What You Get
Tivo’s lowest-price model, Roamio OTA, sells for $49.99. It’s currently available on a limited basis in select Best Buy stores, but will probably come to a store near you soon. It’s strictly an OTA recorder with streaming video; you can’t use this model to record cable or satellite programming.
The step-up model, dubbed just Roamio, sells for $199.99. Unlike the OTA-only model, this Roamio lets you record both OTA and cable programming. Other than that rather significant difference, it has the same size hard disk as the Roamio OTA, and the same streaming media options.
Obviously, Roamio OTA is designed specifically for those users who have completely cut the cable cord. If you get most of your programming from the Internet but still rely on your local television stations for network programming, this is the model for you.
The more expensive Roamio model is for those who still have cable but get some or all network programming over the air from local stations. It’s the more flexible of the two units, but if you’ve completely cut the cable cord you can save $150 and go with the less expensive Roamio OTA model, instead.
(Whichever Roamio model you choose, you’ll need to subscribe to the ongoing TiVo service. This will cost you $14.99 a month, and you’ll need to make a one-year commitment.)
In terms of technical specs, both boxes include four ATSC digital tuners for receiving and recording over-the-air digital signals up to 1080i HD quality. You also get a 500GB hard drive, and both wireless (WiFi) and wired (Ethernet) network connections. Both boxes come with their own full-function remote controls, work with Logitech and other universal remotes, and can also be operated from your iOS or Android phone or tablet with the TiVo mobile app.
Operate Roamio with the TiVo mobile app.
Both Roamio and Roamio OTA boxes are small and unobtrusive. Each box is only a little over 14 inches wide, a little under inches tall, and 7 and a half inches deep. They’re also light, weighing in at a tad under 4 pounds. It’s a good looking piece of equipment, with rounded corners and a modern design aesthetic that will look right at home next to your flat-screen TV.