Better mobile TV: TiVo Stream puts a DVR in your pocket

Of all the options that mobile TV offers, recording and playback of shows is not often available. But TiVo aims to change that this summer with a new device that solves a goal many have had: to have a DVR right on your mobile device. Could this be the future of mobile?

TiVo Stream is a small box that hooks up to your existing Wi-Fi network. The box streams content from from TiVo unit to up to three iOS devices (iPad, iPhone) and can even stream to four devices if you happen to have two TiVo DVR units. With this setup, users can access any of their recorded content anywhere their Wi-Fi network reaches.

But it gets better. Say you leave your Wi-Fi network? No problem. Users can download their shows from their TiVo DVR to their TiVo iOS app and save it natively. Saving entire shows is fairly speedy, with about one-fourth the duration needed, meaning a one hour show takes about 15 minutes to transfer and a half hour takes about 7 minutes to download.

There are a few catches. Premium content such as HBO can stream but can’t be transferred. So you can watch “Game of Thrones” and “True Blood” on your Wi-Fi network on your iPhone, but can’t move it to your device. But other than some premium networks that don’t allow this, most network shows can be easily moved to your mobile device. Right now, TiVo is focused on supporting iOS devices such as iPad and iPhone, but as soon as that is steady and rolling, it will take a look at supporting the Android platform.

While there are many apps that allow streaming from cable and satellite television, such as the app from Time Warner Cable, most don’t allow watching or transferring of prerecorded shows. TiVo hopes to blaze this new avenue in a big way, and wants to offer the convenience of watching the shows you want, when you want and, most importantly, where you want. Other options are currently out there, such as Slingbox, which allows you to watch your home TV on mobile, but it does not have the options TiVo does, and it’s entry price point is higher for the hardware as well as the app.

TiVo announced this week that TiVo Stream will roll out this summer, so get ready to truly have your favorite shows portable and on the go via mobile TV.