, etc in One Pass? Are you referring to live linear streams integrated into the channel grid like the Channel Master DVR+ will have? Maybe some sort of streaming subscription cable service like Sling or the rumored upcoming Apple service?

  37. Streaming as in allowing live or recorded programming to move beyond the DVR to a tablet, phone, or maybe even a Roku. The TiVo Stream accessory currently provides mobile access like this. Whereas the higher-end Roamio or products like Tablo have it built-in.

  38. Tim: The “Stream” we are talking about is what converts your typical MP2 cable/OTA recording into a h.264 format that a tablet/cell phone/Roku can actual play and either streams the converted content to those devices inside our outside of your home network or allows you to load the files directly onto your tablet/cell phone. TiVo currently has a stand alone “stream” that can be used with all Premiere, Roamio, & Roamio OTA TiVos and the Roamio Plus & Pro have a “stream” built in.

  39. Oh, gotcha, thanks. Yeah, that’d be cool, although I wonder if they wouldn’t up the price over the current Roamio OTA as the new unit would cannibalize sales of the Stream accessory. I guess eliminating the unusable CableCard slot would shave off a little cost, but not that much.

    Unrelated Q: Is it possible with the Roamio to set up a “Primetime Pass” on a specific channel? For instance, to record the 3 hrs of primetime TV every night on ABC, whatever it is, without setting up individual show titles, and then having those shows auto-delete after a certain number of days unless saved? That would be a cool feature; Dish Hopper does that for the big four OTA networks with their Primetime Anytime feature.

  40. “Unrelated Q: Is it possible with the Roamio to set up a “Primetime Pass” on a specific channel? For instance, to record the 3 hrs of primetime TV every night on ABC, whatever it is…”

    Easy. The Manual Recording panel is your friend here.

    Set up a daily, or just M-F, scheduled manual recording from 8pm to 11pm on your ABC channel.

    I don’t think there is a way to auto-delete, but just delete ’em yourself once a week, or however long…

  41. TiVo should absolutely offer a lifetime service option for the OTA devices. People who watch OTA do not want monthy charges but its nice to have a dvr to record shows ( tivo does this in a beautiful way as we all know: but it cost). But my thoughts are that in the meantime better and better software will become available over time that will eventually entice me to ditch the TiVo for a PVR and HTPC setup. I would consider running my live tv setup this way now but TiVo does a much better job than any of the currently available PVR computer software…… Ultimately I guess I am just venting because I want the “option” to pay lifetime. I mean come on! This is ‘Merica I need freedom of choice. Unless of course TiVo never offers it, in which case I will snap back into line like all the rest of us TiVo fanboys.

  42. They do offer lifetime on OTA. You just need to get a Roamio Basic. Which can do OTA or cable(only one or the other) with it’s four tuners.

  43. Yeah, sort of… but Roamio OTA is $50, whereas Roamio (basic) has a MSRP of $200 (since it still has those CableCARD guts inside).

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