TiVo’s brand new Roamio platform is about to get a whole lot “appier” thanks to the introduction of Opera’s Devices SDK, and the addition of the Opera TV Store, a means through which developers can offer HTML5 web apps to TiVo device owners. The new partnership will also give developers an SDK to build TiVo-specific apps for an app store the over-the-top services provider plans to launch later this year.
TiVo’s Roamio platform launched just last week, via a new family of DVR hardware devices that improve considerably on the amount of content that can be recorded, and there’s a new feature coming that allows live and recorded content streaming, even out-of-home, thanks to an upcoming feature that’s going to be introduced via an update (hence the “roam” pun).
While most of the update was focused around the hardware — adding more tuners and more storage to improve the core DVR experience — TiVo also improved several of the onboard apps, making them faster and more responsive. According to TiVo VP of Product Marketing Jim Denney, some of that improvement comes from switching to the Opera Browser for those apps. The Netflix and YouTube apps in particular, both of which are built on Opera, are a lot faster to open and use.
Already, Roamio devices offer up access to some pre-installed apps including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, Spotify and more, and it consolidates content from all of the above in addition to cable services when you’re searching for shows. The introduction of the Opera TV store, which TiVo is aiming to deploy early next year, will bring a whole catalogue of new HTML5-based apps to the service, broadening the type of app-based content users have access to exponentially.
Opera’s TV Store is already available on millions of shipping devices, and the Opera Devices SDK made its way onto over 25 million connected TVs in 2012 alone. That means that TiVo customers will be getting access to a platform that’s already mature when the Opera Store goes live on its devices; there won’t be any waiting while a new store is set up and curate the way there would be if TiVo had started from scratch.
TiVo also contends that the partnership will help it more quickly introduce new and improved pre-loaded software to its set-top DVRs, since Opera has become a key partner for big brands and service providers that are making the switch to HTML5 in order to gain more presence on connected home entertainment platforms.
Access to Opera TV Store content is a big value-add that should help TiVo’s Roamio price tags look more attractive to users who might otherwise feel like a Roku or Apple TV device could fit their needs. And if TiVo and others suspect that Apple is preparing to make a fresh foray into the living room, as has been recently rumored by none other than our own contributor MG Siegler, building as full-featured an offering as possible definitely explains the push to build a software ecosystem.
TiVo is officially taking the wraps of its latest family of DVRs today dubbed “Roamio”, which appear to be replacing the company’s high-end Premiere offerings. In addition to inking some new deals with cable providers and redesigning its interface, TiVo is adding a ton of features with the new boxes, including a number of streaming options and support for the DIAL protocol (the same one used by Chromecast) for streaming and controlling apps like Netflix from mobile devices. It is also moving to a new HTML5 engine for a smoother native app experience and introducing an “out-of-home” streaming feature that will launch for iPhone and iPad later this year:
Coming very soon, out-of-home streaming will allow subscribers to stream TV and recorded shows to your iPad® or iPhone®. The built-in TiVo Stream feature allows users to connect to their Roamio over Wi-Fi and watch recordings and cable channels almost ANYWHERE… Streaming is restricted to a limited number of devices owned by the TiVo subscriber. Due to content provider restrictions, not all content can be streamed out of home and some content may only be streamed while a mobile device is on the same local network as the subscriber’s DVR. Mobile devices sold separately.
The TiVo Roamio DVR Series includes three models: TiVo Roamio ($199.99), TiVo Roamio Plus ($399.99) and TiVo Roamio Pro ($599.99). Roamio features four or six tuners and unprecedented storage (ranging from 75 hours to 450 hours of HD content). It ensures subscribers never miss a show again and have plenty of space for recordings. The improved speed and performance of TiVo Roamio also includes integrated wireless and TiVo Stream functionality in certain models… The TiVo Roamio can be purchased today online at TiVo.com, Amazon.com or BestBuy.com and in Best Buy stores in the coming weeks.
Just launched this week, Kickfolio is a new HTML5-based platform that allows developers to test and share builds of their iOS apps in the browser. Developers simply upload a zipped version of their app (no SDKs or changing code), and the service spits out a link to a private test page displaying an interactive HTML5 and CSS version of the app controllable by mouse and keyboard in portrait or landscape. Testers will also be able to leave feedback and interact with testers in a comment section on the page. Kickfolio has an example of the Angry Bots iOS app from Unity Technologies on its website here.
A pro version of the service also includes a feature to embed apps that allows users to insert the interactive apps in press releases, websites, and elsewhere. The company has a 15-day free trial available, but is also offering pricing ranging from $50 a month for one to two apps to $300 a month for unlimited apps. You can learn more and create an account on the company’s website here.
A demo from Kickfolio of an iPhone app running inside a browser on Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus is below: