After blazing the trail in DVR technology, Tivo’s lead in the set-top box arm’s race has faded recently thanks to stiff competition from DirecTV, Comcast, and Fios. The recently announced Tivo Premier Q and Preview are two new models designed to finally give Tivo a foothold in the whole home DVR universe. Along those lines, the Premiere Q is the first ever Tivo to feature four tuners, allowing it to record up to four simultaneous streams of HD content at a time. It can also stream HD video up to three other devices (even while simultaneously performing the recording duties mentioned above), acting as a TV media hub for the whole home. To pull off the streaming trick, this mothership Tivo needs to communicate with its streaming Tivo preview companions, which lack a hard drive and DVR functionality, and simply serve as streaming receivers for other TVs. Using the free Tivo iPad app, users can also browse through libraries of on demand content, and flick titles to any Premier Q or Preview box to watch on the TV. Available initially to select cable providers such as RCN later this year, expect consumer versions to launch sometime after that.

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