TiVo Bolt DVR Features 4K Playback, Ad Skipping, Sexy Design
At CEDIA Expo 2015, TiVo will demo the new 4K-enabled Bolt DVR with SkipMode ad-skipping, replacing the current Roamio product.
The new set-top box can skip TV ads -- a feature made popular by Dish's Hopper -- but we don't know yet if TiVo will have an Oz behind the curtain manually marking the commercials like Dish does.
The Bolt will replace the Roamio, offering a four-tuner DVR that also works for OTA or just streaming TV.
In the past, TiVo users had to skip ads the old fashion way -- using fast forward or the hidden 30 second skip feature. Now, it’s a lot easier with a dedicated SkipMode -- a feature that has been requested since 2009, the company says.
Alongside the new SkipMode is brand new hardware, both inside and out. The new design has a smaller footprint than previous TiVo model and also looks distinctively different. It’s now an arc-shaped white box with minimal branding; almost Apple-esque.
Unfortunately the more expensive Roamio Pro will not be replaced with a new model just yet, meaning if customers are after six tuners and a larger hard drive, they will miss out on the new Bolt features.
Bolt is also not quite as backward-compatible as the old TiVo models, as it ditches many of the legacy connections found in the Roamio. Gone are the old analog video outputs and breakout cable, with just an HDMI port in its place.
While the upgraded hardware has focused on being 4K ready, there are other benefits within the software. Users will find that navigating between menus and apps is now a lot smoother than on previous models. VIDEO: TiVo Bolt
Another new feature, QuickMode, allows customers to fast-forward through recorded shows with improved high-speed audio. Thanks to new pitch-correction software, users will hear almost normal sound in fast-forward mode compared to the squeaky audio we've grown accustomed to over the years.
TiVo rightly notes that the feature "lets you comfortably speed through slow-moving programs like news, sports, and overly long award shows."
Despite these changes, there are a few things that have remained the same. For instance, for the large part the software is the same as the one found on the Roamio Pro. CableCARD setups are still present, as is the requirement to transfer series recordings via TiVo’s website. The biggest software feature, SkipMode, will also be exclusive to the Bolt DVR meaning Roamio customers won’t be receiving the functionality in an upcoming update.
While the TiVo Bolt will be 4K ready at launch, US broadcasters have yet to begin broadcasting in 4K, meaning users will be limited to online streaming services.
The two streaming apps set to launch with the TiVo Bolt are Netflix and YouTube, apps anyone with a 4K TV will likely find preinstalled on their Smart TV interface.
So what does TiVo offer differently? Well, it promises quicker performance than many Smart TVs on the market, as well as the ability to control recorded content from external devices.Previous TiVo boxes were limited to interfacing with the iPhone and iPad, but the company has confirmed that Amazon Fire TV support is being worked on.
Bolt will be available through Amazon and Best Buy, among other retailers, with shipments beginning on October 4. Two variations of the device will be available to customers, one boasting 500GB of storage, while the other touts 1TB.
TiVo Bolt rear panel
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