TiVo is updating its lineup of digital video recorders with three new devices that will feature out-of-home streaming as well as the latest apps from Netflix and YouTube, with additional apps from Vimeo and others coming in the near future. And thanks to support for DIAL, users will also be able to control these apps with their mobile devices, much like it’s now possible with Google’s Chromecast.
TiVo’s new devices, officially dubbed Roamio, come in three flavors: A $200 base model comes with 4 tuners (allowing users to record up to four shows at the same time), a 500 GB HD and an ATSC tuner as well as cable card compatibility, meaning you can record either over-the-air or cable TV. A $400 Plus model comes with 6 tuners and a 1.5 TB HD, and a $600 Pro model offers a 3TB HD.
Both the Plus and Pro will enable out-of-home streaming to iPads and other devices later this year, but neither have the ability to record over-the-air, meaning that cord cutters are stuck with the base model, which needs an extra TiVo stream extender to stream video to other devices. All of the devices also still require a TiVo subscription, which currently costs you around $15 a month.
But one of the key improvements over the existing experiences has nothing to do with recording TV programming at all: TiVo long neglected apps from third-party streaming services, leading users looking for a better Netflix experience to buy themselves a dedicated streaming box instead. TiVo finally caught up the competition by making its platform fully HTML5-compatible, which immediately leads to better-looking apps from Netflix and YouTube.
TiVo VP of Product Marketing Jim Denney also told me at a recent press event in San Francisco that the company is going to add Opera’s TV app store to the platform in the coming months. This will bring Vimeo and a number of additional TV apps to the digital video recorder.
Denney also emphasized that TiVo’s new devices will support DIAL, the new multiscreen protocol jointly developed by Netflix and YouTube. This will allow consumers to fling videos from their iOS or Android device to their TiVo, much like it is possible on Google’s new Chromecast streaming adapter. However, TiVo isn’t implementing Google Cast, at least not for now – so you won’t be able to mirror your Chrome browser with the device.
Of course, the bigger question is how much of a difference all of this will make for TiVO. The company has seen its retail customer base shrink for years, and is now seeing more growth in its business with pay TV providers, whose customers don’t get to see Netflix and other apps due to licensing restrictions. However, Denney told me that cable companies are starting to war up to third-party apps. “They want to incorporate as much content and as many applications as they can,” he said.