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TiVo Roamio OTA review: This DVR would be a cord-cutter's dream machine, if not for the subscription fee

Michael Brown | July 20, 2015
If you haven't cut the pay-TV cord because you don't want to give up your DVR, you should take a good look at TiVo's Roamio OTA.

The program guide itself, meanwhile is top shelf. It's split into two columns, with the programming available at the chosen time displayed in the left-hand column, and all the programming available on the chosen channel in the right-hand column. Information about the selected show (season and episode for series, plot summaries, resolution, genre, and date first aired) appears above these two columns.

A thumbnail window to the right of this shows live video (or recorded video if that's what you're watching when you call up the guide). Unlike some guides I've used, TiVo lets you go back in time to see programs you might have missed so you can set up repeats or other episodes for recording.

If you prefer a more conventional grid guide, with the channels in one column and several hours of programming displayed in multiple columns on the left, you can easily switch to that view. You can also use shortcut buttons on the remote to customize either view, including to display only the channels you can tune in, only the channels you've designated as favorites, or only selected categories (movies, sports, children's programming, and so on).

When you find a program in the guide that you're interested in, press the Info button: A window pops up showing you the same information as in the top window of the guide, but with three buttons added to the bottom: Explore This Show is for people who enjoy researching what they're watching. It opens another window where you can find information about the cast, dates and titles of upcoming episodes, and it offers recommendations of similar shows.

Record This Episode does the obvious, but it doesn't give you the option of recording the entire series. For that, you need to go into TiVo's OnePass options. I'll go into OnePass in a bit more depth now--it's one of the Roamio OTA's most powerful features--but TiVo erred in making such an important task so difficult to perform.

TiVo OnePass and TiVo Central

When you record an episode of a TV series, you typically want to record at least all the new episodes in that series. But you need to create what TiVo calls a OnePass to do this. A OnePass can search both broadcast schedules and streaming services to track down episodes you might have missed. This is where you choose whether you want to record only new episodes, or both those and repeats.

You can set the recordings to be deleted as the hard drive fills up, or you can keep all recordings (which might prevent new events from being recorded). Finally, you can start recording early or on time; or stop recording late or on time.


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