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TiVo Unveils BOLT, A Modern, 4K-Ready DVR Designed For The Streaming Era

DVR maker TiVo right now is saying the newest addition to its Collection 6 lineup of gamers with the arrival of the TiVo BOLT.

The BOLT is a uniquely designed, all-white participant providing 4K help in addition to a revamped consumer interface that introduces new features like the power to skip business breaks on recorded content material in addition to the power to hurry up playback 30 % quicker whereas listening to pitch-corrected audio.

The participant additionally consists of TiVo’s fashionable features like OnePass subscriptions, OneSearch and help for the extra lately launched net portal, TiVo On-line.

Fundamentals

  • Cable + OTA help
  • CPU Cores/DMIPS: 2/11,000
  • DDR memory: 3 GB
  • HDMI Output: 4K/HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2
  • 4K decode: Sure – HEVC/VP9
  • HDD: 500 GB or 1 TB
  • Transcode/#Streams: On-Chip/1-2
  • Wired Networks: Gigabit Ethernet
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11ac/n 2×2
  • MoCA: MOCA 2.0
  • No. of tuners: 4
  • Management Enter: IP/RF4CE/Bluetooth (future)
  • 11.4″ W x 7.3″ D x 1.8″ H
  • 1.9 lbs.

Execs:

  • Smaller footprint with trendy design
  • 4K/Extremely Excessive Def Platform
  • Upgraded software
  • Higher efficiency
  • New features together with “QuickMode” and “SkipMode”
  • In-house and out-of-residence streaming (out-of-house in 2016)

Cons:

  • Beginning at $ 299.99, costlier than streaming media gamers like Apple TV ($ 149+), Hearth TV ($ 99.99), Roku 3 ($ 99.99)
  • Nonetheless requires month-to-month or annual subscription charge ($ 14.99/mo or $ 149/yr) however waived for yr 1
  • Busy consumer interface and cluttered distant with a variety of buttons equates to a greater studying curve for new customers
  • No Hulu help at launch
  • Limits on streaming to mobile units

Design

The most dramatic factor concerning the BOLT, at first look, is the up to date hardware design. As an alternative of a regular black field as TiVo has provided up to now, the new participant is white, with a considerably odd curve to it that originally takes some getting used to. Gone, too, are the hardware buttons in favor of built-in lights which makes the participant really feel extra trendy than the cable firm DVRs it competes with.

The design itself isn’t solely an aesthetic selection – the corporate says the mild curve that lifts a part of the participant up additionally helps with warmth dissipation. That’s helpful given the hardware’s upgraded internals, which embrace a CPU that’s three and half occasions as quick because the older Roamio mannequin and 3 times the memory.

BOLT_Front

These upgrades don’t simply make the TiVo BOLT carry out higher, but in addition assist with the newly added help for 4K video in addition to the participant’s now constructed-in transcoding performance – one other enchancment over the Roamio-S.  The new BOLT will exchange that device TiVo’s entry-degree DVR. Just like the Roamio-S, the TiVo BOLT will even include a 500 GB arduous drive, although a 1 TB drive option might be obtainable, too.

The different Roamio fashions, together with the Plus (the 6-tuner, 1 TB Roamio mannequin) and Professional (the 6-tuner, 3 TB mannequin) gained’t instantly disappear, nevertheless. The Plus will stay out there for some time and can “ultimately” get replaced by BOLT. However the Professional, by nature of its bigger capability that doesn’t but have a BOLT counterpart, will stick round in the meanwhile.

In fact, though TiVo wouldn’t affirm this, it appears probably that the Professional may also be phased out additional down the street, as having a considerably fractured product lineup might trigger shopper confusion.

Hardware

The BOLT device itself is smaller than earlier Roamio fashions – 33 % smaller than the Roamio and 65 % smaller than the Roamio Plus and Professional. It consists of help for each over-the-prime streaming providers, over-the-air recordings from antennas, and help for recording from cable TV. That makes it an honest option for each twine cutters and cable subscribers alike, assuming they’re out there for an all-in-one device just like the TiVo.

On the again (and backside) of the unit are quite a lot of inputs, together with a CableCARD slot, Coax port, optical audio out, audio L/R (analog) port, an HDMI 2.0 slot (4K, 1080p, 24/60), Ethernet, 2 USB 2.0 ports, external storage port (eSATA) and power adapter port.

Inside, TiVo has caught with spinning disk drives, to maintain the fee down, the generally says.

tivo-bolt-ports

Distant

The TiVo distant has additionally had a little bit of an upgrade. Whereas it nonetheless feels cluttered with buttons just like the remotes that always include cable corporations’ DVRs, it now has a white design and buttons for new features like “SkipMode,” a business skipping feature that’s activated by urgent the inexperienced “D” button, and “QuickMode,” the sped-up playback which is engaged by urgent the “Play” button adopted by the “Choose” button.

A useful feature is a “misplaced distant” discovering perform that allows you to press a button on the again of the TiVo itself to be able to find a lacking distant management by means of an audio sound. And the distant presents RF know-how to get rid of the necessity of pointing it instantly on the TiVo unit to ensure that it to work.

Remote_Angle

The distant doesn’t embrace voice help like Apple TV and Amazon’s Hearth TV now do, however the BOLT itself is delivery with Bluetooth that’s not but turned on. That hints at a future distant hardware upgrade that would introduce a voice option.

Software program / Consumer Interface

The TiVo BOLT software, in the meantime, has additionally been refreshed. For these accustomed to TiVo’s look-and-really feel, this isn’t a lot of a radical upgrade however extra of an iterative one. There are some totally different colours used for sure on-screen navigational parts, flatter icons that complement the extra trendy design of the new unit, and channel logos now seem in the information, for instance.

What’s extra notable concerning the BOLT’s software is its help for 4K, together with in Netflix and YouTube apps, quicker application launch occasions, and the new QuickMode and SkipMode features.

tivo-bolt-apps

As well as, because of the extra highly effective hardware, apps on the TiVo BOLT can launch and resume so much quicker than earlier than. For instance, apps on Roamio would typically take round 10 to 15 seconds at startup, however now they take 5 to 7 seconds on BOLT. Plus, the BOLT is the one TiVo participant that really suspends the app in memory to permit for quicker resumes.

TiVo continues to focus on its bigger strategy of permitting viewers to seek out, subscribe and watch content material throughout quite a lot of sources, whether or not that’s DVR recordings, packages on streaming providers like Amazon and Netflix, or movies on YouTube. (Sadly, Hulu is absent from the gathering of apps whereas TiVo waits for the corporate to transition to HTML5 from Flash.)

tivo-quickselect

BOLT additionally nonetheless gives TiVo’s “OnePass” know-how that allows you to immediately subscribe to exhibits, regardless of the place all these episodes are situated. It’s even enhancing this expertise for new customers with a “OnePass QuickSelect” feature that may level new subscribers by way of their welcome e mail to a web page of in style exhibits they will subscribe to with a click.

Standout Options: QuickMode And SkipMode

As famous above, the opposite massive additions for BOLT are the QuickMode and SkipMode features. The former was truly advised three years in the past by a TiVo engineer however by no means made it to manufacturing. Primarily, it’s an option that’s best used to hurry up content material like news or sports activities the place you’re making an attempt to get info, however not essentially on the lookout for the normal, lean-again TV watching expertise.

As an alternative, QuickMode permits you to watch 30 % quicker, with pitch-corrected audio.

  1. SkipMode

    SkipMode

  2. QuickMode_Off

    QuickMode Off

  3. QuickMode_On

    QuickMode On

  4. QuickMode_On_2

CrunchBase

With SkipMode, on the opposite hand, TiVo is definitely tagging content material in a means that permits customers to push a button as soon as to maneuver to the subsequent a part of the program with out having to view commercials. This feature is stay on 20 common channels, however at present just for primetime programming (4 PM to midnight, together with repeats and late-night time speak exhibits.) Utilizing SkipMode doesn’t intrude with the option to make use of different playback features like quick ahead or rewind.

SkipMode can be a BOLT-solely feature, however QuickMode will roll out to different Roamio fashions as a software replace later this yr.

The BOLT’s built-in content material streaming – which means its capability to stream to computer systems, telephones and tablets – is restricted at launch. Initially, customers will solely have the ability to view one stream within the residence till November 2015 when help for 2 streams is added. Net streaming and in-house downloads work at launch as properly, however out of house downloads and streaming gained’t ship till 2016 (the latter will solely supply one stream, and arrives within the first half of subsequent yr).

Up to date Cellular Apps

The remaining a part of the TiVo BOLT upgrade is the up to date mobile app. First obtainable on iOS in early November, with Android to comply with, the new app is concentrated on providing customers a extra personalised expertise. As an alternative of configuring consumer profiles, like on Netflix, customizations are per device and now embrace the power for customers to trace their hobbies and pursuits along with genres and an expanded listing of collections.

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 3.31.03 PM

To get began, customers will choose from an inventory of hobbies and pursuits although an onboarding stream resembling that of Flipboard. This course of then creates custom YouTube channels based mostly on these picks. For instance, for those who’re actually into “tenting” or “animals,” you’ll be able to add these sections to your “What to Watch” part.

Customers may also now cover pre-configured feeds (like “sports activities” or “youngsters”) in the event that they don’t look after that type of content material.

And the app introduces expanded social sharing features that transcend Fb and Twitter to incorporate e mail and different strategies. When a pal clicks a shared hyperlink, they’ll go to the TiVo portal the place they will select to report the present (in the event that they’re a TiVo consumer) or be directed to the content material itself (e.g. an inventory of episodes on the TV channel’s personal web site).

New Pricing: No Subscription Charges For Yr One

Maybe probably the most dramatic change to TiVo BOLT is the corporate’s implicit acknowledgement that its present enterprise mannequin might be a problem going ahead as extra TV viewers minimize the twine and switch to low-value streaming providers as their source for TV and film leisure.

Whereas TiVo has targeted on increasing the cable TV buyer’s expertise, these buyer numbers are dwindling. And TiVo’s subscription-based mostly mannequin might be onerous to abdomen for many who are on the lookout for value financial savings by signing up for cheaper providers just like the beneath-$ 10-per-month choices from Netflix or Hulu, for instance.

With the BOLT, TiVo isn’t going as far as to ditch subscriptions, however is as an alternative is deferring them in a approach – a transfer that the corporate probably hopes will hook new customers in order that they’ll be prepared to pay the charges when the time comes.

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 3.32.24 PM

The BOLT will value $ 299.99 for the five hundred GB version or $ 399.99 for the one thousand GB version. That’s pricier upfront than the $ 199.99 Roamio, which requires a subscription payment of $ 14.99 per thirty days, however that’s as a result of the primary yr of service is bundled in. After yr one, clients can select to pay the month-to-month payment or purchase an annual subscription for $ 149.99.

TiVo, in fact, wouldn’t precisely admit that the TV market’s shift is probably dangerous for its enterprise, however the new product and pricing does point out the corporate understands it’s not sufficient to only be an upgraded DVR for the cable TV viewer. It has to discover a option to attraction to those that need multi-platform viewing and over-the-air DVR features, too.

“We do a big quantity of enterprise with the cable TV suppliers so we’re not encouraging individuals to drop their cable subscription, however the actuality is the market is much more dynamic than even a number of years in the past,” admits Jim Denney, VP of product advertising at TiVo.

“BOLT ought to have a robust attraction to [cord cutters]…you get a full DVR, all of the OTA DVR performance, and all of the OTT purposes that spherical out your content material experiences,” he says. “We’re constructing it for individuals who have determined they’re not going to have pay TV, nevertheless it’s a versatile platform – it may fulfill each contingencies.”

The TiVo BOLT will go on sale tomorrow on Amazon and Greatest Purchase and can arrive in retail channels by Sunday. Orders might be fulfilled starting Monday.

Source : TechCrunch

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