TiVo is a company that the gadget world either pities or admires.
They created the concept of digitally time-shifting TV when they invented the home DVR (digital video recorder) in 1999. They built a better mousetrap, but never did figure out a business model capable of monetizing their “billion-dollar idea.”
From the start, TiVo was a great product with marvelous software and a downright spectacular logo. The utility of the gadget was off the charts, but so was the product's price, not to mention the monthly or annual or lifetime service fee to get the unit to work.
From the start, the TV networks hated the idea of time shifting (though later gave it grudging acceptance). Despite a flirtation with DirecTV, none of the cable or satellite companies fully embraced TiVo. They all went with their own branded, and largely inferior, DVRs that the public happily accepted (50 percent of homes with TVs have a DVR).
To continue the pity parade, technology marched forward and on-demand TV via cable or streaming services like Netflix made a DVR seem downright antiquated.
But on the admiration front, TiVo kept plugging along. And now the company offers the ultimate DVR in their Roamio model (available for $200-600 plus service fees, depending on model at tivo.com or Best Buy).
This gadget comes in three versions—Roamio, Roamio Plus and Roamio Pro. Depending on the model, an owner can record as many as six shows at once and store up to 450 hours of HD (or 3,000 hours of SD) TV. Roamio works with your Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus and MLB.tv accounts. It has unified search across those services and your digital cable programs. It also connects to all the popular streaming music, web videos, podcast services and picture-sharing services. Roamio has built-in WiFi. Android or iOS apps let you watch recorded shows around your house or around the world.
TiVo is, and always has been, about “getting the most out of TV.” Once again, they’ve built a great piece of technology. Well worth buying.
The question remains: “Who will?”