TiVo Stream will let users stream at home, carry shows in pocket

You watch TV on your terms, and sometimes you don’t even watch it on an actual TV at all.

And that’s perfectly fine with TiVo.

The company behind the digital video recording device is preparing to launch a gadget this summer that will further enable that behavior by letting users hook up their iPad and iPhone to their main TiVo device to stream and download content.

That means you’ll be able to watch shows recorded or in the process of being recorded from your iOS device anywhere in your home as well as be able to download certain shows you record to take with you anywhere.

The Times reported this development Wednesday, but since then we’ve spoken with a TiVo vice president who let us in on more information.

TiVo Stream hooks up to your main TiVo box through your home Wi-Fi network. It can support up to three iOS devices, and a fourth if you have two TiVo boxes, said Jim Denney, vice president and general manager of product marketing.


Through that connection, users can access any of their recorded content and stream it anywhere in their home.

If they want to watch their shows outside the home, users can download content to their current TiVo iOS app -- which will need updating before doing this -- and save it natively, which takes about one fourth the duration of a show (so an hourlong show wil take about 15 minutes to download).

“The key is giving the consumer the freedom to watch whatever they want, wherever they want,” he said. “We think it’s a natural evolution of the entire ecosystem, bringing content wherever it wants to go.”

Of course, like most technology involving media content, there are some limitations.

You’ll be able to stream some premium content, but you won’t be able to download it. Denney used HBO programming as an example of these kinds of shows that won’t be moving around outside the home.

But other shows, including all content from broadcast networks, will be free to roam around in your pocket.

Denney said TiVo was working out the certification issues and making sure all of its partners were comfortable with TiVo Stream.

TiVo is “very conscious of content protection from an industry standpoint,” he said. “We’re very conscious of protecting content from piracy.”

Currently, only iOS devices are planned for TiVo Stream, but Denney said once the iPhone and iPad get going, TiVo will also look at Android.

But one thing Denney could not answer is how much TiVo Stream will cost consumers.

Pricing will be set by TiVo’s cable partners as it gets closer to launch. And it will also be up to the cable partners to decide whether they want to even distribute the TiVo Stream. What TiVo will do is decide TiVo Stream’s pricing from its retail partners once it lands with them.

However, TiVo Stream is not the only product out there that can do some of these things.

Time Warner Cable has an app for iOS and Android phones and tablets that allows its cutstomers to also watch live TV from within their homes.

DirectTV’s Everywhere app lets its customers watch video-on-demand wherever they are through Android phones or the iPad.

AT&T’s U-Verse Mobile app works with Android, iOS, Blackberry and Windows Phone and lets you watch shows over Wi-Fi from a selection of video-on-demand content.

The apps mentioned above are all free with customers’ subscriptions, but there’s also the Slingbox, which lets you watch TV from your phone or tablet wherever you are. But to use, you need to buy a Slingbox, which costs at least $179.99, and then you have to pay another $29.99 for your device’s app.

So for now, without knowing pricing, it’s hard to determine how good a deal TiVo Stream will be, but if you’re a TiVo customer as well as an iPhone or iPad owner, you have good reason to be excited.


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