So the plan had been wait until the new year, supposedly when Android streaming and Opera apps arrive, before considering a TiVo Roamio upgrade. Yet a highly compelling discount came my way via an industry pal and, as you can see above, I was motivated to take action.
My initial Roamio Pro experience is quite positive, starting with the lovely packaging which is in a very different league than my Premiere Elite’s nondescript cardboard marketing. Set-top box build quality feel goods and, while it won’t matter to most, the connections around back are better positioned for installation into my very tight, minimalist TV stand. Unfortunately, I’m not (yet?) digging the new RF/IR remote – it doesn’t have the premium feel that my Glo remotes do and, as previously discussed, is not programmable… and therefore can’t simultaneously power up my Vizio 5.1 soundbar and television. Somewhat related, the remote finder button on the Roamio bezel will be missed by most as it’s barely visible and triggered via touch (with the icon and glow ring not precisely aligned). But, hey, it does play a fun 8-bit TiVo tune that we’ll blog at some point.
On the software side, I generally like the refreshed UI – especially the fonts. However, there are a few areas where the contrast is rather poor… but I’m confident TiVo Design is already on it. More importantly, performance is drastically improved over the Premiere platform and interaction is quite pleasant. It’s still not as quick as I’d like in certain areas, but I’m pretty sure these are programatic decisions and tuning opportunities versus Premiere hardware not meeting Adobe’s minimum requirements. I haven’t yet dug into Netflix, YouTube, and DIAL but imagine performance and interaction is equally improved over my knee-capped Premiere.
Surprisingly, I haven’t yet run into any CableCARD activation issues and perhaps I possess a mythical unlocked one that doesn’t require pairing… as I simply moved it from the Premiere to the Roamio. But I wouldn’t be surprised if I suddenly lose access to premium programming and supposedly the best way to get Verizon FiOS TV assistance is via online chat or Twitter support.
Lastly, I’m slowly and manually transferring recordings from my Lifetimed Elite (which I plan to sell, good thing it’ll be receiving HTML5 app updates and the refreshed UI). And TiVo’s online Season Pass Manager is a nice idea but, in practice, it appears about 1/3rd of the SPs I tried to copy over were flagged as corrupt, as you can see to the left. However, it’s better than starting at square 1, and while I’d appreciate a more automated upgrade path for both existing and future recordings, there are other areas I’d like to see TiVo prioritize. Particularly, the aforementioned Android support and app platform.