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TiVo Bolt Review: As Good a Streaming Device as It’s an OTA DVR?

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TiVo’s top-tier iteration to the OTA DVR Streaming Box brings together your OTA signal, DVR, and all your streaming options via a single smooth interface. No need to switch from device to device in order to find the show you want to watch.

One of the most valuable assets in a cord-cutters toolbox is the OTA DVR. A drawback to over-the-air (OTA) television is that if you miss a show, you miss the show; but DVRs help restore that balance by helping you record everything. For many cord-cutters, the DVR is the bow they use to tie off their cord-cutting experience; so making the right choice is always critical.

Most recently, DVR giant TiVo unveiled their next generation of home DVRs, dubbed the Bolt. The Bolt is a product upgrade on their existing, yet similar product, the TiVo Roamio. This latest iteration of the company’s home DVR is meant to provide an all-in-one entertainment experience, replacing all other streaming devices and cable boxes in your home.

TiVo Bolt Features

Featuring four tuners, the Bolt allows you to record up to four shows at once. To record the content, you will of course still need to connect to an OTA antenna, but that’s nothing new. The Bolt also works with cable television, but who cares? We’re trying to cut costs, not inflate them.

From a hardware perspective, everything has been upgraded and condensed. So the Bolt is not only smaller than other DVRs, it’s also faster and more powerful.


*** Check out the Remote Finder button. How cool is that?!

As far as price is concerned, the 500GB Bolt is going to cost you $230 will provide approximately 75 hours of HD video recording. Or you can go with the 1TB version, costing around $330, and you will get approximately 150 hours of HD video recording. You’ll also have to pay a service fee; which will either run you $15 a month, $150 a year or $600 for a lifetime.

TiVo Bolt Streaming

With online streaming capabilities, you can download streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and YouTube. No word on whether or not it will support Sling TV in the future.

If you’re a fan of super high resolution, then I’ve got good news: the Bolt supports 4k. Currently, you can only get 4k from YouTube and Netflix, but 4k for Amazon Prime is on the way. Sadly, the 4k support doesn’t do much for you in the way of OTA television; we’re years away from that (at least for the average consumer).

TiVo Bolt Interface

Where the Bolt shines brightest is in its interface. The TiVo Bolts makes it incredibly easy to search for new content across streaming services and OTA television. You can search for shows by genre, actor, director, etc… And all of your content is sorted by title, not by source.

What that means is that if you’re trying to watch The Flash, you won’t have to jump between Netflix, Hulu, and your DVR. Instead, you’ll just pull up the show and all of the available content will be there. You’ll also be able to see content available for purchase and be able to compare it across different services.

DVR Features

The Bolt also features some pretty smart recording features that can automatically record content that it thinks you might like or can record content based off a specific actor or director. If you’re not a fan of automatic recording, no worries; you can easily turn it off.

Perhaps my favorite feature is QuickMode, which allows you to speed up a program by 30 percent… with pitch-correct audio. That means if you’re a glutton for punishment and decided to watch a Presidential Debate, you can speed things up without having to listen to the chipmunk voice.

This also has a huge appeal for sports fans with not a lot of time. Ever want to record your favorite football game in advance and then skip through all the commercials? I am telling you, once you try it, you will never go back.

TiVo Bolt

All in all the Bolt is a fantastic DVR with a wonderful interface, features, and design. That being said, the worst part about it is the price; especially the monthly service fee. If you’re the kind of person that loves to tinker with things, you may be better off building your own DVR and using a media center.

However, if you’re the kind of person that doesn’t mind paying a little more for an intuitive and enjoyable experience; you should definitely give the Bolt a look.

What do you think about the Bolt? Is it a must-have for cord-cutters or just another thing you don’t need? Sound off in the comments below!

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Frank Moraes
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