Tivo Roamio: The Best DVR You Should Own (Review)

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Ronald Epstein, Oct 20, 2013.

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  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    [​IMG]
    TIVO ROAMIO
    Reviewed by Ronald Epstein
    October, 2013​
    For years I have been enjoying the pains and gains associated with being a Tivo owner. I started with the brand well over a decade ago when the company first introduced an integrated DVR for DirecTV set top boxes. When that association initially ended, I bought my first standalone Tivo unit. A few years later, I upgraded to the Tivo Premiere. ​
    Obviously, I have been immensely enjoying the benefits associated with Tivo which includes it enhanced interface, ease of use, and ability to stream programming, music and photos from your PC/Mac to your display. Tivo's goal has always been to be a complete home media solution, and for that reason, it generally exceeds the experience one gets from the standard DVR set-top boxes offered by cable and satellite companies. ​
    Unfortunately, all this Tivo luxury comes at a rather steep price and if you want to stay ahead of the game and own the latest and greatest DVR from the company, it is going to cost you a pretty penny. It has not been uncommon for me to shell out nearly $700 in hardware and lifetime subscription fees every few years when the company introduces a newer model.​
    Those who have may have recently purchased Tivo's current line of Premiere models may be be a little agitated to learn that those units have now been somewhat outdated with the company's release of a new line of DVRs called ROAMIO. The new name suggests that you can not only stream content to other displays in your home without an additional DVR, but also take your content with you thanks for its ability to stream and download to iOS devices (iPad and iPhone), and with a promise of Android compatibility in the near future. Additionally, Tivo has now made the ability to search and play streaming content across several streaming services even easier and faster than before.​
    I'll break all of this down for you as we move forward into the review. Please be patient, there is a lot to cover. If you want a capsulized summary just jump to the end of the review where I will go over the pros and cons of owning one of these units. I will also highlight the fine points of my review in RED. Please also check out the two videos at the bottom of this review.​
    Tivo's ROAMIO comes in 3 different specs. The TIVO ROAMIO ($199), the TIVO ROAMIO PLUS ($399) and the TV ROAMIO PRO($599). ​
    The TIVO ROAMIO with its 500 GB drive, can record 4 shows at once with up to 75 hours of HD content. The TIVO ROAMIO PLUShas a 1TB hard drive, can record 6 shows at once and up to 150 hours of HD content. The TIVO ROMIO PRO with its 3TB hard drive, can also record 6 shows at once but has the ability to record up to 450 hours of HD content. ​
    All models have built-in Wifi capability, but only the ROAMIO PLUS and ROAMIO PRO units allow you to stream video content to your iOS devices within the home network (and eventually outside the network). The base TIVO ROAMIO does not have iOS streaming ability unless you purchase an additional $130 adapter. So, if streaming to mobile devices is your desire, it almost makes it worth investing in the PLUS model instead of having to purchase a separate adapter. ​
    Finally, I should mention that only the TIVO ROAMIO supports an HD antenna connection. The two higher end units require a cable subscription. I should also mention that Tivo only supports cable TV service or Verizon Fios. It does not support satellite or AT&T U_Verse.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG] TIVO ROAMIO PLUS
    This was my model of choice based on my what I felt best met my suited viewing needs. It is the middle of the 3-tiered models and the first of the upper two that offers streaming to mobile devices.​
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    Ridiculous name aside, I am really pleased with the new aesthetics of these models with their more modernized design, a touch-sensitive power button, a singular circular green recording indicator and a cool remote finder (see below). Seems the logo also gets a revision as the little Tivo guy is now completely faceless.​
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    The unit features a single coax connector, two USB ports, eSATA and a CableCard slot. You'll find HDMI, Toslink and Analog audio/video outputs. The unit also includes 802.11a/b/g/n Wifi that allows streaming to other devices.​
    [​IMG]
    The basic TIVO ROAMIO is the most streamlined of all three devices, having the smallest overall footprint. In this photo above you can see that the TIVO ROAMIO PLUS (top) is fairly close in overall dimensions of the older Tivo Premiere model. For anyone needing a reference I have provided a chart of dimensions below...​
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    Inside the box is exactly what you would expect to be included: Power supply, remote and batteries and a manual to get you started.​
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    Coming off of previous models, Tivo has somewhat downsized their remote and made it more bright and colorful, which is rather a good thing. It's curved backside makes for a nice placement within the hand. It takes two AA batteries (included). The smaller design makes it easier to operate the remote with one hand. Two new cool things about this remote: First, it is no longer reliant on IR. When in RF mode the remote does not require a line of sight to operate the equipment. Second, if you happen to lose the remote somewhere in the room, just press the small button on the front of the Tivo unit (next to the lit green circle) and your lost remote will sing a tune for you to find it.
    [​IMG] INITIAL SETUP
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Having done setups on Tivo units multiple times over the years, I find it to be an effortless process. In fact, I believe the only problem that most people may have will come from their cable provider. I'll talk more about that in a moment. As the screen above indicates, setup should take no longer than 30 minutes. In my case, from start to finish, it took about 20 minutes.​
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Entering your zip code during the setup process brings up choices of cable or Fios providers in your area. You will also have the opportunity to confirm you made the correct choice of provider as you will be asked to verify that proper channels are being displayed on your setup screen.​
    The TIVO ROAMIO PLUS requires that a cable card be inserted into the rear of the unit during setup and normal operation. I have only experience with Verizon Fios in knowing that they use a Multi-Stream ("M") card. Take it from me, setting up a new Tivo unit with the Fios M-Card usually involves phone calls to tech support -- even if you are simply swapping it out from an older unit to this new one. There is usually an issue with anyone that has premium channel subscriptions. These premium channels may not initially work until you call support and have them reactivate the card. In my case, it took three separate phone calls to Verizon before I was actually able to get the unit fully activated with all my premium content.​
    [​IMG]
    Those of you like myself who are upgrading from a previous Tivo unit will be very happy to learn that you can easily transfer all your Season Pass programming by visiting their online site. If you look at the web screen capture above, you can see I am transferring my shows from the older DVR (left) to the new Tivo Roamio (right). ​
    In fact, probably a great time to mention here that there is so much you can do online -- and via Tivo Apps on iOS and Android -- that allow you to peek at your recorded content and schedule shows when you are away from home. Quite often, I'll hear a co-worker talk about a movie or show they have recently seen. I'll go to the Tivo app on my phone and schedule it for recording -- right from the workplace.​
    [​IMG] BECOMING FAMILIAR WITH YOUR TIVO ROAMIO PLUS
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    Welcome to Tivo Central! This will become your home screen for accessing everything across the Tivo platform. For newbies to Tivo, it's certainly quite a bit of brilliant HD eye candy to the eyes. Those coming from Tivo Premiere, are already familiar with this interface as not much has changed here....almost. ​
    The biggest problem Tivo Premiere owners had was the clunkiness in navigating the menu. It was often a bit slow and cumbersome to move around the menu structure. This has been greatly improved in Tivo Roamio. You can tell that there is a faster processor at work here, enabling fast and smooth movement across the various screens/menus. Overall response is more instantaneous than before. That's a huge improvement.​
    While navigating all the menus from Tivo Central -- including searching shows -- there is a small pop-up window in the upper right corner that allows you to continue watching whatever live programming is on your screen. This was a feature added in the Premiere series and certainly, I am happy to see it here.​
    Unfortunately, when you dig deeper into the settings menus, you lose the HD interface completely (see above). I had hoped this would be something that Tivo would have improved upon. Perhaps they felt that these less frequently accessed menus did not need the HD treatment.​
    [​IMG]
    An interesting new feature to TIVO ROAMIO is "What To Watch Now," which gives you a thumbnail look at the most popular programs available to watch at the moment in several categories. This is a great feature when you need to watch something but just don't know what it is you want to watch. Selections are broken down into categories to more easily locate programming that is appealing to you.​
    [​IMG]
    Another notable feature, previously introduced in the Premiere line, is the ability to search for content not only across the television guide, but included streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, AOL On, Spotify, Amazon, YouTube and MLB.TV Premium. I found that returned results for searched content are now much more instantaneous than they were on previous models. Additionally when selecting results for web-related content (such at Neflix), it was nice to see that after a few quick clicks, the streamed presentation started quickly.​
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    I'll admit it has been over a year since I last subscribed to Neflix. I had to actually reactivate my account for this review. I was a bit disheartened to see that there doesn't seem to be much changed as far as the interface is concerned. I suppose I am spoiled somewhat by Netflix on Apple TV which is very robust. Here, it seems kind of clunky and outdated. Not that this will matter much when you are launching Netflix via a system search -- but on its own, it could be improved. ​
    I attempted to access Amazon Instant Video, and was initially upset to find that even though I am a PRIME member, there is no way to sign in and associate the free streaming benefits of that service. I contacted Tivo about this shortcoming and I am being told that they working on resolving that problem for a future update.​
    [​IMG]
    Also new, and something that surprised me, is a small mini-guide that comes in as an overlay when you double press the Select button. There are also many other manners in which the television guide can be brought up. The guide holds 14 days worth of upcoming programming information.​
    Of course you get the standard assortment of standard DVR functions that Tivo has perfected on its platform over the years...​
    SEASON PASS: Allows you to record every episode of your favorite show, opting for all episodes (reruns) or just the new ones. You can also select how many shows you want to keep before Tivo starts auto-deleting them. It's the perfect "set it and forget it" option to keeping up with your favorite shows.​
    WISH LIST: Is there a movie or show that is currently not showing up in the program guide? Simply enter a title, actor, director or keyword. When the program airs days/weeks/months later, Tivo will be there to record it.​
    COLLECTIONS: Allows you you to customize shows you wish to record according to specific themes. For instance, you could set it to record as many of AFI'S TOP 100 MOVIES as is currently airing. You can click here to see an example of some recommended collections you can program into your Tivo.​
    [​IMG] ROAMIO, OH ROAMIO....
    [​IMG]
    Sorry for the bad pun...couldn't help myself...but really, the biggest reason you would want to consider the TIVO ROAMIO PLUS or the TIVO ROAMIO PRO is for its roaming/streaming capabilities to iOS devices -- and soon -- Android.​
    With a Tivo app installed on your iPad or iPhone, the streaming process will work flawlessly for most everyone. I say that, because I found out the hard way that if you have a device that has been modified (aka "Jailbroken"), streaming will absolutely not work. Fortunately I borrowed a friend's iPad that wasn't jailbroken to test the streaming capabilities.​
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    From the iOS app on your iPad or iPhone, you can go into the MY SHOWS folder and find a mirror of the same menu found on your television display. This easily allows you to locate and select content that is already sitting on your Tivo unit. With one click you can either immediately stream that content to your device to watch instantly -or- actually download it to your device to watch later, say on an airplane flight. Tivo will actually use the space on your portable unit's drive to download and store selected content you have already recorded on your home unit. Please note that a WiFi connection is required for all streaming/download functions.
    [​IMG]
    For me, this was the single biggest reason for me to upgrade to TIVO ROAMIO PLUS. Before this new unit arrived on the scene, I would have to use software on my computer to transfer programming to it, have it then converted to a format that would enable me to retransfer it to to my iPad. Now, it's all done for you, quickly and effortlessly.​
    By the way, though I did not download any content to my iPad, I was very pleased to find that there were no hiccups in the streaming. I look forward to future updates that will allow me to stream content from my Tivo outside of my home network. Wouldn't it be great to stay at a hotel far from home and have access to all your Tivo recorded content? That reality seems to be close at hand.​
    Let me also note here that as a Mac user, I have always enjoyed the fact that Roxio Toast software comes with an application calledTivoToGo. It allows you transfer content from your Tivo to your Mac (both connected to the home network) and then burn a copy of that programming to an optical disc, if you wish. ​
    [​IMG] THE FINAL VERDICT
    PROS: These are the perhaps the best DVRs on the market. The sluggishness that plagued the Tivo Premiere units has been resolved. These new babies have more processing power, making navigation across menus smooth and responsive. Searching for programming across broadcast and streaming platforms is a huge plus -- greatly heightening the chances that you are going to find the exact program you have been searching for. Additionally, the search functionality yields faster and more relevant results than previous models. Media streaming on the PLUS and PRO models work extremely well, allowing you to take your recorded content anywhere in the home and soon, anywhere else. ​
    CONS: With DishHopper now offering commercial skipping, it would have been nice to see Tivo add that feature to this lineup. There are still advertisements being pushed to the Tivo Central menu and when pausing a program, which is an eyesore and makes no sense to anyone who is paying the exorbitant subscription fees to use the service. Speaking of which, the biggest hindrance to owning the Tivo of your dreams is the cost factor. Tivo is the Cadillac of DVRs, and they certainly seem to charge you as much. While I would highly suggest the TIVO ROAMIO PLUS as the entry-level choice with mobile streaming, the hardware comes at a cost of $400. Then you either pay a monthly subscription of $14.95 (with a year commitment) or $499 for lifetime service.​
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    (5 thumbs up out of 5)​
    It's nearly impossible not to give the Tivo Roamio Plus/Pro the highest of ratings. I have been with the Tivo family for over a decade. There is nothing that I have found that equals the user experience you get with this brand. While it's costly as all heck to own one of these DVRs, I believe it will be the most used and enjoyed appliance in your home. My brothers and I gave a Tivo to my 85 year-old Mother for Christmas, and she uses it every single day to record her favorite shows. It's so easy to use, even she has no problem with its navigation. ​
    Please enjoy the videos below​
    Overview of the Tivo Roamio Plus
    HTF Visits Tivo at Cedia 2013​
     
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  2. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Is this a new review separate from the existing Roamio thread? Not sure where to put TiVo comments
     
  3. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Feel free to put them here -- especially for the fact that the folks from Tivo
    are probably going to be following it.
     
  4. McCrutchy

    McCrutchy Second Unit

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    Hi Ron,

    I read through your review, and I'm pleased to see how you like the Roamio. I just had to upgrade my Series 3 to get several FiOS channels that are now being encoded in MPEG-4 AVC--i had not realized that this had been going on for several months, until I discovered Sony Movie Channel (which I had no idea existed) and MGM HD would not come in, and (according to a FiOS tech I had out recently) HBO, Cinemax and the broadcast networks are apparently set to go to MPEG-4 AVC on FiOS shortly. TiVo Premiere units are apparently able to handle MPEG-4 AVC as well, but unfortunately, the Series 3 (and obviously anything older) can only decode MPEG-2 channel streams.

    Anyway, I had (still have) the HD XL with the WD My DVR Expander unit (for 300 HD hours) so I immediately wanted the Pro model. And I was shocked to see that, looking in the settings menu, it actually had 476 HD hours capacity and 473 HD hours free on initial install. I like to record a lot of material and hang onto it, but I don't even feel I need another WD extender, what with that much capacity built right in.

    Beyond the wonderfully gigantic capacity of the Pro, I really like how much faster and responsive the interface is from the Series 3. The difference is almost like night and day, especially keying in search terms, and scrolling through the guide. One of the most annoying things about the Series 3 was how long it took to go through all the guide information for a particular channel or set of channels, and with Roamio, seeing what will air on HDNet Movies over the next two weeks takes a fraction of the time that it would on the HD XL.

    The What to Watch Now feature is a great touch, and with the recording capacity of the Roamio Pro and its six tuners, the DVR has already recorded over 100 Tivo Suggestions for me, most of which are in HD, because I delete almost all the SD channels out of my channel lineup.

    One omission that I thought was strange is that the Roamio guide does not have content descriptors next to ratings. The HD XL guide would have relevant content descriptors (V: Violence, L: Language, N: Nudity, etc.) next to the rating of a movie, and I am curious why these are not present in the Roamio guide.

    I don't like to stream much (especially when streaming is not free), so I can only be of limited help here, but I will say that streaming YouTube is pretty good, and I like that I can pair the TiVo box with a computer, so that, if I search for a YouTube video on my laptop (which is easier and faster than using the TiVo), it will play automatically on the TiVo. Perhaps I will re-activate my Netflix account to try that out at some point.

    Unfortunately, I don't have any IOS devices, so I can't test the streaming of recordings, but when that capability is extended to Android and other devices, I will try it out. And I do like the idea of being able to stream from your DVR outside your home network--provided the streaming quality is up to par, of course.

    There's just one issue I have with the Roamio Pro: I am connecting via my FiOS wireless home network and I am getting dropped from the TiVo Service quite a bit, and dropped to the point where I have to go into the Settings menu and take the Roamio back through the network setup process. I switched to using MoCA (which is not something I know anything about) and that seemed to significantly lessen the problem, but it is strange, because the Roamio is sitting in the same spot and position as my Series 3 (with its wireless dongle) was, and the Series 3 rarely had any issues with losing the connection.

    Additionally, I am seeing that sometimes, a recording has been split into two parts, which, in my experience, is a sign that the box experienced a brown-out or power outage. Since this splitting of recordings has happened 3-4 times, on different channels with no clear pattern, I am wondering whether the dropped TiVo connection has anything to do with that.

    All in all, I really like my new Roamio Pro, and the freedom, customization and capacity it affords me as a user. The only bad part is that now I can't really ditch cable TV like I planned to in the near future...TiVo will probably keep me a cable subscriber for another few years at least.
     
  5. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    I've been looking at the base Roamio, but the dealbreaker is always the monthly fee. If it were half that, I would probably consider it. I have my share of frustrations using my Mac with EyeTV, especially when it crashes just by sitting there unused for a week, but it's easy enough to catch up on shows direct from the network, though it's not ideal. The fact that I usually delete anything as soon as I watch it, makes it hard to justify a monthly fee for content so temporary.
     
  6. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    I just wish Tivo and Directv would play nice together again. Genie is great, but...it isn't Tivo.

    I'm just surprised this new go round for Tivo finally caught up with what Directv has had for years...

    Ability to watch "elsewhere".
    Storage capacity(forget what series started, but Directv HD DVR has had the ability to stack outside storage drives)
     
  7. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Give me some time to reply to some of the comments made here.

    In the meantime, at the request of the folks at Tivo, I made some minor
    corrections in my review.

    The pricing I had for the models were slightly off.

    Tivo Roamio is $199, Romio Plus is $399 and Roamio Pro is $599

    Additionally, the simultaneous search across broadcast and streaming
    web content is not new. It was actually introduced in the Premiere line.
     
  8. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Terrific review Ron, thanks for taking one for the team and putting it through its paces. Sounds like a lot of the old hiccups are a thing of the past.
    As the OP of said thread I'm fine with comments going here from here on out, it's been a while and Ron's post is a lot more informative.

    Had it not been for the ridiculous lifetime subscription price I would have jumped on the same model Ron reviews here. I actually glossed over that detail in my intial enthusiasm for these new boxes.

    As it is, no I'm not going to spend more than the price of the unit for subscription services when the cable companies provide this information for free. Had there been commercial skipping you MIGHT have gotten me to bite on that, but as of right now no way.

    I've wanted a Tivo forever. They seemed to have fixed all the issues I've had with them save the two killer ones. I'm right in the wheelhouse of their potential customer base. But until those two issues are sorted I continue to look on in envy. Especially since (and please correct me if I am wrong) the lifetime is tied to a particular unit and not the owner of the unit (so when these get refreshed in another 3 years I'd have to pay all over again, right?
     
  9. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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  10. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I paid lifetime for the mini and Roamio Plus. It's cheaper than monthly over three years, and has good resale on eBay. At least it did. Maybe TV is dead and everyone uses Netflix in four years. We'll see :)All primary menus are HD. Secondary menus, like settings and pandora are still sd. Streaming to the mini and to my iPad is flawless. Downloading shows to my iPad to watch on the go is a game changer for me. I now kinda wish I'd got the Pro. All five seasons of Breaking Bad takes up 75% of my capacity. Amazon Instant Video works. Amazon Prime has never worked with TiVo. It's rumored that's going to change.
     
  11. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    To quickly respond here -- as I really haven't had the time to fully commit
    to commenting...

    It's a shame that Tivo has made it so difficult to get this hardware into the
    hands of consumers due to pricing.

    Absolutely, you get something worlds ahead of the boxes that the cable
    companies provide you and I agree that there should be a premium attached
    for that kind of luxury.

    As has already been brought up, you have people that are very interested in
    this product but hesitate to purchase because of the subscription costs involved
    once you buy the hardware.

    I don't know how well Tivo is doing in the marketplace, but they could certainly
    dominate the DVR market if they came up with a more reasonable plan of hardware
    and subscription ownership.
     
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  12. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Well said. I said the same thing about my Sirius radio. Loved the service (especially when getting all of Sirius and XM combined) but couldn't stomach the cost vice the amount of time I would use it OR the fact that it was tied to device and not to user. I get that they are in business to make money. I get that they offer a premium product with a premium price. In these cases tho the value is not there FOR ME and it seems there is no competition from anyone else, so I go without. Maybe someday things will change and I will sign up, we'll see.
     
  13. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Great review Ron. I always appreciate all the effort you put into your reviews.

    The ONLY reason that I have never owned a Tivo is the subscription you have to pay on top of the unit price.
     
  14. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Thank you, Parker!

    Yeah, that's the single biggest problem Tivo has on their hands....

    ...and I'm kinda thinking Tivo doesn't even see it as a problem as
    they haven't changed their business model for the past several years.

    Perhaps they are just fine being a luxury item with the amount of people
    that pay the price for their product.
     
  15. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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  16. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I've got it working, but its so low quality, it's of no use to me. I've got Fios at home with 5 Mbps upload at home, and I'm testing it at someone's home with 5 Mbps download. I get 2 boxes for video quality. It's heavily mpeg artifacted. I tried watching a Chopped episode and I could make out the time on the on-screen timer.If you know you have excellent upload and download speeds for your usage, it may really useful. And maybe this is normal for similar systems, like Slingbox or Netflix. I don't think I'll use it if this was a typical experience. I'm concerned that download to ipad seems broken now. That's of real use to me. Hopefully it's something temporary.
     
  17. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Following up on my previous post: I tried streaming an episode of Robot Chicken. It started it low quality, but partway through it noticeably improved. Perhaps there some buffering happening in the background. So, streaming is more useful than it first seemed. I later successfully downloaded, via OOH, a full hour of Shark Tank at medium quality (600MB). I watched a previously downloaded copy of The Michael J Fox show, and it kept downloading in the background. I started watching about the Shark Tank halfway through its download. It completed downloading while I watched, and was able to view the whole episode without issue.This was a very positive experience. I'm hopeful that when I get back home, I'll be able to download shows directly, quickly and easily again.
     
  18. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Since the big announcement this week from TIvo, I just haven't
    had the time to try the out-of-home streaming.

    Glad to see you put it to the test, Dave. I look forward to using
    it the next time I need to travel out of town.
     
  19. DennisBassi

    DennisBassi Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Real Name:
    Dennis
    I have the base premiere and love it. I have not had cable or satellite since 1999 and have no plans on ever getting it with many Internet options available as well as my library of various media. Further, broadcast local stations are of better quality (uncompressed) than broadcast cable locals. All this being said, I am extremely disappointed in the base Roamio. New prospective Tivo users who want to use their antenna should consider the following:The base premiere is compatible with the Tivo Stream Device, so Roamio not needed. As Mr. Epstein stated in his correction, the Premiere can search across providers. The Roamio removed the component outputs, which is what I use, being out of Hdmi'sThe Roamio removed the separate antenna input taking away the ability to switch between antenna and cable--thus shackling you to compressed local channels if you have cable. I'll forgo the faster processor in lieu of all of the functionality that they have removed from the only model that allows OTA reception. It would be nice to have the extra tuners, but given that I do not have cable, I find that 2 tuners is more than adequate. If the Tivo folks are following this thread, they really should consider how they have shorted their OTA customers with the base Roamio vs. the previous Premiere model.
     
  20. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
    Moderator

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    Location:
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    David Fischer
    A coincident weekend trip gives a chance to try it out. Downloading at home, before going on a trip, is the solution I prefer. Best quality and works in airports :)But for the person too busy to get stuff downloaded before hitting the road, it's a nice alternative. If you're using it frequently, you'll want to look at having good upload speeds at home and accept lower quality playback. 5 Mbps up / down takes over 30 min to transfer a 30 min HD sitcom.
     

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