TiVo goes ginormous, with 24TB of storage and a $5K price tag

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TiVo, arguably the Cadillac of DVRs with support for streaming media services, is getting ready to roll out a big rig. The TiVo Mega, slated to ship early next year, will pack 24TB of hard disk space—eight times the storage on the TiVo Roamio Pro, the current top-of-the-line model. Put another way, that’s enough to stash more than three year’s worth of standard-definition television on one DVR.

That’s a little too late for recording that just-completed Simpsons marathon of every episode ever, but what can you do?

The cost of all this storage? The Mega’s exact price hasn’t been announced, but TiVo officials put the price tag around $5000. The super-sized DVR is expected to ship in the first half of 2015.

“Americans like really big stuff,” TiVo chief marketing officer Ira Bahr said. “They like big cars, big meals, big houses, and  we think there are a lot of Americans who want really big hard disk capacity.” The Mega, he added, will hold up to 26,000 hours of standard-definition programming and 4,000 hours of high-def video.

TiVo planned to show a prototype of the Mega in Denver this week at the CEDIA trade show for high-end audio-video products.

Sticker shock for the $5000 price tag should be somewhat alleviated by the fact that the price tag includes the service that powers TiVo’s state-of-the-art guide, recommendation, and search features for the lifetime of the  product.

TiVo normally charges separately for the service: For current TiVo Roamio models, the charges are either $15 a month or $500 for the lifetime of the product. The Roamio Pro itself only costs $600, but features a relatively paltry 3TB of disc space.

Other than its king-size helping of hard disk space, the Mega is basically the same as the Roamio Pro. Like that model, the Mega has six tuners that let you record up to six programs simultaneously. It also touts support for a number of popular streaming media services including Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, YouTube, MLB.TV, AOL On, Web Video Hotlist, Pandora, Spotify, Rhapsody Music Service, Live365, Picasa, Opera TV Store, Moviefone, TechCrunch, and Huffington Post.

You’ll notice that HBO Go and Vudu are missing from that list. And another TiVo shortcoming that the Mega doesn’t address is lack of support for Amazon Prime Instant Video, the free content that Amazon Prime subscribers can access on most streaming media devices.

On TiVo DVRs, you can buy Amazon Instant Video content and download previously purchased content, but you can’t watch the free stuff. Bahr, acknowledging that this is the top-requested feature of TiVo customers, says the company is working on adding Prime Instant Video support, but has not announced when it might become available, or which older models might get the service via a firmware update.

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