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TiVo® releases new 4K DVR: TiVo BOLT™

TiVo announced a new DVR today—the TiVo BOLT. It is designed to replace the base-model TiVo Roamio. The BOLT will record off-air OR cable (but not both) and comes with either a 500gb hard drive ($299.99) or a 1TB hard drive ($399.99). Lifetime service increases to $599.99 and there appears to be no discount for existing TiVo subscribers.

bolt-front-500bolt-back-500

These are the primary benefits of the BOLT over the base-model TiVo Roamio:

  • BOLT is faster
  • BOLT has gigabit Ethernet
  • BOLT supports 4K/UHD (to the extent content is available)
  • BOLT supports faster AC wifi speeds
  • BOLT supports commercial skip (SkipMode) for some shows
  • BOLT includes QuickMode (watch a show in fast-forward mode with minimal audio distortion)
  • BOLT includes one year of annual service

The BOLT uses a small, 2.5” laptop drive, which enables the entire unit to be smaller than the Roamio. The funky shape means that the BOLT will be at the top of your entertainment system stack. In addition, because the BOLT uses a 2.5” drive, upgrading that drive internally is limited. Currently, drive manufacturers are not making 2.5” drives that are larger than 2TB. Thus, once 4K content becomes available and can be recorded (now, most 4K content is streaming and therefore never permanently resides on the hard drive), storage limitations could become a hassle. TiVo only offers 1TB external drives and the DVR Expander from Western Digital lacks a fan and in our opinion is terribly unreliable.

In the near future, we expect to be offering 2TB internal upgrades to the BOLT as well as external storage options.

Despite the features of the new BOLT, there are a handful of downsides…and these may be among the reasons why TiVo is keeping the 6 tuner Roamio alive:

  • As we indicate above, major storage limitations
  • The Plus/Pro have 6 tuners as opposed to 4. This is particularly useful if you have multiple Minis running concurrently.
  • Form factor of the Plus/Pro is more accommodating for high-end entertainment systems
  • QuickMode likely to come to Plus/Pro in the future
  • BOLT lacks out-of-home streaming

Overall, the BOLT is an exciting addition to the TiVo line. The increase in lifetime service fees (and no discount for existing subscribers) is frustrating, and the BOLT lacks some attractive features of the older Plus and Pro, but overall, we’re thrilled to see TiVo continue innovating!

5 replies on “TiVo® releases new 4K DVR: TiVo BOLT™”

I got the 4K BOLT — sweet machine! — (and a Mini) and will definitely need more storage, but all your external storage options do not mention the BOLT. Have you tested if the external drive kits will be usable on this unit?

Just got my Bolt and one of the things that I noticed was that out-of-home streaming was not possible, even when using VPN.

Don’t know what they coded differently, but with the TiVo Stream, I was able to at least do streaming only after I connected to my home network via VPN.

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