TiVo has revealed details on the new Roamio OTA, a set-top box and DVR for those who want time-shifting and recording but don’t have cable or satellite service. Based on the existing Roamio, the $50 box hooks up to a regular HD antenna and packs four tuners for recording free over-the-air TV, though TiVo itself will levy a charge.
There’s also a 500 GB hard-drive inside, which is good for up to 75 hours of HD content recording, and the Roamio OTA can squirt live and recorded video across the internet to the TiVo Stream app on smartphones and tablets.
Meanwhile, the universal search covers both OTA and on-demand content, meaning that options that are playing live or that can be seen on Netflix or YouTube will all show up in search results. TiVo also bundles a “What to Watch” feature, that recommends content based on what’s currently on, what’s coming next, and what’s showing that evening.
Collections of content themed by seasons, topics, Academy Award winners, and other topics are also included.
Exactly what channels users will get will depend on where they are and the strength of their signal. Possibilities include ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, and Univision; the channel guide is customizable, so that the channels you’re not actually interested in can be hidden.
Whether that’s worth paying TiVo a monthly fee (when you can get more basic DVRs for a single, upfront fee) depends on how much you want the company’s notoriously simple-to-use interface and services.
The TiVo Roamio OTA will be offered in “select” markets from September 14th, TiVo says, priced at $49.99 upfront and then $14.99 per month thereafter. There’s a minimum one-year agreement.