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Review: New TiVo delivers for avid TV viewers

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I have stopped channel surfing since I got my first TiVo in 2001. There’s always something better to watch now that TiVo has helped me find and record programming. After just a few hours with Roamio, I was discovering even more shows and movies I want to watch.

And with streaming video, it does a good job of finding all that content. With one search, I can tell that Netflix has only the first four and a half seasons of "Breaking Bad." That same search tells me that if I want more recent episodes, I need to buy them through Amazon Instant Video or wait for reruns on AMC. With Roku, I have to search for online content one service at a time.

At a glance

About Tivo’s Roamio

The fifth-generation DVRs from TiVo Inc. comes in three flavors: a $200 basic model with 75 hours of high-definition recording, a $400 Roamio Plus with 150 hours and a $600 Roamio Pro with 450 hours. All three require TiVo service, which costs $15 a month with a one-year commitment, $20 a month with no commitment or a one-time payment of $500 for the life of the device.

The Plus and the Pro come with the ability to stream recorded shows on iPhones and iPads, with Android support to come. Initially limited to when you are connected to your home Wi-Fi network, the feature will work at hotels, at work and elsewhere this fall. The streaming feature replaces the need for a $130 TiVo Stream box. All three Roamio versions expand on TiVo’s strengths in helping viewers find shows.

The Roamios are available online through TiVo, Amazon.com Inc. and Best Buy starting Tuesday. They will also hit Best Buy’s physical stores in the coming weeks.

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You can probably cobble together a bunch of services and devices that do what TiVo does. With the new Roamio, TiVo is the one that does it all and does it well.

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