Recording Over the Air TV Channels – A TiVo Roamio OTA Review

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New pricing & new features: Time to take a 2nd look at Tivo Roamio DVR

Roamio OTA Review

One of the best DVRs on the market today is the TiVo Roamio. Despite a few bumps in the road including a difficult setup process, the popular DVR has come into its own and is a good choice for those wanting to complete their cord-cutting experience.  

For those of you unfamiliar with it, the TiVo Roamio is an OTA DVR capable of recording four shows at once. It integrates popular streaming apps like Netflix into the guide, and has a 500 GB storage capacity. Like many other DVRs on the market, you pay a monthly fee for DVR services or you can pay a one-time fee for lifetime service.

Not familiar with TiVo? Here is a quick breakdown of the different products they offer:

Tivo Options

Plex for Tivo

One of the downsides to the Roamio was that it wasn’t very good at playing videos stored on other devices and vice versa; and even then you had to purchase the TiVo Stream feature in order to do so.

plex for tivoHowever, earlier in June, Plex released an app for the TiVo.

Based off of the Plex app designed for smart TVs, the TiVo Plex app offers an easy setup and a mostly intuitive experience. As with every other Plex app, adding movies can sometimes be a hassle but the difficulties will seem insignificant compared to what you save when you don’t have to purchase the TiVo Stream. Read what is Plex to learn more. 

Apple TV for Tivo

If you own Apple products, you’ll be excited to know that TiVo now supports streaming through the Apple TV.  Instead of having to connect directly to the Roamio, any television connected to the Apple TV will be able to stream content from the Roamio via AirPlay. Sadly, you will only be able to stream from the Roamio as long as you as on the same network as the Roamio; so no streaming while you’re away from home.

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TiVo Without Subscription

An even more exciting development is the announcement that TiVo is reducing the price of its lifetime subscription (NO MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION FEE) as well as the price of new and refurbished DVRs. Typically a refurbished Roamio would cost you around $100, a new one would run you about $200, and the lifetime subscription would cost you $500.

You can read about my disappointments in their previous pricing model by reading the 2014 post: IS TIVO ROAMIO OTA A TRUE CABLE TV ALTERNATIVE?

But under the current deal that they have going on right now; a refurbished Roamio costs $50, a new one is $200, and the lifetime membership has been cut to $250. If you purchased the refurbished model, it would take you a little less than two years to start saving money; which is not as long as you might think.

Check Amazon pricing here (Hint: on sale for $299 with Lifetime Service as of 11.01.15)

Now you may be wondering why TiVo is offering such a good deal on what’s been a relatively expensive product and service for a long time. While TiVo would undoubtedly say it’s because they love helping their customers save money, the real answer is a bit more practical.

Introducing TiVo Bolt

According to tech blogger David Zatz, TiVo is planning on rolling out with a new product called Bolt in the coming months. While not much is known about it, TiVo describes it as a “Unified Entertainment Experience,” which Zatz believes to mean it will serve as a TiVo replacement.

Read our full TiVo Bolt Review here

If it was true, TiVo would most likely want to clear out its inventory and what better way to do that than announce a fire sale? It’s a smart move that benefits everyone, a textbook win-win. Some people may want to hold out for the Bolt, and they’re not crazy for wanting to, but personally I don’t think that’s a great idea.

First off, going back to Zatz’s blog: “Industry sources suggest this is primarily a substantive design refresh as they continue to rebrand.” So while the Bolt will eventually surpass the Roamio in functionality, it won’t necessarily do so in the beginning.

Second, while early adoption of technology may be trendy; you wind up paying more money for a device with fewer features. I don’t know about you, but I hate paying companies huge sums of money to beta-test a product when I could have just waited for the complete package and paid even less.

Think about it: the first iPad was released five years ago and cost around $800. As cool as it was; it became a relic in less than a year and plummeted in price. I wouldn’t be surprised if the first generation of TiVo Bolt doesn’t do the same thing.

But what do you think? Should people buy the Bolt on day one, or am I right about the Roamio? Sound off in the comments below!

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