I do an awful lot of “TV” watching on my iPad these days. Yet I also remain devoted to my TiVo DVR box, which is connected to the HDTV in my living room. So TiVo’s upcoming TiVo Stream — a gizmo that lets you stream shows recorded on a TiVo to iOS devices — sounds like it was born to blend my two favorite ways of watching TV together. I was intrigued by the concept when TiVo gave me a sneak peek last month, and now the company has announced that the product will be available this summer.
The Stream is a small external box that connects to a TiVo Premiere unit. It can stream shows across your wifi network to multiple devices at once — iPhones and iPads at least, though it sounds like apps for other platforms might be in the works — and also lets you download and store programs so you can watch them later when you’re not at home. (What you can’t do is stream a show out of your home, across the Internet and onto a remote device, Slingbox style.)
The whole idea reminds me of a modern remake of TiVoToGo, a feature for transferring TiVo across a network onto a PC or Mac. The company introduced that years ago, in the pre-iPhone era, and it turned out to be pretty cumbersome. Thanks to faster networks and the streaming capability and iPads and iPhones, the same general notion now sounds more appealing.
TiVo hasn’t disclosed TiVo Stream’s price. You’ll need it and a TiVo Premiere, and will need to pay for the TiVo service on either a monthly basis or in one lump sum. As before, one of TiVo’s challenges is convincing enough folks that the cumulative cost is worth it, in a world of services that don’t require special hardware (such as Netflix) and boxes that don’t require monthly fees (like Roku). I hope that the scuttlebutt that TiVo is planning to build this feature into future TiVos is the real deal.
Still, this new box will let TiVo fans get more out of the hardware and service they’re already paying for. And for holdouts like me, who are clinging to old pre-Premiere TiVos, it might be a sizable incentive to upgrade.