TiVo is certainly facing competition these days, with set-top boxes, TVs and consoles all offering a variety of smart and/or DVR capabilities. However, TiVo does deserve some credit for pushing forward and refusing to be left in the dust as a first mover. The latest push, called Bolt, introduces a couple new features that show TiVo still has gas in the tank, even with new Apple TVs and other inventions on the horizon.
The TiVo Bolt is…odd-looking. It has a strange, warped appearance that may have looked cool in concept but gives it a half-baked appearance as a final product. But once set up, the fun begis: This set top box can handle a lot of basic DVRing features, but its big news is a couple new abilities.
First, Bolt uses SkipMode to automatically and smartly skip commercials seamlessly, a feature that consumers have wanted pretty much before the TiVo even existed. Second, there’s a new QuickMode feature that speeds things up by around 30%, but keeps voices smooth and low so you can listen without being irritated by the chipmunks. TiVo hints that this will be handy when catching up on DVRed sports games.
Other, more ordinary features include notable 4K support for the latest resolutions, OneSearch to search for shows immediately across all apps and channels, access to web apps and variety of smart streaming services, and up to 4 simultaneous recordings at once. There’s a choice between 500 and 1,000GB TiVo Bolts.
The new features are welcome, but it comes back to what we have said about TiVos before. If you don’t already have one, there are plenty devices that can take their place, including an Xbox One, an Apple TV, A Roku, and other various consoles, smart TVs, and cable boxes. But if saving a lot of shows at once is important, of it you already have a TiVo, then the Bolt may be a must-buy. Those new features add more value to DVRing than we’ve seen in quite a while.
Of course, there’s also the price. The Bolt costs around $300, pretty high for a cable box, although that does include a year of TiVo service. The 1,000GB version costs $400 if you want the upgrade.