TiVo may have a number of lucrative partnerships with pay TV operators, but the company isn’t giving up on cord cutters either: On Monday, TiVo announced a new version of its Roamio DVR that squarely targets people without a TV subscription. The new Roamio OTA only works with an antenna, and will start selling for just $50 at select Best Buy stores next month.
The new TiVo OTA is basically the same as the existing entry-level model, including a 500 GB hard drive, four tuners and apps for streaming services like Netflix and Hulu Plus. What’s missing is the ability to connect to pay TV via Cablecard, so owners will have to stick with over-the-air reception. And as all TiVo’s the Roamio OTA also comes with significant monthly fees: Owners will have to pay $15 a month, and commit to at least one year. There will not be an option to buy Lifetime service for this device.
I reviewed the regular TiVo Roamio entry-level model last year and was turned off by the fact that it doesn’t offer streaming to mobile devices, which is included with the higher-priced models that only work in conjunction with a pay TV subscription. TiVo didn’t change this for the Roamio OTA; users who want to stream recordings to their mobile devices need to buy an additional Stream box, which will set them back another $130.
TiVo isn’t the only company targeting cord cutters with a dedicated DVR. Simple.tv and Tablo both have their own devices that capture and stream over-the-air broadcast signals. On the other end of the spectrum was Aereo, which recorded shows on its own servers before courts put a stop to it in June. TiVo and its hardware DVR competitors don’t face any such legal issues as personal recordings have long been protected by law.
Check out my entire TiVo Roamio review below:
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that TiVo would allow users to buy Lifetime service for the Roamio OTA, but that’s not the case. This story was updated at 11:42am to reflect this.