The new TiVonomics got you down? Fortunately for you, TiVo is blowing our select Roamio inventory post Bolt intro. And this Roamio OTA is bundled with Lifetime service for a very attractive $300. For comparison, the 4-tuner Bolt starts at the same $300 but, after year one, requires either $150/year for ongoing service or $600 for Lifetime. Granted, Bolt does 4k… but, with a limited selection of content, it’s likely not yet a motivating for most. The main thing you give up is the Bolt’s controversial new look and integrated stream capabilities. One is likely irrelevant and the other can be corrected with an even more capable $130 Stream accessory, should you so choose. But you better strike while the iron is hot as TiVo will run out of inventory at some point and will surely cease sales once the OTA-only Bolt is unveiled later this year to prevent cannibalization. (Thanks David!)
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Beyond TiVo VP Margret Schmidt operating well out of her lane to periodically chime in on the TiVo Community Forum, the site that TiVo once bankrolled hasn’t seen much company participation in recent years. That changed today with a marathon QA session handled by TiVo Chief Marketing Officer Ira Bahr. I appreciate his frank engagement with the community and his message (even if the Investor Relations group may not).
Ira provides quite a bit of insight into their market strategy with Bolt and intention to keep the hardcore happy with a more suitable product offering next year. I still think the Bolt has an uphill battle, as currently presented… but perhaps there’s time to deliver a more economical cord cutter-centric “Aereo Edition” this year or flip up pricing should they receive the lukewarm response I expect.
Along with the introduction of the TiVo Bolt comes a slew of pricing and policy changes. They’re probably good for TiVo, Inc. But the adjustments are largely unfavorable for TiVo customers (and potential customers).
The devaluation of Lifetime service is the most painful for longtime TiVo fans. Under the “All-In” rebrand, the fee has been raised to $600… without the traditional $100 off for existing customers and without it being offered at time of purchase. Which means you could be rolling the dice. Who knows what the scenario will be a year from now when a year of bundled Bolt and Roamio Pro service expires. Also impacting existing customers is the end of multi-service discount (MSD), in which folks get a few dollar break for each additional DVR on a monthly plan. Fortunately, those who currently possess discounts will retain them… as long as they make no adjustments to their account.
But here’s where it gets weird. And this is going to mess up uninformed people who pick up used TiVos on ebay, craigslist, and the like. Series 1, Series 2, and Series 3/HD TiVo units without Lifetime service will no longer be activated. Based on the support note, it also seems like folks with effected hardware on an annual plan could end up with a brick when their term expires. Fun times. Of course, with MPEG4 killing a number of TiVos in Comcast’s footprint and the loss of Amazon and YouTube apps, those S3/HD models are less compelling these days. But, as they’re continuing to support Lifetimes units (for now?), why not also keep the lights on for units in the basement someone may want to reactivate?
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.
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. Continue Reading…
Amidst the TiVo Bolt hits and misses, an Amazon Fire TV app has been confirmed. As first demonstrated in July of 2014, as an overseas MSO cloud offering and in relation to TiVo’s Haxe transition, Digital Trends suggests the app should be available to retail customers real soon.
TiVo would probably prefer you invest in one of its TiVo Mini boxes to share stored content with other televisions in the house, but with support for Apple Airplay and a new TiVo Android app available for Fire TV, you can use the streamers you might already have to access all of your recordings.
We first caught wind of the TiVo Bolt via USPTO, CableLabs, and FCC regulatory filings. Info gleaned from premature website publication and industry sources suggest this Series 6 lineup will ultimately replace the four-unit Roamio family with a streamlined trio of 4k-capable models – that all include mobile “Stream” capabilities for unified functionality and marketing. The Bolt line also looks to retain spinning platters for local storage, although DVR hard drive capacity and physical size remain open questions.
Given that web graphic, it’s safe to assume at least two models will feature a stunning new enclosure that will surely elicit strong opinions. Based on the render, I originally had my doubts. But, now having seen it, I quite like and would have no problem displaying the all-white (OTA/Cable) or black & white (OTA) variant on my TV stand. Beyond aesthetics, I assume that asymmetrical arch also helps with heat dissipation. Continue Reading…
I’ve got some good news and I’ve got some bad news. Which are one in the same. It’s a matter of perspective, I suppose.
As we twiddle our thumbs in anticipation of TiVo Bolt, the DVR pioneer’s next streaming app has presented itself. Nope, it’s not HBO, Showtime, nor ESPN. It’s WWE. Although I’m not overly excited, there are clearly a couple of you who will be once the app hits within the next few weeks. Continue Reading…
No one leaks quite like TiVo… as the forthcoming TiVo Bolt has just shown up in five YouTube videos that seemingly document time to launch, play, etc for the development staff. However, for us civilians, there are a few interesting nuggets.
First, the Bolt will feature flatter interface elements, as previously disclosed via patent filings and an overseas demo. Next, we can confirm the TiVo Bolt really is the “Series 6” — which reinforces differing internals than Roamio and perhaps bolster the case for those 4k capabilities I’d been alerted to. Lastly, lo and behold, the System Information screen is finally rendered in glorious HD! Will 2015 be the year that TiVo finally and completely abandons the SDUI? (probably not)