The TiVo Bolt Hits & Misses

Dave Zatz —  September 30, 2015

TiVo clearly had a choice to make. Deliver an unfinished product now or miss the all-important holiday shopping season. And, despite some compromises, they did what I would have done and released early. For example, only two of three TiVo Bolt models have made an appearance… without a Hulu app, currently being redesigned in HTML 5, and without out-of-home streaming. After all, how could they possibly launch the TiVo Bolt “Aereo” Edition without remote access capabilities (that are expected in 2016)? While I didn’t anticipate them this fall, there’s also no sign of a corresponding Series 6 “Pro” model nor a 4K-capable Mini. TiVo doesn’t seem to have the numbers or efficiency to juggle it all.

w_shop_tivo_bolt

The first thing everyone will notice is the new design. It’s fresh and funky. Many of you will hate it. On a more practical level, this smaller form factor means heat is more of a challenge and the Bolt maxes out with 4 tuners while transitioning to a 2.5″ drive. So existing Roamio Pro/Plus owners with 6-tuners and potentially more storage will have a real hard time justifying an upgrade. But, for those new to the fold, there’s a lot to like from this OTA/Cable DVR.

For me, the tent pole feature is commercial skip. However, to avoid ReplayTV’s fate, instead of programatically reading signal meta data and automatically avoiding ads, TiVo’s “SkipMode” requires human intervention… on both sides. As described by Engadget and similar to DISH’s AutoHop, a legion of TiVo staff will view the top 20 networks, 4PM – Midnight, to mark commercial entrances and exits, which are hopefully consistent provider-to-provider, region-to-region. Then, while watching a tagged show, viewers will be alerted onscreen to click the D button if they’d like to bypass commercial interruption in a given episode at each break. Does The Flash fall within the top 20? With a DVR, who even knows what network a program is on.

SkipMode

On the app front, Netflix and YouTube can stream 4k content (although may freeze your unit). But Amazon UHD is a no-show. And, as previously mentioned, no (720p) Hulu at all. We know WWE is in the hopper. Sadly, I’ve seen no indication that HBO or ESPN are on the way in — apps I require for TiVo to finally live up to its “One Box” slogan (of the Premiere era). I sure hope they’re at least going after the more accessible Sling TV to ultimately launch in conjunction with the Bolt Aereo Edition – as that will be a sticking or selling point for many cord cutters. So, yeah, we’ll all be keeping our Rokus and the like.

Pricing sees a change up too with the relatively new CMO’s third major initiative since coming on board, after the $150 Mini and months of deals. The 500GB Bolt runs $300 with the 1TB Bolt clocking in at $400. Nothing shocking there. Except both also include a year of service to reduce the barrier to entry (as TiVo’s retail headcount remains stagnant). After 12 months, they’re expecting folks to pony up $150/yr to keep those good times rolling. I’ve always been a fan of the annual subscription model. But not at this price, even if subsidizing hardware. $99 would move more folks and, for comparison, Xbox Live Gold is $60 (MSRP) … And their (more limited) DVR and guide service will actually be free. Lifetime gets a rebrand as the “All-In” plan, running $600 and I’m not yet certain if there is a PLS-like discount for existing subscribers.

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173 responses to The TiVo Bolt Hits & Misses

  1. I’m still percolating… there’s a lot to digest. :) QuickMode is a nice-to-have — my wife would enjoy viewing awards shows with it. But it’s not a selling point, not for me anyway. A more automated ad-skipping *might* be enough for me to upgrade. One of the reasons I first picked up TiVo in like 2002 was precisely for that reason. But I’ll wait to hear how it works in the real world and the pricing changes require some thought. And, unfortunately, it sounds like this will be a Bolt-only feature. 4k isn’t very compelling at this point as many 4k televisions include 4k apps for the same, but obviously without OnePass integration. But, given the missing apps, I’m still going to require a Roku or Fire TV — cheaper and easier to get 4k that way when I’m ready. Hm.

  2. Found where to stick your cable card! Haha.

    https://www.tivo.com/assets/popups/popup_cablecarddecoder.html

    This is a pass for me as I already have an “upgraded” 3TB Roamio Plus. We are rarely watching shows these days anyways.

  3. Seriously? They are promoting this thing as a 4k box — comparing it to cable box’s lack of 4k support — and then pack it with a 1TB drive? I’m thinking that when 4k comes to cable, those boxes will need to have more than their (rather pathetic) 500GB drives so will also make a 1TB Tivo feel pathetic as well. Also with promoting the mini for multi-room support for it — last time I checked, the mini isn’t 4k… I realize most households won’t care because most won’t have 4k even in their primary room let alone second room, but if this is supposed to be a long-term investment (as I see all of my other Tivos), it falls flat there as well.

    Seriously, they either needed to make the box _TINY_ like an AppleTV or Roku sized box or make it “entertainment center” sized — meaning it could have room for a 3.5″ drive.

    And as you said — 4 tuners?

  4. “QuickMode is a nice-to-have”

    I’d say it’s mandatory with the Bolt. How else are you going to watch recordings fast enough to keep within the draconian storage limits that go along with the brilliant decision to move to 2.5″ drives?

    In fact, consumers would be well advised to watch most shows with 3X FF enabled. That way, you can get through an hour in just 20 minutes to better clear recordings off the box.

    “On a more practical level, this smaller form factor…”

    …means TiVo is embracing mobile! Go everywhere with your TiVo Bolt! It’s not your grandparents DVR, stuck uselessly under the teevee! Going with 2.5″ drives is brilliant beyond compare.

    “The first thing everyone will notice is the new design. It’s fresh and funky.”

    No. Get it straight, Dave. It’s badass!

  5. yeah, i don’t get this … with a R Pro 6 tuner this does nothing for me in terms of storage or tuners. in my home i have a bunch of minis that would make 4 tuner a problem. kind of disappointing. and i still don’t get why i have to record every tv show when i watch on my iPad – it makes for flipping through channels a pain in the …

  6. This makes me feel even better about my recent Roamio purchase.

    The form factor is a little goofy. A lot of the issues would go away by just molding the thing in black. But maybe after the Pro models are introduced later, that will give most a palatable option.

    The commercial skip feature immediately made me think of ReplayTV. I hope that doesn’t cause them problems down the road even though it is not truly automatic.

    TiVo keeps trying to go the opposite direction to what I think would help their sales, TiVo unit with built-in Lifetime Service. Even at a higher entry price, the simplicity of that would make the sale.

  7. SkipMode is certainly intriguing, but it’s not coming to Premiere or Roamio!? I hope that changes. If it does come to Premiere and Roamio, it’ll be interesting to see if KMTTG can grab the commercial entrance/exit marks so shows can be transferred to PC and commercials cut out. I can do that now with PlayOn, but only for NBC, CBS, FOX, and ABC. So, I still need TiVo for shows not on the major networks (and for 1080p/5.1 surround). But, (shameless plug for PlayOn) PlayOn just recently released a new version with Season Pass functionality (they call it subscriptions). It works pretty good except that it doesn’t come with the ability of creating a OnePass months in advance. Still worth checking out though.

  8. I think the overall device is OK. As other have mentioned it is white. I am not a huge fan, but I could live with it. The remote is what really looks bad though. Again, I could live with that. I think the real problem is pricing. This thing definitely is a replacement for the base Roamio. At $300, it includes the first year of service, so that is pretty good. Dave, I don’t think you do lifetime, but there lies my problem. They increased the MSRP on lifetime to $600. That puts this in the range of the Roamio Plus (originally $400 + $500 lifetime). However, that one has 6 tuners and 1TB. It does now cost $350 + $600, so it got a price hike unless you are going to pay yearly. Tivo has clearly dabbled back and forth on lifetime. Here they didn’t drop it altogether, but the payoff is 4 years now ($150 yearly vs $600). We will have to see what kind of long term deals they have. Right now, I am not moving off my Roamio Pro as this would cost me more, have less hard drive space (not a huge deal, I can do 1TB), have fewer tuners. The new features are not compelling enough to get me to switch at this point. Ad skipping would be nice, but I’ll manage without. 4k will probably do better than 3D, but I don’t have any setup (TV size and viewing distance) where it will probably ever make sense. I just wish the streaming options would have 4k bit rate at 1080p instead.

  9. TiVo needs to drop the mini and focus on making apps for the Roku and AFTV. Which they are for the latter.

  10. Can’t say I feel compelled to upgrade from a Roamio Pro. In fact if I was in the market for a DVR, I’d still go with the older Roamio (either for the tuners/space or for the price).

    4K, to me is about making all content look better by scaling more efficiently than any 1080p can (more pixels, mean better scaling). 4k content isn’t nearly as interesting and I suspect most won’t be able to notice the difference in native 4k and upconverted 1080i — and no, I was not saying the same thing about 1080i vs unconverted 480p (like fox widescreen).

    The commercial skip feature will only be interesting if there is a code to bypass the need to press the D button, otherwise it is marginally more useful than just hitting the 30 second skip button. This is especially true when you consider that the 30-second skip button works for all programming and SkipMode only works on select content.

    The biggest problem is they didn’t address any of my existing complaints from two years ago when the Roamio came out (although, I still have more reviews to read).
    No HDMI-CEC
    No sports specific features (seriously, sports could be the final hold out for linear TV and TiVo completely ignores an opportunity that most streaming services can’t even begin to compete with).
    No mention of improving the “Stream” functionality. Sure they mentioned out of home AirPlay, but the adaptive bitrate of the Roamio leaves a lot to be desired and using the TiVo app on iOS is a far cry from the trick play experience available on the Mini.

    Oh, and all HT gear should be black, no exceptions. The white box and white remote are awful. I suspect we’ll see a black edition (like the Xbox 360) eventually.

  11. Adam, read the article – I linked that FAQ. Or read my stuff prior to release, had already disclosed CableCARD location. ;) Edit: Oops, I had removed the sentence on CableCARD, which was linked.

    Josh, most of my TiVos have been Lifetimed — including my existing Roamio Pro/Plus.

    Ben, there’s no indication Bolt does anything with 4k other than stream Netflix and YouTube. Unless I missed it. May have to wait for folks to get it into their hands to determine if it upscales (and if it has HDMI 2.0). Regarding D button, sounds like it’s once per show – not once per commercial interruption. If so, that’s way more convenient than what we have now. Edit: CNET confirms HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2.

    More thoughts on ad skipping. TiVo shouldn’t have the studio challenges DISH did, since TiVo is not mucking with content they were licensed to provide under certain conditions. Of course, that in itself could spark something. But studios going after TiVo would only sell more TiVos…

  12. Wow; i was actually looking for the order button and hit the big pause;

    No way this will fly for us. We have the 3TB Roamio with 6 tuners and it’s always maxed out. 3 Minis off it also. Going to have to wait for a bigger one.

  13. “Can’t say I feel compelled to upgrade from a Roamio Pro. In fact if I was in the market for a DVR, I’d still go with the older Roamio (either for the tuners/space or for the price).”

    This is all your fault, Ben. If you hadn’t commented in favor of 2.5″ drives yesterday, TiVo wouldn’t have done it. Their sudden redesign came within minutes of your comment. I hope you’re happy with yourself.

  14. Still nothing for satellite customers? My Series 2 units are getting old.

    Tivo seems to be leaving half of the potential market behind.

  15. Bud, having a TiVo STB pull content off a satellite STB is inefficient and costly. Blame the FCC for not requiring satellite interoperate with CableCARD.

    HeyRadar, logically it might seem to make sense to drop the Mini and focus on apps as I don’t think they’re making much money (per box) at $150. HOWEVER, in their earnings calls they count each Mini as a “subscriber” and it’s an effective way to pad their numbers as TiVo “households” is surely much smaller than “subscribers” and a Mini subscriber is less revenue than a Roamio/Bolt subscriber. Having said that, they could follow in the path of RVU and charge $6/mo for Fire TV app access or similar…

    The big win here would have been that Aereo Edition for cord cutters. Come in at lower price with lower fees, stream outside the home, include Sling TV and the other apps (like Plex), that Fire TV client, etc. Most folks with cable are content to continue renting boxes from the cableco. If Apple launches a TV service with the locals and on-demand…

  16. Bud, blame DirecTV and Dish. TiVo would have to get approval from them to build a box since the FCC didn’t mandate they offer anything like CableCARDs.

    With the new pricing of lifetime, I will definitely be sitting back and waiting. This may be the first new TiVo i don’t buy.

  17. Brennok, First new Tivo we have not bought since 1999…… Sad in a way.

  18. “You have to press that D button each time a block of ads comes up”

    From the Yahoo review:
    https://www.yahoo.com/tech/tivo-bolt-speed-more-speed-and-instant-ad-035716017.html

    Chucky,
    I doubt it was my comment that lead to the 2.5 drive, more than likely it was my 36 month letter writing campaign that I’ve been doing.

  19. Well, my TiVoHD is still going strong! Upgraded HD, capacitors, power supply all in good shape. And for us, 2 tuners is plenty. We have just locals and pay only $9.99 to Comcast for that. I was monthly on this my only box for the longest time (grandfathered into $6.95) and about a year ago went LT on it for the $99.

    The Bolt has a lot……..that I don’t care about or am “meh” about. Commercial skip……really…after all these years I can get thru 2 min of commericals on 3xFF in only a few seconds and I have perfected landing in the right spot. So no biggie for me. also, I still utilize a 720p TV so 4k means absolutely nothing to me. This are just examples.

    To me, the biggest failing, at least in terms of getting me onto THAT box, is HDD. I am going to have to upgrade from .5/1TB drives. The ONLY way I’d consider a Bolt, and this is only after my TiVoHD dies a horrible death, would be confirmed upgradeability or at least a stock drive as big as my current upgraded drive. And that shape….my current TiVoHD is in sort of tight confines in my cabinet and I don’t think the bolt would work in the space.

    Right now, if I had to get a new box to replace mine, I’m going Roamio and either swigning or trying to swing for a top model at a good price or a smaller unit and upgrading myself. And all this hinges too on working with CS to move my LT sub to whatever box.

    I guess if I had to write a headline for Bolt, it would be….um….. “Underwhelming”

    Of course, Dave, keep up the great work!!!

  20. Ben, if that holds up I won’t feel much of a longing. Roamio Forever!

  21. The two main features I like don’t provide enough incentive for me to even consider upgrading with what you lose. The commercial skip I see zero reason why that couldn’t implement this on the Roamio or even the premiere If all of the heavy lifting is done by people and then synced down to boxes with some kind of sidecar file. Quickmode is the other feature I would like but I assume there may be some processing/memory issues at play here as to why this couldn’t trickle down.

    Otherwise, for the current owner who cares? There probably isn’t any kind of support for future OTA/Cable 4k and given TiVo’s generally lack luster performance in the apps I never use them, it’s quicker to switch inputs and load an app than to launch on the TiVo usually. I would rather invest in a Fire TV/Roku (soon)/nvidia Sheild TV if I need 4K streaming

  22. Hmm. So Apple TV missed with no 4k and an uncertain future support for Amazon, VUDU and such. Fire TV lacks support for Amazon’s own HDR content. Chromecast missed without UHD as well. Now TiVo.

    Looks like UHD with HDMI 2.0, so no 2.0a and HDR support. Why no Amazon UHD streaming? Why not get in early and make some mention of VUDU, which will be doing UHD HDR with Dolby Vision soon? Still no HBO app or others confirmed aside from the WWE rumor. Then they cut storage and raise the price of lifetime. Ugh. What about PLEX streaming getting an update to 1080p let alone possibly UHD. My new iPhone 6s Plus is taking UHD video and I’d love to serve it to my TV via PLEX on TiVo.

    Every one of these new boxes has some shortcoming or another. Make Roku 4 will sweep in and dominate them all. Then I’ll just cut cable anyway and get a Tablo. Here’s hoping. I’ve been a TiVo user since series 1 and was really hoping to see something amazing here.

  23. Don’t forget there’s an e-sata port on the back for expansion. I’m not sure how high you can go, but there are gargantuan drives available.

  24. So SkipMode is like ReplayTV’s retooled “ShowNav” feature. ShowNav was introduced as a way to get out of the lawsuit, it required one button press to skip the commercial break. Although the replay itself detected the breaks.

    Hopefully they introduce an inverse mode like ReplayTV did for the Superbowl. SO you can skip the game :)

    I never understood everyone’s obsession with form factors for stb/ott boxes. To me the perfect form factor is irrelevant as all of my boxes are behind doors in media cabinets or closets. The best form factor is one you can’t see!

  25. Yes, Roamio Plus/Pro forever. $600 for All-in leaves me all-in with my existing Lifetime hardware. If there is no PLSR discount, that is a kick in the face to Tivo’s existing customer base.

    Sad they didn’t get the aereo branded Bolt out for launch. But, I only expect a modest discount over the Cable/OTA Bolt.

  26. TCD849000 = 1TB Bolt
    TCD849500 – 500GB Bolt
    TCD849510 = I’m assuming whatever the Aereo Bolt is supposed to be.

    So give that, nothing with 6 tuners for a while I guess?

  27. I don’t think Tivo cares if their current customer base upgrades, even though many of us have been evangelists for many years. They are trying to attract new subs, and who knows maybe the new form factor will get some attention.

    I don’t find the Bolt to be compelling, but that’s no surprise considering I’m still using my TivoHD OTA with upgraded 1TB HDD. Though I am starting to wonder if I should consider replacing the capacitors…

  28. “Roamio Forever!”

    Please excuse the choice of utterly execrable source material, which I unreservedly condemn, but still:

    Roamio Now, Roamio Tomorrow, Roamio Forever!

    —–

    I officially proclaim this the Poochie Of TiVo’s™.

    We at TiVo want a DVR with attitude. It’s edgy, it’s “in your face.” You’ve heard the expression, “let’s get busy”? Well, this is a DVR that gets “biz-zay!” Consistently and thoroughly.

    So it’s proactive, huh?

    Oh, God, yes. We’re talking about a totally outrageous paradigm.

    Or….

    How many of you kids would like TiVo deal with real-life problems, like the ones you face every day?

    [clamoring] Oh, yeah! I would! Great idea! Yeah, that’s it!

    And who would like to see TiVo do just the opposite — getting into far-out situations involving robots and magic powers?

    [clamoring] Me! Yeah! Oh, cool! Yeah, that’s what I want!

    So, you want a realistic, down-to-earth TiVo… that’s completely off-the-wall and swarming with magic robots?

    Yeah. And also, you should win things by watching.

  29. Greg, TiVo indicates you can purchase a WB 1TB eSATA drive. For the majority of the time they’ve offered external storage, they’ve locked it down to vetted partner products… So a maxed out Bolt with a maxed out eSATA drive is still 1/3rd less storage than my Roamio. Granted, I could get by on 2TB. But why think about it at all with storage so cheap and who wants that extra clutter?

  30. dwgsp…..

    Regarding the capacitors, I wouldn’t go through the trouble of replacing unless they are showing signs of issues. I’ve upgraded the HDD on my TiVoHD several times over its lifespan and each time done a good analysis of the under the hood situation.

    Mine is going strong and serves our needs perfectly! And like you said, the Bolt is not compelling to me. If I HAD to get a new box right now, I’d probably go Roamio.

  31. And Dave….let’s not forget most of us would NOT look too favorably at eSata expansion as a way to go unless in a pinch as it’s another point of failure!

  32. Do we expect to be able to upgrade these HDs ourselves? I made the mistake of buying the Pro last time vs. buying the lower model and DIYing my upgrade.

  33. Just watching some videos on the Bolt. The CNET video said UHD supported from Netflix and YouTube “with Amazon Prime in the works.”

  34. @dwgsp — you are saying Tivo doesn’t care about their current customer base upgrading — but they should rely on us being their promoters. There is NO way I would recommend someone buy a Bolt vs. a Roamio. This new box has nothing going for it over a Roamio.

  35. @Jaremy – given all of those failures you list — I still think my ultimate “streamer” would be getting a full Windows 10 PC or Mac Mini if I needed the functionality.

  36. “And Dave….let’s not forget most of us would NOT look too favorably at eSata expansion as a way to go unless in a pinch as it’s another point of failure!”

    Either drive fails, you lose all your recordings…

    So, more wires, boxes, and power bricks all thanks to the smaller TiVo form factor. More cost, still less storage than an S5, and given that an external drive is bound to be at least minimally less reliable than internal storage, more than double your chance of catastrophic failure.

    Where do I sign up?

    (I will say stuff like this is what wisely drove me into TiVo’s hands in the first place. I really liked my MSO provided DVR, and then got a call from my MSO telling me that they were going to mandatorily replace it with a new model whether I wanted it or not. After googling around about the new model, I realized it was a significant downgrade I’d hate for multiple reasons, and started researching TiVo the next day. So, at least with TiVo, I’ve got the choice to keep the S5 I adore. When I eventually move to a 4K panel, assuming TiVo upscales multicast 1080 to 4K and that this is an improvement over whatever upscaling the panel itself does, I guess I’ll have to think things over. But hopefully 2.5″ A/V hard drive capacities will have dramatically improved by then, and TiVo pricing will have moved away from “new product” pricing.)

  37. Jaremy, we don’t know yet if the drive is user replaceable. Weaknees is researching things. 2TB would be the reasonable limit on capacity and not sure how much a drive designed for this sort of usage would run – probably as much or more than the 3TB 3.5″ drive I used in my Roamio to triple storage. Speaking of Bolt limitations and Roamio, this might be a good time to blog how to upgrade to 6TB. Thanks for the story hook, TiVo.

  38. @Michael Burstin
    Completely agree…the lack of compelling features and lack of unlimited storage is driving me closer to Plex being my primary “viewer”. I still need TiVo to record some shows, but if I needed a DVR right now, I’d probably just go with the SiliconDust HomeRun DVR and move all the recordings to Plex. Not that SiliconDust has more features, but it is more flexible. In the meantime, I’ll stick with my 2 TB Premiere and Win10 PC with Plex for additional storage.

  39. Time to grab that 10 year deal on the Roamio Pro, I suppose. Nothing notable for me here.

  40. “Jaremy, we don’t know yet if the drive is user replaceable … 2TB would be the reasonable limit on capacity”

    But A/V 2.5″ hard drives max out at 1TB. So you may be able to stick in a 2TB non-A/V drive, assuming 2TB drives have the proper form factor, but that’s just inviting a mess of problems down the road, no?

    “Speaking of Bolt limitations and Roamio, this might be a good time to blog how to upgrade to 6TB. Thanks for the story hook, TiVo.”

    Did anyone reverse engineer Weaknees on that and open-source it yet? If so, woo-hoo! 3TB is not enough. A good time to blog it, indeed.

  41. Yes, back in May or June. Will blog it at some point or you could search the TCF if you need details sooner. :)

  42. The TiVo website seems to indicate a lot more streaming services supported than we currently have- Fox, CW, ABC, HBO, and more. Does the Bolt support more streaming services, or better yet, will these services be coming to the rest of us?

  43. Any word/rumor on VUDU 4k support?

  44. “Yes, (open-sourced 6TB) back in May or June. Will blog it at some point or you could search the TCF if you need details sooner.”

    Woo-hoo! I’m sure TCF covers this, but when you blog it, make sure you note what issues there are with the fact that 6TB A/V drives don’t exist yet. Given ‘green’ models, I’m assuming heat isn’t an issue, but I also strongly assume A/V has some significant advantages for this use-case-scenario, and isn’t just marketing hype. Otherwise, DVR manufacturers wouldn’t bother with always using A/V, no?

    (And no need to give up on TiVo, Dave. The S5 is still the best DVR on the planet by a decent margin. The Poochie Of TiVo’s™ doesn’t change that.)

  45. @Andrew, I saw that in their video with all those channel logos mixed in the with the streaming apps logos. At first, I thought it may be a precursor to massive app expansion. Thinking about it though, I don’t think it is. They are just mixing streaming service and cable/OTA channel service logos in together as a sign of accessing all of that content in one place IMO, not suggesting that all those channel’s streaming apps will come to the box any time soon.

    Regarding the HDs, I’d be completely fine with buying the 500GB unit and dropping a 2TB HD in myself. I’ve done HD updates to previous TiVo units, but I don’t recall using an AV drive. Never had a problem with it. I don’t record all that much anyway, hence 2TB would be fine for me. The ideal would be to get a 2TB drive in there DIY for less total cost than the 1TB unit itself runs.

  46. “The TiVo website seems to indicate a lot more streaming services supported than we currently have- Fox, CW, ABC, HBO, and more.”

    Wow. They really do have that HBO logo up there. Marketing team is drunk, or yowza?

    I assume that all gets ported back to S5, perhaps with a delay. But even if it doesn’t, I still wouldn’t trade my S5 for an S6 for free

  47. Like Jaremy, I assume this is TiVo marketing doing what they do and those logos represent the commingling of both linear and over-the-top content.

  48. “I’d be completely fine with buying the 500GB unit and dropping a 2TB HD in myself. I’ve done HD updates to previous TiVo units, but I don’t recall using an AV drive. Never had a problem with it.”

    FWIW, the TCF drive upgrade/replacement forums were always pretty explicit in strongly recommending using A/V drives, though I no longer remember their detailed reasoning. And given that all the DVR manufacturers seem to use A/V drives, there’s gotta be some reason. They wouldn’t add extra money to the BOM just for funsies.

    And dollars to donuts, lack of an A/V model is the exact reason why there is no 2TB Bolt available. I’m damn sure TiVo would love to charge big margins on a 2TB unit if they felt they could offer one today.

    So while you may never had a problem with it, perhaps the failure rate over time is notably larger, or something

  49. @Chucky — I don’t seem to see anyone who makes AV drives over 4TB — at least from Western Digital and Seagate. What drives are people using for 6TB?

  50. HOLY F*CK THEY JUST MADE VERY SINGLE TIVO OWNER BUY THE NEW TIVO

    UMM SKIP MODE

    SHEEEEEIIIIIZT

  51. Seeing the Bolt specs and pricing makes me feel very good for getting a Roamio with lifetime for $300 a few months ago. I expect that will be my last DVR purchase until broadcast/linear TV comes to an end in 10 years or so.

  52. David, same sort of reasoning for me with taking the $99 offer to go LT on my TiVoHD. But I will DEFINITELY be keeping an eye out for similar offers with Roamios.

  53. MarkV didn’t read the fine print.

  54. Does the Bolt handle OTA & Cable simultaneously or do you need to pick one? I’d like to record higher bitrate OTA, and/or tune to it during a rare cable outage, but its a wishlist item and not really an upgrade driver. I think I’ll stick to my base Roamio. Hope they eventually have a closeout sale on the stream.

  55. You know when you say Xbox Live is $60 a year, really it is regularly available for around $38. For that you get access to the multiplayer service/voice chat, game discounts, dvr+guide (coming soon) and about 36+ free games a year. Software updates on this platform are free.

    For $150 a year the Tivo Bolt is giving you software updates, guide data and now commercial skip data.

    I couldn’t find the lifetime option on the site, but I really hope that number is $600 including the unit. Though I suppose the $900 combo would match what they were charging for each previous gen…

  56. I still miss ReplayTV automatic commercial skip. But amazingly, there’s, no reason to upgrade from a Premiere XL4/Stream. Even though the Premiere is slow and doesn’t have the nice RF remote of the Roamio, the Bolt has less capacity. Instead of spending more money to get a faster Tivo, I’d rather upgrade to the new AppleTV. At some point in the next few years, I fully expect an app-based OTT experience to finally surpass recording linear TV on Tivo. And yet, Tivo supports fewer OTT services than AppleTV or Roku.

    Tivo is a fascinating business, because they are both amazing and terrible at selling their products at the same time. The products are simultaneously great (compared to the direct competition) and terrible (compared to the devices that have become competition)

  57. @Dave Zatz

    lol i read it on ars first
    they neglected to detail that little tibit

    After i read your superior article, i thought oh great i’m so going to get flamed for this

  58. Dave, looking at the back of the Bolt….will the power cord now have a brick attached? UGH if so….

  59. “I don’t seem to see anyone who makes AV drives over 4TB … What drives are people using for 6TB?”

    Non-A/V drives.

    I’m certainly not saying using non-A/V drives is impossible. People do it. I’m sure lots of them have no problems. I’m just saying is that there are drawbacks, the degree of significance of which I’m unsure about without without re-doing my old research at the moment.

    And again, if we want to ignore TCF recommendations, I’m pretty damn sure that lack of an A/V 2.5″ 2TB drive at the moment is the sole reason TiVo isn’t offering such a model with big margins. So using non-A/V drives in a DVR has really gotta have some non-negligible drawbacks…

    (When I get down to seriously considering upgrading my S5 to 6TB, this is obviously a bridge I’ll have to decide whether or not to cross, and I’ll make that decision in a far more informed manner. Hopefully, 6TB A/V drives will come along with alacrity and I won’t have to cross that bridge at all…)

  60. D, there’s one coax input – it’s OTA or cable.

    Tony, that’s why I flagged Xbox Live Gold as “(MSRP)” and linked a deal as it’s often discounted. $150 a year for no actual content strikes me as excessive. A year of Netflix runs $108, for example. Granted, TiVo has historically subsidized most of their hardware to various degrees. I assume the Aereo Edition will come in lower than whatever the prevailing rates are when it launches. The $600 is on top of the initial $300 or $400 fee — most won’t touch that. Wonder if they still offer the 10 year customer loyalty promotion and which models are available at what cost?

    MarkV, We’re learning as we go. I was more excited about the ad skip at first too, but as you can see from the comments Ben set me straight. Many people covering TiVo don’t know or use TiVo, so some of the fine details can be overlooked.

    Andrew, I give you a virtual +1.

  61. @Chucky — ahh, I misunderstood your postings — I thought you were saying to upgrade with 6TB AV drive :)

  62. I would assume HDCP 2.2 is going to be required to view any of that 4k content, but it would be good to confirm once these are out in the wild and people get a chance to play with them. There are a bunch of 2014 model year receivers out there that are HDMI 2.0 but without HDCP 2.2. I own a Denon with that unfortunate setup.

  63. “Dave, looking at the back of the Bolt….will the power cord now have a brick attached? UGH if so….”

    Ugh is right. Here’s a pic from another site….looks like the cord prob is a brick based cord, but you can’t see the brick in this….ugh is right! :(

    http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s—Na0tddc–/c_scale,fl_progressive,q_80,w_800/1452387480370782279.jpg

  64. JosephG53, Jeff, CNET has a pic on the power brick. Not bad, all things considered.

    https://twitter.com/davezatz/status/649256354176217088

  65. “CNET has a pic on the power brick. Not bad, all things considered.”

    Respectfully disagree. I personally prefer the brick to be separate from the plug, so you don’t require hundreds of power strips.

    And, of course, compared to the ‘no power brick’ on the S5, yet another strike against the Poochie of TiVo’s™. Hey, let’s make the form factor smaller for no good reason whatsoever just to make things worse for our customers in a bunch of different ways! Great idea!

  66. @Dave – to me, that is the worst kind of brick you can have. If you do a brick, at least make it one where the outlet-end isn’t a brick – make the brick be in the middle of 2 cables. This one just eats up outlet space. A double-corded one can at least be cable-tied somewhere. Plus, given the pathetic hard drive, you’ll need an external drive – which also probably has a brick!

  67. Ah, my two main surge protectors have outlets on two surfaces 90 degrees apart – on the side and on top. So warts aren’t that much of a problem for me and it’s the bricks that lay on the floor, cabinet, or dresser that make me crazy. Especially my Xbox One – could probably fit a Bolt inside it.

  68. @Dave – I know the type you mean – I have a few of those. Mine goes in to a UPS which has some outlets for wall warts — but I like not needed to use one for my Tivo. Its just another bad design decision. Seriously, it seems like all of the limitations would have gone away with making this a standard A/V box instead of this crazy shape.

  69. “Plus, given the pathetic hard drive, you’ll need an external drive – which also probably has a brick!”

    Yup. eSata doesn’t do power. That’s why TiVo went with it instead of USB. It’s proactive. We’re talking about a totally outrageous paradigm.

  70. “Seriously, it seems like all of the limitations would have gone away with making this a standard A/V box instead of this crazy shape.”

    You’re not thinking proactively at all, Michael. The Poochie of TiVo’s™ is 1/3 smaller. That’s edgy. That’s “in your face.” You’ve heard the expression, “let’s get busy”? Well, this is a DVR form factor that gets “biz-zay!” Consistently and thoroughly.

  71. @Jeff Bamberger – I think now is the time to upgrade. You should do what Dave and I did; grab a Roamio Plus with the deal (exact same model as the Pro) with 6 tuners, throw in a 6TB hard drive. I now have 961 HD hours capacity and am loving it. The GUI alone will make you glad you upgraded.

  72. In terms of external hard drives… I’ve had two fail on me (wiping out everything) and vowed never again!

  73. Good news, we’re keeping the SDUI around! For historical purposes, I’m sure. ;)

    https://twitter.com/davezatz/status/649267154097844224

  74. I guess I owe Dave a big apology for poo-poo-ing the impact of the disbandment and outsourcing of the industrial design team…

  75. I’m disappointed to see that they haven’t revamped the UX and remote control. I took a lot of flak on the TiVo forums when I criticized the remote control, because there are some real fanatics who love the “power user” design, but in this day and age, I would much rather have a radically simplified FireTV/AppleTV-style remote (but with a couple extra buttons to support TV on/off and volume up/down). A D-pad, select button, and a back/menu button can pretty much handle everything you need to do if the UI is designed around that.

    Then, if they want to still offer a “power user” remote with a million buttons on it which can basically offer shortcuts to all of the advanced features, that can keep the fanatics happy, too.

  76. Engadget article states that QuickMode will be coming to Roamio and Premiere.

    “TiVo is also adding QuickMode (unlike SkipMode, this will be available for the Roamio and Premiere)”

  77. @Jeff Bamberger & @Chucky – Weaknees claims that the 6TB drive is AV but that probably isn’t true (i can’t remember what the sticker on the drive said).

    Also, FYI, I had to replace the power supply on the Roamio a couple of months ago, the drive is obviously power hungry.

  78. @chucky The Poochie of TiVo’s™ is 1/3 smaller. That’s edgy. That’s “in your face.”
    Great Simpson reference. Let’s all just remember what happened to Poochie

  79. I really don’t see why they wouldn’t be sued for skipping commercials. I agree that it’s BS, but there’s precedent on the networks’ side.

    Moving to 2.5″ drives is a very surprising move. I can’t imagine why they did it. Have people been clamoring for less capacity on their DVRs? Did they figure everybody streams anyway, and then somehow conveniently forget that TiVo is a deeply craptastic streaming platform compared to fireTV, androidTV, roku, and appleTV? That disconnect is really quite astonishing.

  80. So here is a dumb question – I see the remote is RF. Will this thing even work with an IR remote? (Will the Roamio?)

    I’m still running a TiVoHD that we are generally happy with – I don’t want to give up kidzone, don’t want to give up my 6.99 MSD, etc. But my hand will be forced when Verizon switches everything to Mpeg4. I’m kind of dreading it actually. The only thing that can make me dread it more is the need to replace my harmony with one that does RF.

  81. @Bryan – Roamio has IR capability

  82. KYLE49ers, I like the idea in principle.

    But it comes down to $ at this point. We have college 1 year away and the wife acceptance factor on a couple of hundred dollars on things that aren’t immediately necessary is low. And I guess it all depends on what I could get TiVo to do for me…….

  83. @KYLE49ers thanks! Perhaps I should jump on a Roamio Plus and see what tivo will do for me on the service before it’s too late.

  84. Regarding the power brick, while having the brick in the middle is preferable overall, even this brick does have the big advantage over an internal power supply in that if it fails, it’s easily swappable.

    If you saw the number of bad power supplies we see here, you’d see why a brick of any style is a step forward.

  85. Was tweeting Margret. She said that UHD HDR support is “expected” to come via a future firmware update. The box is HDMI 2.0, but is upgradable apparently to HDMI 2.0a based on her response. That’s huge.

    I think once that WWE app hits, this could be my primary box. Add it along with a disc player (BD now, UHD to replace it, and a Kaleidescape UHD player as my ideal) and I’m good with 2 boxes.

  86. She has also tweeted that “QuickMode (watch video 30% faster with pitch-corrected audio) and channel logos in the Guide”

    No news on SkipMode.

    I’d love a Zatz post somehow on BeastMode. Think of the cross promotion with Tebow. Perhaps have him hand off to Lynch.

  87. arg sorry.,.. QuickMode coming to Romeo’s by EOY

  88. “Weaknees claims that the 6TB drive is AV but that probably isn’t true”

    Yeah. To the best of my searching abilities, A/V currently maxes out at 4TB.

    “Also, FYI, I had to replace the power supply on the Roamio a couple of months ago, the drive is obviously power hungry.”

    Very good to know. Thanks for that tidbit. Guess that means I’ll wait on my S5 hard drive upgrade until A/V capacities increase. (And I guess we have a nice piece of purely anecdotal evidence on why A/V drives matter for DVR’s.)

    Also, I don’t suppose Weaknees did the right thing by you and replaced the power supply for free. Your entire experience with them makes me think of them as being far more sleazy than I’d previously thought…

  89. “2TB would be the reasonable limit on capacity and not sure how much a drive designed for this sort of usage would run – probably as much or more than the 3TB 3.5″ drive I used in my Roamio to triple storage.”

    Again, there are bus-powered external 4TB, 2.5″, USB 3.0 drives for under $200.

    I see no reason why expansion couldn’t be done via a USB 3.0 port instead of eSATA, apart from the fact that Tivo was too cheap to include such an option.

    QuickMode is the only compelling feature for me, but since it will be coming to my Roamio & Premiere Tivos, I see no reason to buy the Bolt.

  90. “Weaknees claims that the 6TB drive is AV but that probably isn’t true”

    It’s a surveillance drive. That’s what they label it at 6 TB. But WD and the distributors claim it’s really the same drive as an AV drive. Surveillance drives are the path going forward for WD. They go in DVRs just like AV drives did, so WD apparently wants to consolidate these two lines. Frankly, it’s unclear why there were ever different lines for these two almost identical products. My best guess is that the noise profile was once different, but that’s not really an issue with current technology.

    WD’s messaging has only erratically reflected this unfortunately.

  91. I thought cable cards were going away in the not too distant future. no?

  92. @Bill in NC — I think that there were probably only USB2 external drives around the time that the TivoHD came out with external expansion, which maybe were not fast enough to handle saving 2 MPEG-2 streams while reading a 3rd. This probably has changed with USB3 but Tivo hasn’t kept up with the specs as they probably expect most to stick with internal storage.

  93. @Chucky & @Michael Adberg – To be fair, I never told/asked Weaknees about my power supply issue (not sure it would of have made a difference).

    The original power supply would short out. I would re-boot it (highly technical process of unplugging – replugging power cord) and that would fix it. But, it happened several times so I decided to be pro-active and ordered a new one. 2 and 1/2 months with the new one and no issues at all.

  94. “Bud, blame DirecTV and Dish. TiVo would have to get approval from them to build a box since the FCC didn’t mandate they offer anything like CableCARDs.”

    I don’t understand this statement. My Series 2 units work fine with satellite today – no cable card needed.

    Just give me an upgrade to the Series 2, with HD, a faster processor, more storage, and software that gets updated. Extra credit for TV apps (like Roku has) and ability to access Internet content.

    I realize that IR control isn’t sexy, but it has worked for me with no problems for over a decade or 3 Series 2 units. ll I am missing is HD, processor speed, and software updates.

    Why Tivo passes on half of the potential market escapes me.

  95. Bud, most modern set-top boxes no longer output over component and HDMI licensing prohibits recording over that connection. Also a product manager long gone from TiVo indicated stacking boxes in serial and controlling via IR, as we sometimes did with Series 2, was a very costly support nightmare for the company. At the time of the Series 3, when component output was still common, capturing and transcoding on the fly was expensive (both in terms of cost and hardware requirements). It’s a different story today, but TiVo can’t effectively explain or sell what they currently offer without adding complexity of telling folks you have to pay for a second set-top box to ingest content from a set-top box you may already be renting or have otherwise paid for. Again, the crux of the issue (which won’t matter on a practical basis for us consumers) is that AT&T, DISH, and DIrecTV are held to different standards in regards to retail access (currently via CableCARD).

    Bill, Verizon and DISH allowed USB2 drives…

    Scott, there’s on going conversation sponsored by the FCC for a CableCARD successor. But nothing’s been decided at this point. I imagine we’ll be OK with TiVo and CableCARDs for a long while, despite the regulatory uncertainty.

  96. Typical TiVo. Several folks briefed by the company say AdSkip is not coming to Roamio, but TiVo’s support page indicates it will. Who wants to place wagers?

    https://www.tivo.com/support/how-to/how-to-use-SkipMode

    Also, good question from the forum. Does SkipMode work on mobile app?

  97. @Bud — the short explanation that IR control is done for is that all HD content is pretty much copy protected at the whim of the content providers. In fact, HDMI could conceivably eliminate the need for IR blasters due to HDMI-CEC, but it doesn’t matter when everything is protected.

    The only way recording from an HDMI output becomes viable is if the FCC forces content providers to turn off HDCP or allows an exception for PVRs.

  98. Another tweet from Margret. UHD H.265 “should” work with Plex app on Bolt. That means the UHD videos from the new phones will stream native to the new TiVo. I’m getting closer to preordering.

  99. Any confirmation on IR control for the Bolt? I’d hate for it not to work with my Harmony. Also, does anyone know the timeframe for the revamped Hulu app?

  100. @Jaremy – Interesting about UHD from plex. I just checked https://support.plex.tv/hc/en-us/articles/203810286-What-media-formats-are-supported- which used to not have the Roamio section – the “Other Tivo Models” applied to ALL models – so Tivo must have fixed MKV and 1080p recently (also meaning that my re-containerizing may not have been necessary)

  101. @Dave – you should probably know that many companies marketing says something different than what is in the product. I do hope that skip comes to Roamio (thought wouldn’t be devastated if not — I’ve only been fast forwarding ads for 20 years now :) )

  102. Random, I can’t confirm IR on the Bolt. But there is a little opening near the TiVo logo and it’d make sense to have that for fallback like Roamio. I’ll find out and update this comment. Edit: I can confirm IR is present. The Hulu refresh is behind schedule – I first learned of it several months ago and I assume they didn’t intend to ship Bolt without it. Of course, that doesn’t tell you when it’ll arrive. I’d assume this year.

    Michael, Margaret confirms SkipMode for Roamio is a mistake. Bummer.
    https://twitter.com/tivodesign/status/649307472600010752

  103. I would say overall this is a sad and disappointing day for TiVo loyalist. Prices rise and there is no more Multi-Service Discounts. I am kicking myself I didn’t order a refurb Roamio this week.

  104. Just called TiVo, refurb Roamio’s are now $100 with $14.99 or $149.00 plans available.

  105. @Wes – Thanks for that tip on refurb Roamios. Although, given that a brand new Bolt with first year of service comes out to only $50 more, who’s going to buy them?

  106. Dave – thanks for the explanation. I was not aware of copy protection on HDMI. Seems dumb to me – money & politics, I guess. So, Tivo is essentially shut out for HD satellite customers by the government?

    I value my Series 2 units (with lifetime) even more now. I’d cut the satellite TV, except that broadband Internet access is not available in my area (as unbelievable as that sounds!)

  107. “Thanks for that tip on refurb Roamios. Although, given that a brand new Bolt with first year of service comes out to only $50 more, who’s going to buy them?”

    Folks who care about the core ‘DVR functionality’ of TiVo’s, of course…

  108. Michael,

    First, thanks for the clarity of response. Much appreciated.

    “It’s a surveillance drive … But WD and the distributors claim it’s really the same drive as an AV drive … Frankly, it’s unclear why there were ever different lines for these two almost identical products. My best guess is that the noise profile was once different, but that’s not really an issue with current technology. WD’s messaging has only erratically reflected this unfortunately.”

    I do see what you’re saying here, and I’m not saying you’re incorrect. But…

    WD’s unwillingness to call these drives “A/V”, and WD’s unwillingness to merge the two lines is saying something.

    Namely, either the specs are somewhat different, or batches test out somewhat different. If WD felt it could currently call these drives “A/V”, I’d like to think we both agree that they certainly would.

    As far as Weeknees goes, as far as I’m concerned, it’s all a matter of communications with customers, and to what degree that communication mirrors the clarity here. If you’re telling customers the drives are “A/V”, I think that’s ‘wrong’. If you’re just telling them what you’re saying here, I don’t think it’s a problem for educated customers.

  109. Folks who care about the core ‘DVR functionality’ of TiVo’s, of course…

    Chucky, I suppose you mean folks who want a larger HD and are willing to do that upgrade themselves? Because I see no advantage that the base model Roamio has over the base Bolt other than that (oh, and having Hulu, which should come to the Bolt soon enough). The Bolt is faster, has SkipMode and QuickMode, and Remote Finder, while having the same number of tuners and same size HD as the base Roamio. Both are compatible with digital cable and OTA. So it would seem to be better in core DVR functionality than the Roamio in several ways. And then there’s the ability to stream UHD (and probably UHD HDR in the future).

  110. Oh, I also forgot to mention that the Bolt has built-in Stream functionality, MoCa 2.0, and 802.11ac wi-fi, none of which the base model Roamio has. And I guess we haven’t definitively determined yet the upgradeability of the HD in the Bolt. Maybe it can be safely upgraded to 2.0 TB?

  111. I’m most bummed that we didn’t hear of any new apps joining the TiVo platform alongside the Bolt introduction. (The fall updates planned for TiVo, as detailed in this Engadget article, are pretty underwhelming.)
    http://www.engadget.com/2015/09/30/tivo-bolt-4k-commercial-skipmode/

    But at least we have confirmation that a new HTML5 Hulu app is on the way for TiVo. Surely it will allow for the Showtime add-on service, which may be the only way we’ll ever be able to stream Showtime on TiVo. Heck, we may even see HBO added as a Hulu premium add-on before the HBO Now app makes its way to TiVo. (Hulu has hinted it sees Showtime as only its first premium add-on. Meanwhile, HBO has made itself available as an add-on to Sling TV. Why not the more popular Hulu too?)

    Beyond that, there continue to be more quality options on the horizon for cord cutters beyond TiVo. Xbox One with OTA DVR may prove worthwhile and it feels like Android TV (Nexus Player, Nvidia Shield), with its Live Channels app and compatibility with SiliconDust tuners, could be on the cusp of something good. We’ll see…

  112. “Chucky, I suppose you mean folks who want a larger HD and are willing to do that upgrade themselves? Because I see no advantage that the base model Roamio has over the base Bolt…”

    Look, Tim. I think we can both agree neither of us is the median use-case for TiVo, if one even exists.

    But anyone with a cable sub is pretty crazy to go S6 over S5, to my way of thinking. I mean, out-of-home streaming; and ability to upgrade the HD size, either through a quite reasonable DIY, or through Weaknees at reasonable cost.

    And let’s not restrict ourselves to that lone comparison, and think S6 versus S5 more broadly. (Again, we’re specifically thinking about folks with a cable sub.) If you’ve doing MRV, you want 6 tuners instead of 4. You can pay TiVo a semi-reasonable rate for the extra storage, if you’re not comfortable with quite basic DIY.

    If you don’t have a cable sub, 500GB and 4 tuners may seem far beyond what you could ever want, but again…

    So what does S6 offer to my theorized customers? Let’s assume that TiVo can’t upscale 1080 programming any better than a 4K panel can upscale them. (Perfectly happy to be disputed on this point.) So what’s left? Currently minimal 4K native OTT content from Netflix (and maybe Amazon someday) that you can also get from a ‘cheap’ box. And let’s assume that the ‘expensive’ TiVo box will keep up perfectly as 4K standards evolve, something that is a far less pressing concern with a ‘cheap’ box from Roku or Amazon. (But we really can’t assume that last one, can we?) Not to mention that TiVo, as long as MSO-authentication is not settled by the FCC, will always lag on OTT sources. I mean, I adore OnePass as much as anyone, but let’s look realistically here.

    So, now, sell me again on the S6 over the S5 for core ‘DVR functionality for cable subs’. If you can put yourself in those shoes, I think you’ll have trouble doing so…

  113. “And I guess we haven’t definitively determined yet the upgradeability of the HD in the Bolt. Maybe it can be safely upgraded to 2.0 TB?”

    Ugh. While we certainly haven’t determined the upgradeability of the HD in S6, we do know that 2TB 2.5″ A/V drives don’t exist. So yes indeed, maybe S6 is upgradable to 2TB, but it’s not safely upgradable to 2TB.

  114. Chucky, folks who read and post on this blog or on the TiVo Community Forum are, I think, fairly unrepresentative of the average TiVo user, much less the average non-TiVo-using cable subscriber (the group whom TiVo is trying to bring in as new customers). And given that you tend to harvest and store multiple terabytes of television I suspect puts you in the extreme 5% (1%?) even among those who post on said sites. And your argument about 6 tuners versus 4 isn’t even applicable to my original statement. The base Roamio only has 4 tuners. So I still stand by my view that, between a shiny brand new Bolt with one year of service for $300 versus a last-gen refurb Roamio with one year for $250, relatively few would choose the latter.

    Now, if we’re talking about the merits of the overall S5 lineup versus the S6 lineup as it now stands, that’s a different discussion perhaps…

  115. This ten pack is cheaper per extender for the external power supplies.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CEJW0WQ?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00

    I prefer the external power supplies. That way if there is a power supply issue, it is much easier to just replace an external one then having to ship an entire unit in for repairs. Plus less heat is produced inside of the device and a device can be smaller with an external power supply.

    Of course I’m not a fan of the White external power supply for the Bolt.

  116. Does anybody know whether OnePass is supposed to integrate with Plex on the TiVo BOLT? And does the Tivo Mini gain any functionality when used with a BOLT as far as third party services is concerned?

    I’m a longtime Windows Media Center user and am looking at the TiVO BOLT as a single living room solution for Verizon FiOS Live TV + DVR, Plex, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, HBO GO, YouTube, Spotify, Pandora. I’m wondering whether I can count on this to function in the bedroom in the same manner.

  117. @Bill in NC

    The largest 2.5″ drive I’ve read about is 3TB. And it is 15mm high. The WD 2.5″ 2TB drive is 15mm high.

    Now I do have a couple of 4TB, USB powered, seagate Fast Plus external drives. But they uses two, low power 2TB 2.5″ drives in a RAID 0 configuration to give you 4TB. And give you read/write speeds of over 220MB/s(1760Mb/s).

  118. Adam, Plex is not integrated with OnePass. Doubt that’ll happen. The Mini has access to a similar set of apps as the host TiVo DVR, in addition to both live television and recordings from that hub. Your scenario would work — in my family room I run a Roamio Pro/Plus and a Mini in the bedroom, networked with no configuration via the existing coax and MoCA. I assume the apps will be faster to launch and use on the Bolt than they will on the Mini, given the newer, higher powered hardware. Sometimes I still flip to Roku (upstairs) or Fire TV (downstairs) for things, but usually stick with TiVo on Input 1 for Netflix and Amazon.

  119. @Adam — I’ve heard no news or rumors about Plex for TiVo being upgraded to include OnePass (although TiVo did move the Plex app in the new Bolt UI from “Music & Photos” up to “Find TV, Movies & Videos”). No TiVos, including the Bolt, offer HBO Go. Zatz says he’s heard no rumors about it coming to TiVo either. Boo.

  120. “Chucky, folks who read and post on this blog or on the TiVo Community Forum are, I think, fairly unrepresentative of the average TiVo user”

    No doubt whatsoever.

    “And given that you tend to harvest and store multiple terabytes of television I suspect puts you in the extreme 5%”

    As stated, I think we’re both quite unrepresentative of anything like the median TiVo customer. No doubt on that whatsoever.

    “And your argument about 6 tuners versus 4 isn’t even applicable to my original statement. The base Roamio only has 4 tuners. So I still stand by my view that, between a shiny brand new Bolt with one year of service for $300 versus a last-gen refurb Roamio with one year for $250, relatively few would choose the latter.”

    Regardless of what marketing nudges that person to choose, I still think you’re missing the actual needs of the median TiVo cable sub customer.

    “Now, if we’re talking about the merits of the overall S5 lineup versus the S6 lineup as it now stands, that’s a different discussion perhaps…”

    As I really did my best to make clear, with only partial success, I see, that really was the discussion I was wanted to have. That’s the interesting discussion, and I think would clarify quite rapidly why core functionality DVR users are so negative on the S6.

    (And FWIW, personally, I’m in an urban single-teevee cable sub household. I don’t need 6 tuners. But I do need< a HD I can get up to a reasonable capacity, plus out-of-home streaming. And all that would still apply even if I personally weren’t an admittedly edge-case harvester. All that would still apply if I’d never heard of kmttg.)

  121. @Adam – The only (crappy) problem I have with my four Mini’s is that they won’t play downloaded Amazon movies (a bunch of animated stuff for my kids). Since you can no longer download movies to the TiVo I guess this is no longer a problem for anyone. Other than that the Mini’s are fantastic!

  122. “I assume the apps will be faster to launch and use on the Bolt than they will on the Mini, given the newer, higher powered hardware.”

    While the Mini upgrade is delayed indefinitely, I still think we’ll eventually get back to the headless last-gen DVR, up-to-date Mini solution as best for discerning consumers, no?

  123. In effect the lifetime service for the Bolt is really $750 less 2 cents: $150 included in the jacked up price plus $600. What a poor attempt to save a company. A last ditch attempt to gouge the loyal customers before the patents expire and their boxes are a commodity. The XBox One with a $60 per year fee is looking like a real value.

  124. “No TiVos, including the Bolt, offer HBO Go. Zatz says he’s heard no rumors about it coming to TiVo either. Boo.”

    Boo, indeed. But as always, absent FCC intervention, MSO-authenticated apps are bound to be an Achilles heel for TiVo. Not even Les can make that happen for cable-sub customers. And that’s why core DVR functionality matters for non-Aereo customers, who seem to be all the customers for the indefinite future…

  125. Chucky, some features like comskip probably would require a new hub DVR even if an updated Mini made an appearance. Besides if or when they get around to a refreshed Mini, I may have a 4k Fire TV with TiVo app at every TV.

  126. God, Dave. For the second time, why does Captain Crank hate me? I don’t hate him. I think I add value… and magic!

    (And we only account for less than 20% of the comments, to my best rough estimation. But what’s wrong with me in the first place when I’m concerned about the opinion of someone calling himself Captain Crank? Next, I’ll be worried about what Jack Mehoff thinks of me.)

  127. Chucky, perhaps the median TiVo cable use-case does demand six tuners. (I wonder what the mix of 4-tuner vs. 6-tuner Roamios currently in use is?) But again, that has nothing to do with my initial comment, which you initially challenged but then tried to change the subject when you had no cogent argument.

    Given that Comcast now has a 6-tuner X1 DVR, and given that TiVo has offered 6-tuner DVRs for a few years now, it’s hard to believe that a 6-tuner Bolt won’t be available sometime next year (maybe after out-of-home streaming functionality comes to Bolt). For now, I agree that those TiVo users with a Roamio Plus or Pro (the only TiVos to offer more than 4 tuners) have little incentive to move to a Bolt. But I imagine TiVo’s objective for the Bolt for now is mainly to lure more cable DVR users into the TiVo fold rather than get S5 power-users to upgrade. (And they clearly don’t want those new users to buy Lifetime/All-In service but rather provide continual revenue streams going forward.) I don’t think they’ll be all that successful in gaining new subs, as I tend to think TiVo’s retail CableCard DVR business is in a gradual inexorable decline but, hey, maybe I’m wrong.

  128. “Chucky, perhaps the median TiVo cable use-case does demand six tuners.”

    Dunno. Depends entirely on whether you’re MRV or not.

    “But again, that has nothing to do with my initial comment, which you initially challenged but then tried to change the subject when you had no cogent argument.”

    My apologies for my composition. That really wasn’t my intention. My venture into an aside about how 500GB S5 cable-sub users had options that S6 users don’t really wasn’t what I wanted to get into the weeds about.

    “But I imagine TiVo’s objective for the Bolt for now is mainly to lure more cable DVR users into the TiVo fold rather than get S5 power-users to upgrade.”

    No doubt.

    “I don’t think they’ll be all that successful in gaining new subs, as I tend to think TiVo’s retail CableCard DVR business is in a gradual inexorable decline”

    TiVo has been on ‘deathwatch’ as long as I’ve been aware of TiVo, which was long before I became a long-term happy TiVo user.

    But to digresss to a vitally related matter, IMHO, the cable-sub business is prematurely buried. You’ve got 100m households, with a veeeery slow decline during a long-term horrible economy both for the middle-class and for snake people. IMHO, that’s actually a major triumph for the cable-sub business. And I continue to think there are infrastructure issues that will take years to resolve before any mass non-multicast solution is even technically viable, not even to get into economical viability.

    Now, will the multicast still be the dominant model in 20 years? I don’t think so. But let’s focus on the interim. And in that interim, what TiVo produces, (and the FCC’s protection of TiVo, as per the TCA of 1996), do matter to TiVo’s cable-sub business. In fact, they matter a lot. I agree with you that TiVo has major issues, but I think they’re making them notably worse with the hardware design decisions of the S6, which is where I have absolutely no idea if we agree or disagree…

  129. I can’t find confirmation, but will Bolt still require the external SDV Tuning Adapter for CableCards ? I thought Tivo had put that on board.

    One comment a way back mentioned the All-In payback is four years, but it is really five isn’t it (with one year service included?) Since you can decide at the end of Year 1 to do All In, it still seems a little tenuous value.

  130. Haven’t read the long list of comments but I’d bid the first few… If no one else has yet pointed it out…

    -don’t get confused by non-hardware dependent software features. They won’t be unique to the bolt and you will see most if not all come to some exiting models.

    – 4K and a ~small hard rive . The point of 4K has noting really to do with cable and recording it. Has everything to do with OTT apps 4K content which you can NOT record but can still enjoy. You will not see meaningful broadcast cable content in 4K any time soon. Way too much embedded in current ecosystem that is non-compatible. MUCH easier path via IP and OTT apps.

    – No Hulu yet and other lack of apps – I don’t think most people know that TiVo does *not* do the development for these 3rd party apps. It’s up to the 3rd parites. In the case of Hulu… Hulu has been dragging their feet – not TiVo. Tivo had been very proactive in courting high value OTT content providers to develop apps for their platform.

    On the last point…with the direction Apple is now taking with the new Apple TV and apps (which others will surely follow), I worry that the hill for TiVo may get steeper in this regard going forward.

    I’m hoping TiVo will commit to developing a TiVo client app (think mini to the extent possible) for the Apple TV.

  131. No, blame the Cable Co’s: Both Dish and DirecTV sent letters of protest to the FCC in the early stages of CableCard claiming that they were being intentionally kept out of the CableCard specs by CableLabs. It certainly seemed like the Cable Co’s wanted to leave satellite out in space and away from CableCard. Obviously, in those early days, D&D felt CableCard was going to be THE way people accessed content, and they were willing to particiapate in CableCard despite their exemption. As we all know today, it turned out satellite had nothing to fear from clunky CableCard, and later kept mum about the whole thing.

    FWIW, the cable and satellite model of providng equipment and recouping such costs from the subscriptions to TV service is far more affordable to the average consumer and is the ONLY way millions could have ever afforded and enjoyed the benifits of any DVR, with, IMHO, Dish and DirecTV providing top tier DVR systems (TiVo is also in that top tier, IMHO) that make other DVR’s look so bad, but even a rotten cable co. DVR is better than nothing, and many of those people who have them were well aware of the TiVo option but found it to be out of their budgets.

    The TiVo retail model is strictly for the affluent, wealthy, and rich. No one but the few percenters at the top of the wage scale would ever benifit from the mandate of 3rd party equipment/DVR’s. Even the TiVo’s offered by MSO’s and DirectTV are MORE EXPENSIVE when factoring in all the additional or higher fees than what they get provided by the MSO or DirecTV with no upfront cost by either. TiVo declined in subscribers and, even after some recent growth, still has a pitance of retail subscribers not because the CableCard and TA’s were such a mess up (intentional by CableLabs?
    It sure did not help), but because the economics of procuring a TiVo make no sense to the vast majority of consumers. So, let’s move on from beating the dead horse of the satellite exemption. It would not have made a difference.

  132. The following is why TiVo’s Commercial Skip is legal. It is what I remember reading from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision regarding the very early stages of the big nets’ lawsuits pre-trail phase against Dish’s AutoHop feture:

    The 9th Circuit’s ruling a few years ago of upholding the trial judge’s denial to grant a preliminary injunction requiring Dish to disable AutoHop while the pre-trail phase proceeds, explains, in detail, the whole process Dish uses to achieve the AutoHop and makes crystal clear that the plaintiff’s (the big broadcast networks) had virtually no chance of prevailing, and it was soon after that Disney and CBS came to an agreement for reauthorizing re-transmission rights and resulting in both companies dropping their lawsuits and accepting AutoHop, but did get Dish to agree to abide by the C3 and C7 (number of days from broadcast a commercial counts as viewed for revenue purposes) when playing back the recording before activating the AutoHop for that show recording.

    It seems the reason humans are used for Commercial Skip and AutoHop is that if ANY portion of the program/show is skipped, it would be a violation of copyright. So, those markers at the start and end of a commercial break MUST BE accurate. There is NO ROOM FOR ERROR. The 9th Curcuit made clear that Dish could have AutoHop skip the commercials because the broadcast nets do NOT hold copyrights to the ads/commercials. So the game is to leave the programming untouched, but place markers at the start and end of the break. The experience with Dish’s Autohop is that, after prompted to choose if one wants to watch with AutoHop enabled (this is important because it requires the user to initiate the process both from before and after the show has been prepared for AutoHop viewing, and then automatically skips over the commercial breaks with no further pressing of any buttons) we do see the first 2 seconds of the first commercial, and then it AutoHops to just the last few seconds of the final commercial. IMHO, this is done to be certain the markers are as far from the programming as reasonable and has no chance of cutting out any of the copyright programming. Dish isn’t (and possibly neither is TiVo) taking a chance. Better to have a few seconds of commercial at start and end rather than cut even a few seconds of programming and violate copyright.

    Further, the 9th did state in its ruling that the ONLY point upon which the broadcast nets could prevail is the broadcast nets contention that the copy of the programming that Dish uses for evaluation purposes in the AutoHop marking process does, indeed, appear to violate the broadcast nets contractual prohibition of any unauthorized coping of its programming. However, the 9th pointed out that the broadcast nets would have to demonstrate loss or damages from that copy of its programming by Dish, and the 9th ruling stated that considering that the copy Dish made for the purpose of internal quality control and that it is only seen by a very small number of people (less than 10, I think), it would be next to impossible for the broadcast nets to prove loss or damages due to the evaluation copy Dish makes.

    All hope the broadcast nets had was devastated by this ruling, althogh I believe their lawyers told them so from day one. Even though the nets still pursued their law suits against Dish, they must have known they “lost” or had no case after the 9th’s ruling, and both Les Moonves and Bob Iger negotiated re-transmission agreements that allowed AutoHop to stay, and that was even after Les Moonves earlier vowed, in stentorian voice, to kill it, and saying, “no way,” to AutoHop.

    The point of the above is just that what TiVo is doing with its commercial skip is LEGAL and has already been indirectly affirmed by the courts and shouldn’t face any legal challenges if TiVo does it properly, and it seems they are, especially having real people ensure no mistakes. It seems TiVo has reviewed the whole Dish AutoHop vs. broadcast nets and come to their conclusion, with the help of its own attorneys, that they feel confident in the legality of adding TiVo Commercial Skip feature. While the TiVo Commercial Skip is not a compelling feature to me (none of the Bolt is compelling to me, I like my Roamios), it is still GREAT that TiVo has included such a feature and I hope others follow. I really do think TiVo has now upped the anti, and I can’t help but think DirecTV may implement its own, long rumored, commercial skip tech it kept on hold during the big nets vs. Dish AutoHop and maybe even the cable cos., too, some time next year, may add it.

    However, I can’t help but think that there were meetings today in all the media companies of the “top 20 channels” that are to be part of TiVo’s Commercial Skip feature. Those media companies know they have no chance of winning any lawsuits related to copyright against TiVo, but they may go ahead and try to bury TiVo in court and legal costs, and this would be a huge cost for a small compnay like TiVo. The media companies would use the legal onslaught, not for the purpose of prevailing in a violation of copyright trial they have no hopes of ever winning, but as leverage to force TiVo to given the the C3 or C7 or C-whatever they need so that commrcial can count as revenue and the TiVo Commercial Skip feature for its programmin is delayed until then. It would be the same compromise as they reached with Dish. But such a compromise would still provide a really great feature, and I just can’t imagine the media companies doing nothing to gurantee a C3 or C7. They have no choice but to press for it.

    As for the Quick View feature, it is a good feature (again, it does not compel me to buy Bolt as my Roamios are are just fine, even superior in some ways). I still have my JVC S-VHS machine that has such a similar feature at 1.5X faster than normal and I was using it as recently as last month for several months to watch old Match Games or other programming because I needed to save time.

    Except for those two new features, the Bolt seems hardly any different from the S5 line. The physical box is the most different thing about the Bolt, but still a Roamio in spirit and function.

    This Bolt is NOT for us legacy subscribers. I believe it is desined (funky, hip looking box) and marketed for the younglings who have no clue of TiVo’s legacy and won’t find the come down from 6 tuners to 4 at all relavant because they would not know hardly anything about the Roamios. This is a box for the totally new generation and new subscribers.

    Lastly, the biggest roadblock and possible “killer” act of Har-Kari by TiVo is the pricing. The pricingis completely nuts! I feel so valadated by taking the Roamio and $249 Lifetime. No question the first year on them is GREAT, but after that, I really don’t think the numbers are at all appealing to that new gen of subscribers. It still comes in at way too expensive and is even farther from taking away the legions who swear by the easily inferior Channel Mastert DVR+, but it has NO ADDITIONAL fees after purchase, and a whole lot of people choose it over TiVo just on that econmoic principle alone. They just refuse to get a DVR that requires any more money beyond their intial purchase, and Channel Master is on its 4th generation DVR and has proven that the buy at one price and pay no more model can be economically successful. TiVo’s $600 for All-in is obviously designed to steer people over to the Annual or Monthly plans that NEVER stop the stream of money coming into TiVo. Such a high price “Lifetime” is a mere gesture to the super-rich. Everyon else will have to send money to TiVo for as long as thery use that Bolt.

    Overall, the Bolt does seem a bit inferior to the whole Roamio line, the pinnacle of TiVo’s great desing and features, with the Commercial Skip and Fast Viewing being the only new exciting and compelling features, but with less tuners and storage, at least for now as we can expect a step-up Bolt to come later, is a Win-Lose for me and many others. I just can’t predicts how the Bolt will do. Best of luck to TiVo becaue I would prefer to have them around than not.

  133. HarryKerryJr, thanks for the background and your thoughts. Two points –

    1) Anyone can sue anyone for any reason. Even if there is legal precedent for what TiVo is doing and how, in regards to AdSkip, they could find themselves subject to a costly battle could motivate them to change the functionality, remove it, or who knows what else. Let’s TiVo’s Samsung mobile phone lawsuit be our guide.

    2) Anyone can write letters to the FCC. At the end of the day, they set the policy and parameters. Hopefully with this next round, everyone’s onboard. Although the ship may have sailed since many providers now stream live or recorded content to a variety of retail endpoints.

    I agree with LittleBird that folks like HBO and ESPN may have even less motivation to work with TiVo with the new Apple TV — there’s only so many development cycles in the day and TiVo doesn’t have all that many customers compared to say Xbox, Roku, etc. But, hey, WWE!

  134. @aaronwt,

    both Samsung & Seagate have USB 3.0, 4TB 2.5″ external drives for sale at newegg.
    They are clearly single drives, though I expect they are at least 15mm tall.

    It would be nice if someone bought them & took them apart to see if the bare drive in each has a standard SATA connector (probably not).

    again, USB 3.0 (if not 2.0) is plenty fast enough to support external storage, Tivo just has to spend the money to update their software.

    as for me, I won’t be buying the Bolt in any way shape or form – I’m just sorry I didn’t pick up another $300 refurb base Roamio w/ lifetime last week.

  135. Excellent post, HarryKerryJr! I was not aware of the full ramifications of the dish hopper decision.

    That said, the courts never ruled against ReplayTV’s commercial skip either– like Dave said, the networks destroyed them with legal costs. TiVo must have bet that the recent Dish conclusion would protect them. But TiVo doesn’t have Dish’s deep pockets.

  136. Thanks for the info. The Seagate drive seems to be new. I see it was released in July. But it looks like it is only available as an external model right now.

  137. After 12 months, they’re expecting folks to pony up $150/yr [$12.50/mo] to keep those good times rolling. I’ve always been a fan of the annual subscription model. But not at this price, even if subsidizing hardware. $99 would move more folks and, for comparison [against high volume Xbox Gold]

    @dave $150/yr ($12.50/mo) is too expensive but $99/yr ($8.25/mo) works? Are things really so black and white that 15 cents more a day is a deal breaker?

    $150/yr includes UNLIMITED household TV support. Who offers a household DVR subscription price better than this? Verizon? Comcast? TWC? RCN?

    RCN charges $120/yr($10/mo) for each additional TV. Verizon FIOS charges $384/yr ($32/mo) minimum. Add $12 monthly for each additional TV!!!. This gets you one FIOS HD set top box ($12/mo) with 1TB DVR service ($20/mo). Another $120/yr gets you 2TB ($30/mo)!

  138. Bryan, for people who do the math, it’s not a deal breaker. In fact, if you’re not a cord cutter, Bolt compares favorably to set-top rentals. But, given TiVo’s history with this sort of pricing, most people don’t do the math. All they will see here is $150/yr. Two digits are psychologically more palatable. So new customers unfamiliar with the math will still have a hard time thinking TiVo and many existing customers will have a hard time upgrading due the devaluation of Lifetime along with tuner/drive limitations.

    Having said that, I do appreciate that bundled year of service. Will be interesting to see if the new look and new features along with marginally better pricing move the needle for TiVo.

  139. Dave, FYI… Per TiVo, at product launch, the BOLT’s MoCA feature is limited to Mini-like “connect using MoCA” capability only; the ability to bridge Ethernet & MoCA, and “create a MoCA network,” is to be enabled at a later date.

    See the following post (and thread) on TCF: http://tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?p=10649789#post10649789

  140. Wow, that’s pretty awful. But not surprising if accurate. As my post begins, they released before it was fully baked… to get in on holiday sales.

  141. Disbanding a hardware design team that had consistently cranked out cheap, basic, well-working tech for a long time and outsourcing that is a great way to cut costs.

    Seriously, when you look at the expense of that in-house hardware design team compared to the business as a whole, it’s an obvious place to cut costs.

  142. “Wow, that’s pretty awful. But not surprising if accurate. As my post begins, they released before it was fully baked… to get in on holiday sales.”

    Yup. But, still, wow.

    I mean, I’d think this was a badly misguided product even if it had shipped fully-baked, but the sheer degree of stuff MIA is just stunning. And more baking only to come quarters away…

    If you’d told me this tale a month ago, I’d have don’t a spit-take at its preposterousness.

  143. What I found most surprising was that they seemed to be keeping mum about this fairly significant MoCA limitation. There may be some annoyed new customers come time to hookup their new BOLT and simultaneously purchased Minis, if expecting to network them all via MoCA.

    I’m still hoping the information I’ve been given was wrong, and people will report that the MoCA bridging works as expected — that is, as it does with the Plus, Pro & Premiere 4 models.

  144. Dave, I agree with you about anyone can sue anyone (even at the risk of angering court with “frivolous” filings) and stated in my lengthy post that I do believe the media companies will sue TiVo for LEVERAGE to get TiVo to abide by the C3 or C7 period before allowing the Commercial Skip feature to function on selected shows. Such a lawsuit was chump change for Dish, (and Charlie Ergen was in personal talks with Bob Iger of Dinsey on key points that sealed their deal because Dish pays for their content), but would be a huge finacial burden for TiVo. TiVo has to cry “uncle” and they would be wise to do so. Submitting to the Dish compromise would not be a bad thing for TiVo and its Commercial Skip feature.

    I could be wrong about media companies suing, but companies today file suits for no other reason than LEVERAGE. It truly is a misuse of Tort, but it is a fact of modern legal life. I say again, even a compromised TiVo Commercial Skip is still a good feature and good for TiVo. I am pleased as punch TiVo is providing it even if it is only for the Bolt. They have to give that controversial new Bolt SOME VALUE or reason to upgrade from Roamio, although our group here and TCF are NOT likely to bite. Let’s us see if the legal wrangling ensues.

  145. Latest update on MoCA issue. TCF member requested a MoCA adapter for his imminently arriving BOLT but was refused, and TiVo CSR “all but guaranteed” that the MoCA bridging capability would be available for download before retail customers received their BOLTs.

    http://tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?p=10650284#post10650284

  146. Larry Schachter October 2, 2015 at 6:01 am

    I am actually very happy about this, as my expanded Roamio Plus is still the cat’s meow with a ton of life left. Perhaps in a year or so, when there is more 4k content, a 4TB, 8 tuner Bolt will be a worthwhile investment.

    FWIW, when I got my Roamio Pro/ 1 Mini setup, I never thought I would use 6 tuners, but alas, all too often my wife, who watches on the Mini will holler to me that ” the TiVo is broken and I can’t watch TV” as all of the tuners are occupied.

  147. To be fair to the Bolt, it can save money for most over the cable company DVR.

    Here a cableco HD-DVR (no OTT apps) is $25/month after taxes/fees, base Bolt is half that price annually.

    Sure you’ve still got to rent a CableCard/TA, but some cable companies offer the first one free, & even here it only costs $30/year.

    But as Dave said, most just focus on the monthly (2-digit) price, not the potential annual savings.

  148. Hey Chucky, just now getting back to this thread.

    But to digresss to a vitally related matter, IMHO, the cable-sub business is prematurely buried.
    Yep, I agree. Cord cutting is a real trend but it tends to be overhyped (hey, that’s what the media does) and cable TV is not going to disappear any time soon. (Although hopefully we’ll continue to see further MSO experimentation with skinny or flexible channel bundles.) So when I say that TiVo’s retail business for CableCard DVRs is likely going to continue to slowly ebb away, it’s not because I foresee a major secular decline of the cable industry, it’s because the past decade has shown us, I believe, that for whatever reason VERY few cable subscribers are interested in what TiVo’s selling. Whether it’s TiVo’s up-front cost, the hassle of CableCards, the inconvenience of having DVR hardware and service separate from the cableco, the fact that TiVo is incompatible with satellite TV, or just ignorance of/indifference to TiVo’s product, there’s an exceptionally low and dwindling percentage of US cable subs who go with a retail TiVo. Meanwhile, cableco DVRs are improving — witness the Comcast X1 (now with 6 tuners!), which unlike its predecessors has a UI that doesn’t look like hot garbage. So given the existing downward trend in TiVo’s net retail subs and the improving state of cableco DVRs, I’m doubtful that the new TiVo Bolt will be able to significantly change the situation. Hey, I know folks have been predicting TiVo’s demise forever — none of what I say here is original. That said, I don’t think (or hope) TiVo is going out of business any time in the next few years. I’m hopeful that lifetime subscription on my Roamio OTA will still be functional come, say, 2019.

    I agree with you that TiVo has major issues, but I think they’re making them notably worse with the hardware design decisions of the S6, which is where I have absolutely no idea if we agree or disagree…
    Well, I’m not as negative on the Bolt as you are. I guess I don’t have a strong point of view about it in terms of how it will fare with consumers. As I say above, it probably won’t make a big difference either way. I do think having the first year of service priced in with the hardware will help a bit in luring new subs. I guess if a cable-subscribing friend of mine asked me if he should go with a Comcast X1 versus a TiVo Bolt (setting aside the question of cost), I would ask him which (if any) OTT streaming services he uses, how much he watches them versus cable, how he currently accesses those services, how heavily he anticipates recording cable channels, and whether he has or soon plans to buy a 4K/UHD TV. In my mind, TiVo’s integration of OTT with traditional TV is what mostly differentiates it from X1. TiVo marketing has purposely dubbed the Bolt a “Unified Entertainment System” rather than a DVR. Cable subscribers who spend significant time watching Netflix, Amazon Prime and/or Hulu are, I think, those most likely to be tempted to check out TiVo Bolt. (That said, Bolt really only improves upon Roamio in terms of streaming in that it launches and navigates the apps faster.)

    I agree with LittleBird that folks like HBO and ESPN may have even less motivation to work with TiVo with the new Apple TV — there’s only so many development cycles in the day and TiVo doesn’t have all that many customers compared to say Xbox, Roku, etc. But, hey, WWE!
    Sadly, Dave, you may be right. If so, that will only further serve to undercut perhaps TiVo’s biggest competitive advantage, the ability to fully and intelligently integrate OTT with broadcast/cable TV. That’s why I wish TiVo would explore running an Android environment on their boxes. (I’m not a programmer or a hardware expert, so I have no idea if this is feasible for Series 4 or 5 but the Series 6 Bolt looks like it has a pretty fast processor and lots of RAM.) If they could do that, perhaps TiVo could tell select app providers “Hey, give us the code for your Fire TV or Android TV app and we’ll do whatever slight tweaking is necessary to ensure it runs well on our hardware.” Sticking with the current HTML5 app platform isn’t doing TiVo any favors in the long run, especially if they hope to significantly grow their OTA business with the Bolt Aereo Edition (should it ever be released).

  149. I can see a market for this thing. People who mount their TV on the wall, or who use a soundbar or minimal components. The curved white bolt just goes on a shelf looking like a modern art piece. I couldn’t use one at present, but I have to give Tivo credit for trying something other than another black or grey box.
    For the Tivo faithful remember, this might not be the box for you. For those people who want to record some TV and don’t frequent these forums (AKA a lot of people), it may be for them.

  150. Jon the Heretic October 7, 2015 at 10:29 am

    The Roamio was such a smart design by TiVo—focused on speed, and getting a few more apps so the “TiVo OneBox” concept wouldn’t be so laughable when compared to a $50 Roku or even a $35 Chromecast. And TiVo carried the new features down to us Premiere owners—while relatively pokey compared to every other TV-appliance, my family uses the TiVo the most because it IS closer to the OneBox. Now that we have Plex, it is even better — though it would be nice if it weren’t Opera based so it’d actually run some channels. FoxNow is FoxNope on the Tivo. Well, we do have the Roku which does all of Plex and most other things except sit at the input where we keep the TiVo, which is why the poor thing doesn’t get used.

    SO–onto the BOLT. Geez. Methinks this is a big misstep. The industrial design harkens back to other grand moves of industrial desperation by companies like Boxee that decided that rounded rectangles that don’t stack well were cool. Or maybe they think by making it unable to stack it automatically becomes the “OneBox” because you can’t place it under anything else without pissing off physics.

    And using a 2.5″ Hard Drive… Yikes. Smaller—and more expensive to upgrade. It is a win-win for…honestly, no idea who! Companies that make 2.5″ hard drives maybe? Maybe it allows them to make the box more curvy and unable to stack under anything else. This is a very Apple move only with zero benefit to any user like the super thin iMac screens (super thin mobile devices actually being useful). Form over function…and a terrible Form factor at that.

    What’s next, put 128GB SDDs in place of vastly larger HDs so we can make the TiVo a sphere? Sure it might roll off your media center but the design really would push the envelope, just like the Cube introduced by an ambitious young Steve Jobs minus any practicality or logic. Boots in like a second but would push the whole industry to MP5 to store in order to store more than 20 hours of HD.

    Or maybe they will follow it with the new TiVo Bit, which will revive those tiny little 1″ inch hard drives that Apple used in the first iPods. Think of the businesses that would almost come back from extinction. It could be Roku sized in every way except the price. Some of the online channels at 10 times the price.

    My guess is that this bold new design came from a young industrial designer looking to create a nice portfolio for his next job and was backed by the same clueless TiVo executive who thought basing the TiVo UI off of Flash was a good idea. Designs this bad don’t get far without an executive sponsor who thinks of himself as awesome and cool and on the cutting edge. On the ball. Totally In. Outside the Box. Paradigm Shifter.

    This is a sad follow on product to a really nearly perfect run with the Roamio. If they hadn’t dumped OTA on the more feature rich streaming models, I would have gotten one. Like the Quantum Cat, I am in a constant state of flux being a cable subscriber and a cord cutter. I need both card card and OTA and was hoping TiVo would rediscover people like me. Instead they discovered they have a terrible taste in design in this world where everyone thinks they can be Apple by hiring a 20-something industrial or visual designer or two.

  151. Jon the Heretic October 7, 2015 at 10:44 am

    I should add the Bolt will work brilliantly to help TiVo sell refurbed Roamios.

  152. In my mind, TiVo’s integration of OTT with traditional TV is what mostly differentiates it from X1.TiVo marketing has purposely dubbed the Bolt a “Unified Entertainment System” rather than a DVR. Cable subscribers who spend significant time watching Netflix, Amazon Prime and/or Hulu are, I think, those most likely to be tempted to check out TiVo Bolt.

    Agreed… along with cost per additional screen. If someone has just a single television, an X1 along w/ a Roku (or other streaming device) might be the way to go, especially with Comcast deeply discounting the X1 when bundled; but once you start looking at additional rooms, which Comcast almost never discounts, the costs really start going up for the X1 solution.

    (That said, Bolt really only improves upon Roamio in terms of streaming in that it launches and navigates the apps faster.)

    For those looking to deploy a TiVo whole home solution, the BOLT also offers the significant advantage over the base Roamio model of MoCA connectivity, even bridging — being able to use the BOLT to create a MoCA network on the home’s coax lines. That’s a $50 savings, and, perhaps more importantly, a cleaner, easier install to support. I just wish that TiVo was offering the new Actiontec MoCA 2.0 adapters at a discount, to go along with the BOLT’s MoCA 2.0 capability.

    Oh, and there’s also the built-in TiVo Stream mobile streaming capability. (Though TiVo has some work to do on Out-of-Home streaming for the BOLT.)

    So a very nice upgrade, though not as much of a “budget” device as was the base Roamio during the refurb sale.

  153. Bolt really only improves upon Roamio in terms of streaming in that it launches and navigates the apps faster

    I see, now, that you may have only been focusing on the streaming improvements, with this statement, and not making a broader statement that faster launch and navigation for streaming apps was the BOLT’s “only” real improvement over the base Roamio.

    (Maybe didn’t need to be said, but I also wanted to test the HTML markup options. :) )

  154. Bolt needs more storage! at Least 3000 gb which they have with Romio.

  155. Bolt needs more storage! at Least 3000 gb which they have with Romio (sic)

    Bolt has the same amount of storage as the entry level model it’s replacing, but the Bolt is also offered in a version with double that storage, 1TB. The anticipated Pro version of the Bolt will come with capacities similar to or greater than the Roamio Pro; until then, there’s always DIY.

  156. I saw the question above on the need for a tuning adapter, but did not see the answer. n Does anyone have insight into the need for the bolt? My gut says needed, but I saw references to TiVo have the SW. Capability on some boxes. Thanks

  157. For cable operators that use Switched Digital Video, you’ll need the Tuning Adapter. And, yes, that introduces another set of potential complications. When I was on Cox, they never could get them working reliably – which kinda fast tracked my plan to move to Verizon FiOS. I was fortunate enough to have a choice.

  158. @Mike U, I find the app performance in my Roamio Plus to be on par, if not better than our Roku 2 XD, PS3 and LG Smart Plasma. In fact, the TiVo implementation of the Amazon app is lightning fast compared to the LG and PS3 version, and the remote content loads almost instantly. I only ever use Amazon Prime on our TiVo now.

    Granted, the Xfinity app crashes and is pretty slow, but I’m just glad that I can finally use my cable providers on-demand service and not own their crappy equipment for the first time.

    On another note, not sure if it’s widely advertised, but if you’ve been a long-time TiVo customer (I think 10 yrs +), you can get a Roamio Plus and product lifetime service for $500, which is a few hundred less than we paid for lifetime and a new HD TiVo back in 2009.

  159. On another note, not sure if it’s widely advertised, but if you’ve been a long-time TiVo customer (I think 10 yrs +), you can get a Roamio Plus and product lifetime service for $500, which is a few hundred less than we paid for lifetime and a new HD TiVo back in 2009.

    Actually, many are reporting that the “loyalty” threshold has been dropped to 5+ years. Also, the “loyalty” discount is on the Lifetime service plan, just $99 for a Roamio Plus or Pro, on top of the current retail price for either unit when direct-purchased from TiVo: $350 for the Plus, $500 for the Pro… putting the total prices at:

    $450 for Roamio Plus w/ Lifetime service plan
    $600 for Roamio Pro w/ Lifetime service plan

    NOTE: Rumors swirl that the “loyalty” offer will expire at the end of October.

  160. Wow, we just purchased a few months ago… wish we would have known and saved $50! Our HD TiVo was on its last legs and I didn’t feel like replacing the HDD and reloading the OS, so just pulled the plug on the “loyalty” deal.

  161. Wow, we just purchased a few months ago… wish we would have known and saved $50!

    The retail price drop for the Plus & Pro models only happened after the release of the BOLT; previously, the “loyalty” prices were what you paid: $500 ($400+$100) for the Plus, $700 ($600+$100) for the Pro — and were restricted to 10+ year customers.

  162. “I find the app performance in my Roamio Plus to be on par, if not better than our Roku 2…”

    You sir, are an extreme outlier. Pretty much 99% of folks who’ve expressed an opinion on the matter come down on the other side. Dunno about your other devices, but my mid-range Roku 2 is notably faster in both launching and (more importantly) navigating OTT apps than my S5 TiVo, which has much more powerful hardware than your S4 TiVo. And of course, more recent Rokus make it even less of a contest.

    And I say this all as someone who rarely uses his Roku. I strongly prefer using my TiVo for OTT, despite the slower OTT app performance, because I absolutely love the OnePass unified interface. OnePass means I never really have to deal with the OTT UI’s. I just launch the show I want, and I’m there.

    But when I try to go to the OTT services via their top-level UI, there is really no contest between the speediness of the Roku and the sluggishness of the TiVo…

  163. @Chucky, what do you mean? I don’t have a Premier, I have a Series 5 like yourself (Roamio Plus). I replaced a Series 3 (HD TiVo) that was starting to have hard disk problems. The apps on the HD and Premieres were terrible of course, and I never bothered using their minimal functionality.

    I don’t know what to say, I suppose I could take a video. I haven’t used a lot of the other apps, mostly Amazon, Xfinity, and the DLNA interface to my NAS, but my Amazon on the Roamio is screaming fast, 1 – 2 seconds for initial load, and I’m in a show on my watchlist in under 30 total. That compared to my slim-line PS3 where it could take a minute or longer for the background content to load before I am even presented with usable options, such as recently watched or watchlist. The LG Smart TV version of the app is almost as slow as my PS3 implementation, but not as bad to load background content. Although, moving around the UI with the TV’s IR remote is pretty sluggish on the LG.

    It’s been a while since I’ve used the Roku’s 2 XD’s version, but it was somewhere in the middle with other apps, such as Sprout, Netflix, and Crackle being pretty quick and painless to use.

  164. My TiVo apps are uniformly slower than my Roku 3 (2014), Xbox One, and Fire TV. However, whereas I did not find the speed tolerable on Premiere (prior to the Haxe rewrite), it’s acceptable on Roamio/Mini. (For comparison, the “smart” TV features on my 22″ Vizio and 50″ Panasonic are unusable.)

    Roku makes conversation difficult given their reuse of names. For example, the 2015 Roku 2 has the same processor as the 2014 Roku 3, which was significantly faster than the 2014 Roku 2. The XD is older still.

  165. “Chucky, what do you mean? I don’t have a Premier, I have a Series 5 like yourself (Roamio Plus).”

    Complete misreading on my part. My error.

    “I don’t know what to say, I suppose I could take a video.”

    All I’m saying is that you are an extreme outlier on this topic. If you monitor comments here, or on TiVoCommunity, you’ll find pretty much 99% of the opinions on TiVo/Roku OTT app speed are the polar opposite of yours. To be frank, 99% is actually understating it. I’ve never run across someone with your opinion on the topic.

    “That compared to my slim-line PS3 … The LG Smart TV version of the app is almost as slow…”

    As stated, I can’t speak to your other devices. At all. I’m just talkin’ Roku, though I strongly assume Fire TV, Apple TV, and probably even Chromecast share Roku’s quite noticeable speed advantage over TiVo.

    (And again, I speak as someone who rarely fires up my Roku, since I far prefer the unified OnePass TiVo UX, which also helps ameliorate the TiVo OTT app speed deficit, since you don’t have to navigate the damn sluggish apps. I just fire the Roku up for HBO Go, and once a month or so I do lean-back Roku ‘discovery’ across the various services for additions I haven’t found via my normal TiVo, kmttg, and web search activity. It’s worth my while to switch inputs for ‘discovery’ to navigate so very much more responsively; I wouldn’t bother if TiVo’s apps were even close.)

    “It’s been a while since I’ve used the Roku’s 2 XD’s version”

    As Dave notes, your Roku model is pretty damn old and outclassed. Even the cheapest new Roku’s would likely make the overwhelming speed advantage obviously apparent even to you…

  166. This seems to be product to get NEW Tivo customers, rather than getting existing Tivers to upgrade. I hope it works. We need more people so that Tivo can be rich and create more products. It’s very difficult to convince people who have a cable DVR of any real advantage. Now they might have one. I have a pro with 3 mini’s attached. I have no intention of getting a bolt, but do hope it’s successful.

  167. I upgraded. I have two TiVo Bolts now. I upgraded one to a 4TB drive. And I got another 4TB drive this week, while on sale for $150, to put in the second Bolt.

    I will eventually sell my Lifetime ROamio Pro(with a 5TB drive). And I still have a Roamio on $6.95 monthly and a ROamio on Lifetime(1TB drive). Plus four Minis. With the new pricing structure I will use the Bolts and then hopefully a Bolt Pro will come out in less than 12 months and then I can switch to that.

  168. is there a work-around to get HBO Go on the bolt?

  169. So it seems a lot of us loyal Roamio Pro/Plus users with the capability of recording/streaming 6 shows at once are on the fence about going to the Bolt. I cant say that I am compelled and for 2 reasons. Tivo should have never downgraded the number of tuners for the Plus/Pro Roamio users. I have 2 Minis and very easily between streaming and recording multiple shows concurrently – 4 tuners is NOT going to cut it. Also I am a HULU plus subscriber – I can watch that just fine on my Roamio Plus. If I go to the Bolt – I give up 2 tuners and now dont have Hulu without the inconvenience of changing to the Apple TV. Yes.. the advantages are a faster 1Gb NIC interface, 4K (which to me is not really important), and the commercial skip – which is a very nice feature. But – with the 2 reasons stated above – I’ll just fast forward through the commercials. By now, I have gotten pretty good at it. As far as my two reasons to not upgrade perhaps there will be enough other Romamio Plus/Pro users who feel the same way that Tivo will take notice.

  170. Tivo should have never downgraded the number of tuners for the Plus/Pro Roamio users.

    TiVo didn’t downgrade the number of tuners; TiVo didn’t downgrade anything. TiVo released a 4-tuner BOLT upgrade for the basic Roamio ahead of their usual 3-year product cycle. It’s an advance upgrade for those where a 4-tuner unit, that can do either CableCARD or OTA, is a fit, and was prompted by TiVo’s desire to find a place in the 4K conversation. Along w/ 4K, the BOLT 4-tuner upgrade also brings the built-in MoCA and Stream (mobile streaming) capabilities sorely lacking in the 4-tuner basic Roamio — aside from being much more powerful — which will remove some of the confusion with installation and setup.

    The 6-tuner Roamio Pro continues to be the “top end” device, and will continue to be so until its BOLT upgrade arrives Fall 2016.

  171. i have my blue ray player on top of my existing tivo in my media cabinet, the shape of this thing makes it pretty hard to place anywhere in my setup. plus its white, everything else i have is black. i am not sure who makes these decisions.. no one was waiting for a white one with a stupid shape before they bought a tivo..