TiVo Bolt Plus Arrives 9/15

Bolt-plusBy way of TiVo CMO Ira Bahr and CEDIA outreach, we seemingly now have a name and a date for the TiVo big boy box they teased enthusiasts with after a somewhat lukewarm Bolt reception.

I had assumed any higher-end box would feature a more subtle and traditional enclosure, both for heat dissipation purposes and to address audience preference – stylistic and hard drive. Indeed, the precedent had been set with two distinct Roamio enclosures. However, I fear that Bolt moniker reuse and CEDIA imagery implies the non-standard presentation is part of the package. At least it features a black finish?

As to what Bolt+ hardware will bring to the table, well something more than 4 tuners is a lock. Given CableCARD limitations and available hardware, 6 tuners seems like be a safe bet. Additional recording storage is also obvious and, regardless of form factor, 2TB would be the absolute minimum given the current Bolt that maxes out at 1TB. Like the Roamio Pro/Plus, would OTA capabilities be excluded? Might we be treated to other surprises, like additional audio support or an OLED display? (Ha, just kidding. There will never be another OLED display.) As with the original Bolt, this new model will be 4k-capable with HDR likely on the docket.

Anything else on our wish list?

41 thoughts on “TiVo Bolt Plus Arrives 9/15”

  1. Is there a 2.5 drive larger than 2TB currently? I thought most of the people going with larger drives in the bolt were opting for 3.5 drives in external cases.

  2. Guess the designers of the Bolt don’t have to use big ass terminal adapters like a lot of us. My TAs sit on the top of my Roamio Pro and Elite.

  3. Really not a fan of original form factors… despite the fact that stacking is disfavored, some of us do it whether it is due to space allowances or other considerations.

    That said, will be very interested to learn more about specs (bring on HDR and ATMOS) and pricing.

  4. I would’ve thought that TiVo would go with a more traditional design for this new high-end retail box too, and maybe even choose not to use the Bolt brand for it. I guess they opted to keep incremental costs as low as possible, though, and keep all Series 6 hardware on the same general platform, both tech-wise and marketing-wise. I suspect it will be the same as the Bolt but with a CableCARD-based 6-tuner set-up, no OTA tuners, 2 TB 2.5″ hard drive and HDMI 2.0a supporting HDR. Maybe updated TiVo apps from Amazon Video and VUDU will be ready to roll out alongside it supporting 4K and/or HDR content.

    I wonder whether this will be the last retail TiVo device to ever be unveiled?

  5. 2.5″ drives go up to 4TB.

    Tivo is splurging for them, though. 3.5″ drives would have been cheaper so they must’ve been really committed to this form factor.

  6. The primary thing that kept me from considering Bolt is the total lack of antenna support. I’m an antenna only person, and I have the basic Roamio – not the OTA model.

    Right now, there’s ZERO reason for me to consider upgrading to a Bolt ,because there’s nothing at all it does that I can’t do on my Roamio.

  7. Ben’s been pining for HDMI-CEC a long time… I don’t know that I *need* it but, at the very least, how about flipping to live television on my Minis when I hit the power button? It seems so unnatural to be dropped straight into a static menu. Even tho I often go there for programming.

  8. That’s it. Game over for me. If they can’t take the home theater market seriously enough to give us a more standard enclosure shape, then after 17yrs with Tivo I’m not buying the new Kool-Aid.

  9. Brad, the higher-end Roamios and the existing Bolts all trancode and stream — there’s no reason to think the flagship Bolt wouldn’t. Although the implementation is still kinda wonky. I assume that’s to avoid legal issues.

  10. I get the dissent from the high end home theater people about the enclosure. I have to imagine, though, that there’s not a lot of you out there. Probably even less so to be into high end home theater and be a TiVo enthusiast. I’m sure the people at TiVo/ rovi have a decent grasp on those numbers. If that’s the case, then the product must be marketable to more than just the high end prosumer. That requires compromises, otherwise the cost becomes unreasonable very fast. TiVo has aggressively been marketing the bent enclosure as something fun. It’s kind of become a brand image thing for them. I can see why they might want to keep that enclosure. It’s easy enough to change the plastic color, probably doesn’t change cost at all, but does give a nod to that prosumer market at the same time. For a company with a product line that has such a small deployment, it’s probably the smartest approach.

  11. Making new models is a good thing no matter what it has. That said, Oculus Rift support would be nice? (I am kidding)

  12. @Joe Siegler,
    The Bolt does indeed support ota antenna. I’m not sure why you’re saying it doesn’t?

  13. TiVo has aggressively been marketing the bent enclosure as something fun. It’s kind of become a brand image thing for them.

    Sales suggest it hasn’t been very effective… In the last year, they’ve net only 30,000 newly subscribed boxes, which I believe includes Mini.


    As CMO indicates, they need something beyond DVR to grow their business and it sounds like CES 2017 is the target.

  14. Joe Seigler, the Bolt has always had an OTA antenna option. It’s pretty solid especially when you know some channels are weaker than others.

  15. Dave, I’m looking to upgrade from my series 3. Are you saying I should wait until CES 2017? I was waiting for the bolt with 6 tuners. Thanks and keep up the good work.

  16. James, what’s tentatively scheduled for CES 2017 reveal is not a traditional DVR and maybe not entirely a Roku-esque solution either. If a DVR is what you need, this Bolt Pro may be a good option. However, pricing will be interesting since I assume they’re sticking with the more costly 2.5″ hard drive.

  17. Wondering if the 6 Tuner Bolt Plus and Minis is worth giving up streaming on the FiOS Quantum TV setup at this point…. Anything else I would lose going back to Tivo?

  18. @ananth, Mainly you would lose VOD access from the box. The Bolt can stream or download recordings and live tv to mobile devices, in and out of home over wifi. (I don’t know the current status of mobile network transfers off hand… mobile features have been trickling out over the last year and I lose track of what’s available or isn’t.)

  19. FiOS DVR experience/interface has really stagnated. I know they’ve got some new stuff in the hopper, but TiVo is far superior in nearly every aspect. As you mention, you’ll lose the in-home streaming and, as Another Mike mentions, VOD will be lost. But you’ll gain TiVo’s version of streaming, which has pros and cons plus apps like Netflix and Amazon from your primary interface (plus One Pass integration) If you use Verizon apps, you obviously lose that sort of capability but TiVo offers similar for scheduling and remote control, etc.

  20. Thanks. I said streaming, I meant VOD. I think that whoever gives me an XBOX/ROKU?APPLETV Client App will probably get my money.

  21. When Verizon, Cox, Comcast, etc provide an app like that you better believe it’ll be restricted in unpleasant ways… ;) TiVo has a Fire TV app, but it’s recordings only and not very good. A HDHomeRun Prime with Channels DVR (when available) for Apple TV might be an interesting option…

  22. If the XBOX app worked like the mobile App on Android/iOS worked but only in the home, that would be good enough for me. Thus far the only restrictions i have seen are no jailbroken/rooted devices.

  23. For my I want some more apps, updated apps, and FIOS VOD. Though, I know that there are more partnership details and not hardware design.

    I am a little hesitant to upgrade to the bolt considering how little 4k content is available, and there really seems to be little other benefit.

    So here is a list of random features they can add that i marginally want.
    -As Ben said HDMI-CEC would be nice.
    -And I would take it a step further and emulate a receiver by having pass-through for a blu-ray player or/and a gaming system (or a more capable streamer) that can also be controlled through the HDMI-CEC for the dream of never having to change inputs.
    -Having an option to send the the sound to bluetooth headphones.
    -User profiles would be nice.
    -All HD menus would be nice.
    -Voice control
    -Home Automation Support (I am just getting started with smart things)
    -Screen Casting (like casting tabs to the chromecast)
    -A better way to record collections and to be able to modify it (I like the “new fall shows” collection, but i really want the ability to get rid of shows that I have decided not to continue watching)
    -Communication between streaming apps and the tivo when it comes to episodes you’ve watched.

  24. 4TB drives that will work in the Bolt (but are not AV certified) are around $175 retail external USB 3.0 (take the drive out of its enclosure.)

    I think I’d wait until 4K is _fully_ standardized (HDR vs. Dolby TV, anyone?) before buying either a display or DVR that purports to be “UHD.”

    And don’t forget ATSC 3.0 for your 4K screen (tuners should be available starting next year.)

  25. Myaik concern for s definitely ATSC 3.0. o Have a 46 inch Sony 1080p display purchased in 2008. With that said, o don’t have the luxury of buying a display when a new advancement has been announced. OTA reception is a priority in my set up and with the new standard coming down the pipe, I’d much rather wait.

    For me the current Bolt is great for my needs. I use it primarily for live and recorded TV. Plex, Netflix , and Amazon instant are configured, but I use the Nvidia Shield for those purposes. I also treat the bolt like a Chromecast which is just more fluff for an already great box.

  26. I wish it would allow connection to satellite cable, I have dish, once my tivo series retires I will be forced to use the hopper

  27. Bill in NC .
    The Vizio HDR TVs do both. (M and P Series)…. I think that anything that does Dolby Digital can do HDR10. But I think that HDR10 will be the standard since UHD Bluray has adopted it.

  28. @brennok
    “Is there a 2.5 drive larger than 2TB currently? I thought most of the people going with larger drives in the bolt were opting for 3.5 drives in external cases.”

    I’ve been using a 4TB, 2.5″ drives, in each of my Bolts since October of last year. So far they are still working great. If the Bolt Pro still takes 2.5″ drives I guess I will transfer one of my 4TB drives over to it.

  29. @ Dave Zatz
    “Ben’s been pining for HDMI-CEC a long time… I don’t know that I *need* it but, at the very least, how about flipping to live television on my Minis when I hit the power button? It seems so unnatural to be dropped straight into a static menu. Even tho I often go there for programming.”

    I would hate to go into Live TV when first using my Minis. First of all I don’t watch Live TV. And secondly I think going to the menus is much better that being on some arbitrary channel showing an arbitrary program.

  30. “drives me nuts that they still don’t have a 6 tuner bolt.
    I’m forced to buy $450 roamio pros for my clients.”

    I’m still using 2 two-tuner Premieres from 2010. So….. perspective. ;)

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