Is “TiVo Bolt” TiVo’s Answer To Sling TV & Aereo?

By way of the US Patent & Trademark office, we see that TiVo has submitted not one but four applications for a “TiVo Bolt” trademark. As their “late July” Aereo news announcement approaches (and assuming they’re still on schedule), I figured there was no way in hell TiVo could launch an online video subscription service to rival Sling TV as they target cordcutters… but, they seem to open that very door via verbiage found in the most interesting of the filings:

Subscription television broadcasting services; cable television transmission of personalized and interactive television programming


And the rest:

Computer hardware, computer software for use in connection with personalized, interactive, television programming and remote control units for use therewith

Entertainment services, namely, personalized and interactive entertainment services in the nature of providing personalized television programming, and interactive television programming and games, and entertainment information, namely, an online guide to personalized and interactive television programming

Promoting the sale of goods and services of others through the distribution of on-line promotional material

Curiouser and curiouser. And way more likely than their abandoned Pique trademark. Start your speculation engines below!


8 thoughts on “Is “TiVo Bolt” TiVo’s Answer To Sling TV & Aereo?”

  1. Hmm. Yes, it does sound rather Sling TV-like. I actually never really saw TiVo adding Sling TV to their platform as it’s both too similar to, and too different from, what they already offer: a program guide/UI for navigating among various live TV channels and watching select shows on demand (either recorded or streamed). Imagine adding the Sling TV app to the Roamio OTA and spending half your time in the traditional TiVo UI for your OTA channels and the other half in the Sling TV UI for your cable channels. Not ideal. Sling TV involves watching and switching between live TV channels — core functions of the TiVo — but in ways that differ from the normal TiVo experience, e.g. ability to pause and rewind live TV. (Maybe the Sling TV on-demand content could be aggregated into OnePass but still…)

    So, all that said, maybe Bolt will be TiVo’s own skinny bundle of live streaming cable channels that will integrate into the normal TiVo UI alongside OTA channels. Perhaps instead of recording a show on a streaming channel, a streaming OnePass will be created when you hit the record button.

    I also note that the patent first mentions “computer hardware”. Maybe this service will work only on a new type of TiVo box — a dedicated streaming box without a hard drive? — and be completely separate from the traditional TiVo experience? That seems a stretch but who knows. I had been anticipating that the upcoming announcement would be for some kind of new service/software, not a new piece of hardware that would compete with or replace the Roamio OTA. Then again, the original Aereo was for folks who only wanted to stream their TV and not mess around with OTA antennas. Maybe TiVo is going to go all-in on a streaming product.

  2. Also keep in mind that many trademark and patent applications go nowhere, can change, may not surface for a year, etc… like TiVo Pique.

  3. Tim – The new commercials that they had the public vote on via social media around a month or so ago (happy vs horrified) appeared to show the TiVo OTA in exactly the same form it is today…so I am guessing your hunch on this ‘late-July’ announcement would be service/software related as opposed to hardware.

  4. Yep, that new commercial was the main reason why I didn’t foresee TiVo rolling out a new piece of hardware targeting cord-cutters. Perhaps the mention of hardware in the Bolt patent filing (one of four filings, actually) is superfluous. And, as Dave mentions, perhaps Bolt is, at this point, just vaporware and nothing to do with the pending announcement. I guess we’ll see in the next 11 days…

  5. What if the “Bolt” had a small hard drive to allow local programing on a DVR, but also call up stored commercials weighted to the viewing content selected by the customer or what TRA says that household would want, even while streaming. Then the customer could purchase the item by PayPal.

    or it’s an electric car.


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