TiVo goes after cord-cutters with new device

By By Doug Gross CNN
Published On: Aug 26 2014 04:00:09 PM EDT
Updated On: Aug 27 2014 08:08:29 AM EDT

TiVo

(CNN) -

Did you cut your cable but miss recording your favorite shows? TiVo might have the answer.

The DVR company announced a new, $50 device that lets cord-cutters record over-the-air network shows and watch them later on their televisions.

The TiVo Roamio OTA DVR (the OTA stands for "over the air") can record and store programs aired by CBS, ABC, NBC, PBS, Fox, Univision and other networks. It also connects to Web services, including YouTube and Netflix.

"We recognize some viewers opt not to receive the benefits a subscription with a cable provider offers," TiVo chief marketing officer Ira Bahr said in a news release. "TiVo Roamio OTA makes sure that they, too, can get a best in class DVR experience through an antenna."

The announcement comes two months after the Supreme Court ruled that Aereo, a similar service, violated copyright laws. Aereo captured shows from the broadcast airwaves and let users stream them digitally to their computers, smartphones or tablets.

The difference, TiVo says, is that the OTA uses devices in the home to record video, instead of recording it outside the home then streaming it to digital devices.

"The technology is not anything new," TiVo spokesman Steve Wymer told Bloomberg. "We never had legal challenges regarding recording content in the home for an individual consumer."

TiVo's news release was printed under the title, "Simple, Brilliant and Legal."

You know you're in peculiar times when an established digital company makes a point of clarifying that its new product is legal.

While still dwarfed by the nation's millions of homes with cable, a growing number of consumers have begun "cutting the cord" in recent years -- opting to rely exclusively on network broadcasts and streaming Web services like Netflix, Amazon and YouTube for their movie and TV show needs.

The OTA can record up to four programs at the same time and has 500 GB of storage, enough for 75 hours of high-definition recordings.

It will be available September 14 in a limited release at Best Buy stores, with more availability, presumably, if the product succeeds in those markets.

One thing that cable-haters may not love: in addition to its $50 price, the Roamio OTA comes with a $15 monthly fee and a minimum one-year subscription. That's still a lot less than most cable packages, but one more fee to pile on top of those other Web-content subscriptions.

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