TiVo showed off a transcoder box that let users stream recorded shows to their iPad back at CES, but now the box is no longer a prototype. At the 2012 Cable Show in Boston, the company officially took the wraps off TiVo Stream, a small device that serves as a bridge between your TiVo and your iPad. Assuming both your TiVo and iPad (or iPhone) are on the same network, the TiVo Stream lets iPad users automatically view any program stored on the DVR.
Since you're just viewing content stored on the hard drive, this stream won't interrupt any recordings in progress or use up one of the TiVo's tuners. Offline viewing is another bonus: there's a one-touch button to download any program on your TiVo DVR to your iPad, so you can view it offline and away from your home. We got to see it in action — the interface responded smoothly to our commands, scrubbing through video worked much better than on services like Netflix or Hulu, and downloads from the TiVo to the iPad went reasonably fast. A representative told us that it could transcode from the original recording and download to the iPad about four times faster than real time — so a 20-minute show would copy over in about five minutes. That's not as fast as syncing through iTunes, but when combined with a transcode we can't really complain abou the speed.
Unfortunately, not all programs are downloadable — content from premium TV providers like HBO and Showtime is protected so that it can only be viewed on the original TiVo itself. There's also no option for watching live TV yet, though TiVo spokespeople let us know that was in the works. There's a workaround, though — just start a recording of a live show you want to watch, and then you can being watching on your iPad as soon as the recording starts. TiVo even plans to include a one-touch button called "record and play" that'll shoot to make watching live TV as easy as possible. Those caveats aside, the TiVo Stream looks like a nice way to take your recorded TV content around and out of the house. There's no release date or price available yet, though we should see the TiVo stream from both cable providers and retail outlets this year. As for now, TiVo's only claiming support with iOS, though it's hoping to support Android as well.
In addition to the Stream, TiVo also showed off its new "IP set-top box" (not a final name by any stretch of the imagination). Like the Stream, this box aims to extend your main TiVo's functionality by letting you have the full TiVo experience on multiple TVs. The IP set-top box simply mirrors everything on the house's main TiVo, including live TV and recordings — it's kind of like a TiVo without any hard drive or cable card. Users can view live TV, record programs to the main TiVo's hard drive, or play programs on the DVR. The first two options will use up one of the main TiVo's cable cards, so this device will probably be best paired with the Premier XL4, which has four cable cards. Like the Stream, the IP set-top box should be available later this year from both cable providers and retailers.