TiVo Unveils Bolt Set-Top Box With 4K, Commercial Skipping
TiVo introduced this week a new 4K Ultra HD-ready DVR option for cable and over-the-air TV viewers who also want to integrate built-in standard and 4K streaming services.
The new TiVo Bolt, which will replace the TiVo Roamio box, supports cable, OTA and over-the-top (OTT) programs available in SD, HD, Full HD and 4K Ultra HDTV resolution. It is available for $300 for a 500GB version or $400 for a 1TB version. Pricing includes a year’s worth of service for either package. After the first year, TiVo applies its $15 per month service guide fee. Yearly and lifetime subscription options are also available.
The Bolt is designed to receive and tune over-the-air broadcasts and includes a CableCARD slot for cable subscribers looking for a more robust solution to DVRs supplied by the local cable system operator. They’ll also own the box instead of leasing it by the month.
More on TiVo’s Bolt after the jump:
The TiVo Bolt features four tuners for recording up to four OTA or cable broadcasts at a time and comes in a new white box design with an ergonomic upward bend or arc to break up the traditional flat box look while providing additional venting to keep components cool.
TiVo has also taken the controversial step of following Dish Network’s lead by equipping the Bolt with SkipMode and QuickMode buttons that allow fast forwarding over programs or commercials or jumping over whole commercial segments at a time with the press of a button.
To do this, viewers must watch programs on certain networks between 4pm and midnight. The Bolt records the show and presents it with commercials ready to be skipped about 30 minutes after the shows are recorded. Shows that qualify for commercial skipping are identified with a green “skip” button in the guide.
SkipMode passes over commercial breaks of certain recorded shows with a single button press, and will notify viewers on screen when a commercial can be skipped.
The QuickMode speeds up playback of recorded material 30 percent with normal audio pitch. This is intended to help viewers who want to move rapidly through programs like news reports while still following the dialog of the program.
The Bolt includes OneSearch and OnePass universal search functions, which combine listings of available programs from multiple platforms, including cable, OTA broadcast, video-on-demand and over-the-top (OTT) streamed content. OnePass gathers recordings of all airings of particular programs over a season and places them in folders for easy binge watching.
TiVo said that it is also making it possible for other devices to link to and play TiVo content using an iOS app with AirPlay for the Apple TV box. TiVo is reportedly working on an app for Amazon’s Fire TV.
TiVo said the Bolt will be updated this fall to support a “Share with Friends” mode that lets viewers share links to shows of interest with family and friends via email, Facebook, Twitter and other social media services.
Receiving parties need only click on the link to a page on an iOS or Android device, or web site where they can watch the show.
The Bolt will carry Internet supporting apps for OTT services including Netflix, YouTube, Amazon and others. It will also support 4K Ultra HDTV streaming from Netflix and YouTube, with others planned to be added later.
The Bolt is available online for pre-order today and will be in stores starting Oct. 4.
By Greg Tarr
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