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post #1 of 35 Old 10-04-2015, 03:25 PM - Thread Starter
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TiVo Introduces Bolt DVR/Streamer

Last week, TiVo unveiled its latest DVR, the Bolt, which has some compelling features—and, as reported by Engadget, a few that seem to be a step backward from the current Roamio Pro and Plus models. In fact, the Bolt is intended to replace the base-model Roamio and, eventually, the Plus—the Roamio Pro will remain available—but some TiVo enthusiasts might want to wait before upgrading.



First, let's take a look at what the Bolt offers. Along with the odd curved shape that promotes good airflow for cooling but makes it impossible to incorporate into an equipment rack, the Bolt is a 4-tuner OTA (over-the-air) and CableCARD DVR with 500 or 1000 GB of hard-disk storage. It drops all analog-video outputs, leaving only one HDMI 2.0 port, an optical digital-audio output, and an L/R analog-audio output. Other connections include coax (digital cable, OTA, or MoCA), a gigabit Ethernet port, 802.11 a/c/g/n and dual-band ac Wi-Fi, two USB 2.0 ports, and an eSATA port for adding external storage.

New to the Bolt is a feature called SkipMode that skips past commercial breaks with one button push—no more skipping ahead in blind 30-second increments. However, this functionality depends on TiVo minions watching the top 20 or so most popular programs on certain networks from 4 PM to midnight and manually marking where the commercials begin and end. This info is downloaded to the Bolt, after which it can be used to skip commercials in recorded programs; the shows with this capability are clearly marked in the guide.

Another feature related to broadcast TV is called QuickMode, which lets you watch recorded shows and buffered live programs at 1.3x normal speed while shifting the audio down to its normal pitch—no chipmunk voices. According to TiVo, this feature is great for sports, news, and political speeches—and even more important IMO, political debates! Unlike SkipMode, which is exclusive to the Bolt and the TiVo Mini multi-room extender if it's connected to a Bolt, QuickMode will be available as an upgrade to the Roamio.

In addition to OTA broadcast TV, the Bolt provides the ability to stream online content from services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, MLB, and more. And unlike the Roamio models, it can stream 4K content, initially from Netflix and YouTube. At launch, it won't have a Hulu Plus app, but that is likely to be added later.

The Bolt includes iOS and Android apps that let you cast content to the TV as well as stream live and recorded content from the Bolt to the mobile device in and out of the home. It also includes Apple AirPlay, and it will soon be integrated with Amazon Fire TV. The RF (radio-frequency) remote operates without having line-of-sight access to the box, and a cool Remote Finder button on the back lets you find a lost remote.

So the Roamio can't do 4K streaming or SkipMode, but what does it have that the Bolt doesn't? Well, compared with the base Roamio, which the Bolt is meant to replace, nothing; in fact, the Bolt is a distinct upgrade. Both have four tuners and 500 GB of internal hard-disk storage (the Bolt is available with 1000 GB for more money); the Roamio has 10/100 Ethernet, while the Bolt ups that to gigabit Ethernet. Then there's 4K streaming and SkipMode, which are not possible with the Roamio. Pricewise, the Roamio is $200 (plus $15/month for the electronic program guide), while the Bolt is $300 (500 GB) or $400 (1000 GB), and that includes a year of TiVo EPG service (a $180 value).

However, the Roamio Plus and Pro are a different story. These models have six tuners (which work with digital cable only, not OTA) and more internal storage (1 TB in the Plus, 3 TB in the Pro) for $350 and $600, respectively. (The Pro comes with a year of TiVo EPG service, while the Plus hits you with $15/month right away.) Both models have gigabit Ethernet, but they can stream up to 1080p only and do not have the SkipMode feature.

Is 4K streaming and SkipMode enough to warrant dumping the Roamio Plus or Pro in favor of the Bolt? Not according to many TiVo enthusiasts. The Engadget article I referenced above quotes TiVo Chief Marketing Officer Ira Bahr in an online conversation with the TiVo community about the new Bolt:

"As an overarching thought for this whole conversation, I would emphasize what many of you have already inferred. And that is, the Bolt product was not really designed for the TiVo enthusiast. So your lukewarm reaction is not unexpected. Bolt is low on tuners, light on storage, doesn't fit into your racks, and really doesn't offer this group much more than 4K and software features you figure we'll roll-down anyway.

"So this leads to 'why the hell did you NOT design for the TiVo enthusiast?' First, we already have a roadmap plan to bring you something you'll like way better in 2016 (more on this shortly). This product is on the already-established 3-year product cycle, which you're used to.

"Second, there just aren't enough of you to sustain the company's retail business alone. If there were, I assure you we'd have a way different approach. TiVo is simply unable to build its business on the backs of its ever diminishing group of loyalists. We did 150,000 activations in our last fiscal year. Compare that to the millions of streamers out there, and the tens of millions of DVRs out there, and you see that we've got a lot of ground to make up. In order to win for the company, and for YOU, we need to expand our market. If we fail to do this, we're not going to be able to do much of anything. We think we've got a plan for both the mass market AND for enthusiasts. So snuggle up with a warm multi-meter, walk through the answers, and we'll try to talk more when you're done."

What do you think? Are you a TiVo devotee? Do you have a Roamio? If so, would you consider replacing it with a Bolt?

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post #2 of 35 Old 10-04-2015, 04:31 PM
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I'm excited to hear what they are coming out with next year. I've been thinking about dropping my Xfinity boxes for TiVo boxes but so far it's not been worth it (other option is to go to X1 which has some real drawbacks as well). They didn't mention anything but I doubt you can stream your own videos to the other TVs through this (like you can with WDTV). THAT would push me over the edge on buying this thing. I'm waiting for prices to drop on 4K TVs and for them to iron out the color spaces and potential blue issues with OLED (and screen burn in). I think another year might make all the difference and by then the new TiVo will be out.

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post #3 of 35 Old 10-04-2015, 04:49 PM
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sometimes it baffles me when a design team decides that they are the center of universe. This will fit nicely on the self next to Sony flying saucer media server. The guys working for MidAtlantic who manage their custom face plate service needed a challenge.
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post #4 of 35 Old 10-04-2015, 05:01 PM
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I have a couple of TiVo devices. They both work very well for what they are. However, I absolutely hate their market model.

If you buy a TiVo, the lifetime subscription to their service is expensive but worth it if you keep the box working at least 3 years. The bad part is, maybe you do want to upgrade to the next TiVo and all they will do is give you a very small discount as a pre-existing account towards another lifetime subscription. TiVo should allow a transfer of the subscription and an activation fee of no more than say 25 dollars. Many people opt to give their older TiVo's away or sell them. As such they will again get an activation of some sort whether it is monthly or lifetime. TiVo just makes upgrades a costly deal for those that already have one.

I have zero desire to upgrade to the new box because I will have to pay yet again for a lifetime subscription (they are per a single device and remain with the life of that device). I believe TiVo shoots itself in the foot with this market model.

In the meanwhile, I'll keep my TiVo boxes as long as I can until a real competitor comes out and does it right. No upgrades for me.
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post #5 of 35 Old 10-04-2015, 08:11 PM
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I believe the curvy look will make them sell less, not more devices. Well, that's just me...
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post #6 of 35 Old 10-04-2015, 08:39 PM
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Years service is $150 not $180. TiVo has pretty much killed the value of lifetime with the new pricing model.

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post #7 of 35 Old 10-04-2015, 09:00 PM
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What the hell were they thinking with that design? Oh, don't worry along with the stupid aesthetics we are also decreasing the number of tuners. Right on. I'm glad I have the Roamio.
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post #8 of 35 Old 10-04-2015, 09:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Metric View Post
Years service is $150 not $180. TiVo has pretty much killed the value of lifetime with the new pricing model.
I calculated it at $15/month x 12 months = $180. Is that not correct?
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post #9 of 35 Old 10-04-2015, 09:37 PM
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Worst. Case. Ever.
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post #10 of 35 Old 10-05-2015, 04:36 AM
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$150 a year to make it work? The patent trolling/extortion business must be down.

No startup can compete when Tivo owns the silliest patents.
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post #11 of 35 Old 10-05-2015, 04:50 AM
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I don't think this first bolt is designed to make roamio owners upgrade.
Right....I think there's suppose to be other Bolts coming down the pipeline aimed more towards the enthusiast market. I wonder what they're suppose to do that the current Roamio basic doesn't do...like more OTA tuners? I sure hope they don't look like this one.
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post #12 of 35 Old 10-05-2015, 07:25 AM
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Looks at new TiVo from the position of having an (aging) SageTV server and Sage extenders at each TV... "Still not compelling" is the only conclusion I come to.
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post #13 of 35 Old 10-05-2015, 08:27 AM
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What the hell were they thinking when they designed that case?
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post #14 of 35 Old 10-05-2015, 08:54 AM
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As an owner of a Premiere and Premiere XL, I've been waiting for an option that has an OTA tuner AND more storage than the current Roamios. I'm taking a long, hard look at this device and may upgrade next year when our tax refund comes.

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post #15 of 35 Old 10-05-2015, 09:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metric View Post
There is only something like 600,000 cable cards in use - that's pc's tivos etc - they need to make money to survive. I think that's what the bolt is. It's a very apple like product. You're paying for the hardware and service in a consumer friendly package. It makes a great Xmas gift for the parents etc. I don't think this first bolt is designed to make roamio owners upgrade.

Lifetime is actually prohibitive now and I think that's a smart move again on their part. If everyone had lifetime and could move it their revenue stream would dry up. It's a double edged sword. Sure we don't want to keep paying too much but then if we don't keep tivo in business were all back to cable boxes
Here is the logic that does work -

Keep the hardware at the same or similar price. Make sure that at least 3 generations are capable of functioning at least at a typical DVR level (1080i and 1080p). Let people get the lifetime subscription based on membership/subscription and can only be used on one device at a time (authorize/deauthorize etc.). When a person gets a new TiVo, the old one is not thrown out but can either be returned or the individual can sell it, give it away. Remember, in order to use the old TiVo, it must be activated and thus again would be associated with a monthly subscription or another lifetime membership/subscription being purchased. Make the lifetime member/subscription non-transferable (unless it is a gift from the get go).

One part of the equation that is not discussed is that something like above somewhat makes most owners likely to remain with the product. If I own a lifetime subscription, chances are sooner or later I would then want to keep upgrading (assuming the newer product offers 'more.' So again, I would be purchasing the new product and the old gets put into use by another person. This isn't just about the sell, but if I am using TiVo, I am not using someone else's product and thus, entered the discussion of market share as the dollars are not spent elsewhere.

There are many models that could be used but I honestly believe in this age with so many set top boxes and streaming services competing with cable, OTA etc, people need to feel they are getting both a great product and a fair price. I won't be going to this new TiVo as I don't want yet again to have to buy a lifetime subscription. I'll just say I would buy it in a heartbeat if I could use my present subscription, then pass my old TiVo to a friend who would sign up for services with TiVo.
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post #16 of 35 Old 10-05-2015, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmoNut View Post
As an owner of a Premiere and Premiere XL, I've been waiting for an option that has an OTA tuner AND more storage than the current Roamios. I'm taking a long, hard look at this device and may upgrade next year when our tax refund comes.
I would jump on the amazon #299 for ota roamio and lifetime deal!

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post #17 of 35 Old 10-05-2015, 10:05 AM
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Right but tivo don't want people buying the lifetime; they want subscription revenue - they aren't about capturing market share from the big boys to sway advertising revenue etc. Can you buy lifetime from comcast? or verizon? nope.

You'd also be surprised how often people upgrade to the newest boxes. I guess like ios devices at some point the hardware cant support the software functions and the box is obsolete - tivo have a 3yr cycle - so you're forced to upgrade.

Given the new lifetime pricing its break even would be 5yrs - its not worth doing - and that's why im guessing they priced it that way.

I'm not saying I don't agree with you - I think its unfair that a new subscriber can buy a tivo with lifetime for $300 but I have to pay $500 to add it to my purchased roamio - but there isn't incentive for them to do that unless people start voting with their feet.
I'll be honest, I think the analogy to cable services is a bit off but I do gather your point and appreciate the logic you are presenting. One of the points I made is that the boxes should last within 3 generations and that is a span longer than 3 years. The TiVo HD is still a very usable device as is the Roamio line and now this new line. The TiVo HD should be good at least another 2-3 years. I'll only agree that if TiVo was to change its market model, there would need to be adjustments in costing. One option might even be as I had stated with a lifetime service but good on only one box at a time and charge a bit more than the present lifetime services while continuing their present practices.
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post #18 of 35 Old 10-05-2015, 02:56 PM
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Apparently TiVo has decided that Lifetime Service (or the "All-In Plan" as they're now calling it) isn't really in their interest as it doesn't provide them enough $ over the long term to survive and be profitable, the way that recurring monthly or annual subscription payments do. (And as others have pointed out, TiVo's direct competition, cable company-provided DVRs, are never available with a Lifetime Service plan; you must always pay recurring monthly fees for them.)

That's why they've raised the price of Lifetime/All-In to $600. Moreover, it's only available now on units purchased from other retailers (e.g. Amazon, Best Buy), NOT apparently from units purchased from TiVo.com (at least according to their current fine print). And when you consider that a new $300 base-level Bolt comes with one year of pre-paid service (a $150 value) and, if you want it, you must purchase All-In on the Bolt up-front (for a total of $900), the true value of Lifetime service is really $750, which is equivalent to five consecutive years of use. So you'd need to use a Bolt for five years before your investment in Lifetime/All-In hits the breakeven point. Now, there are certainly a lot of TiVo users out there still happily plugging along with units that are more than five years old. But still, five years is quite a long time horizon for electronics consumers these days, especially when you consider that Lifetime is tied to that specific TiVo unit and, if it breaks and cannot be repaired, your Lifetime investment goes up in smoke -- it can't be transferred to another unit you buy.

Honestly, I'm a little surprised that, given all the above, TiVo is even still offering Lifetime Service. I guess they figure there are a few consumers who will stay want it, despite the high cost, and seek it out, although TiVo isn't making it easy to get. Perhaps TiVo will completely phase out Lifetime altogether and this is the first step in doing so. Who knows, TiVo's pricing/marketing behavior has been all over the board over the years...
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post #19 of 35 Old 10-05-2015, 06:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metric View Post
There is only something like 600,000 cable cards in use - that's pc's tivos etc - they need to make money to survive. I think that's what the bolt is. It's a very apple like product. You're paying for the hardware and service in a consumer friendly package. It makes a great Xmas gift for the parents etc. I don't think this first bolt is designed to make roamio owners upgrade.

Lifetime is actually prohibitive now and I think that's a smart move again on their part. If everyone had lifetime and could move it their revenue stream would dry up. It's a double edged sword. Sure we don't want to keep paying too much but then if we don't keep tivo in business were all back to cable boxes
Not challenging you but where did you get the info for the quote of 600,000 cards?
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post #20 of 35 Old 10-05-2015, 06:24 PM
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Its a cable box no? yeah but three cycles is 9yrs for tivo - people with ipad1 cant run ios9 - hardware gets outdated fast. The tivoHD isnt a very usable device for long in comcast markets as theyre switching to mpeg4.

Im not disagreeing with your over pricing - I would love that too - but they are definitely shifting things around to obtain subscription revenues.
1) TiVo certainly can play mpeg4 and it would only be a firmware upgrade to make it official so tos peak.
2) What the HD will never be able to do is play 4k and that is all. It still can read the on line line up (TV guide), record and play back which is its primary function. The Roamio adds more features and that is pretty much all. As for the Bolt, it adds 4k ability but otherwise, is the same thing as the HD and Roamio when it comes to basic DVR function.

It would do TiVo well to want to keep as many models out in use as it equals subscription whether monthly or lifetime. Obviously, at some point they really do become dated. If 1080i or 720p was no longer used and only 4k, then those units become door stops. Until then, plenty of mileage from older boxes. I wouldn't be upset if a transfer "fee" was invoked by TiVo to transfer lifetime subscription if it was within reason. Again, you get the newest and greatest and your old box gets used by someone else which equals yet another subscription. It is that simple.
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post #21 of 35 Old 10-05-2015, 06:43 PM
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1) TiVo certainly can play mpeg4 and it would only be a firmware upgrade to make it official so tos peak.
2) What the HD will never be able to do is play 4k and that is all. It still can read the on line line up (TV guide), record and play back which is its primary function. The Roamio adds more features and that is pretty much all. As for the Bolt, it adds 4k ability but otherwise, is the same thing as the HD and Roamio when it comes to basic DVR function.

It would do TiVo well to want to keep as many models out in use as it equals subscription whether monthly or lifetime. Obviously, at some point they really do become dated. If 1080i or 720p was no longer used and only 4k, then those units become door stops. Until then, plenty of mileage from older boxes. I wouldn't be upset if a transfer "fee" was invoked by TiVo to transfer lifetime subscription if it was within reason. Again, you get the newest and greatest and your old box gets used by someone else which equals yet another subscription. It is that simple.
That's not true. TiVo s3 and TiVo hd is about 30% of their user base. If they could they would implement a fix so they didn't lose customers. The hardware simply can't handle encoding mpeg4 streams.

The roamio can't handle 4K either but it's a huge step up in processor speed for menus, 6 tuners on the pro/plus and bigger hard drives.

Not sure what we're talking about more - we've side tracked.

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post #22 of 35 Old 10-05-2015, 06:50 PM
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Not challenging you but where did you get the info for the quote of 600,000 cards?
This article I found is 2yrs old but also states 600k

http://potsandpansbyccg.com/2013/08/...le-card-rules/

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post #23 of 35 Old 10-05-2015, 07:07 PM
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I've enjoyed 1.3x playback for 10+ years on my Panny E85H. I'm glad this feature is catching on. You can do it for YouTube with Chrome now as well (1.25 or 1.5x) and VLC in 0.1 increments up to 4.0x. I think this TiVo will be the first HD device to allow it other than a laptop/htpc.
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post #24 of 35 Old 10-05-2015, 07:57 PM
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This article I found is 2yrs old but also states 600k

http://potsandpansbyccg.com/2013/08/...le-card-rules/
Thanks very much. The article itself was very interesting and says something about the state of cable cards and somewhat suggests some challenges. I'll just say it is a shame we cannot buy them but must rent them. Something seems wrong with this idea but then again, we don't buy operating systems, we pay for right to use them only. Rather interesting we can get our own cable modem, dsl modem, routers et al, but certain media and communications groups control the rest which doesn't exactly serve the best interest of the public.
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post #25 of 35 Old 10-05-2015, 08:01 PM
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That's not true. TiVo s3 and TiVo hd is about 30% of their user base. If they could they would implement a fix so they didn't lose customers. The hardware simply can't handle encoding mpeg4 streams.

The roamio can't handle 4K either but it's a huge step up in processor speed for menus, 6 tuners on the pro/plus and bigger hard drives.

Not sure what we're talking about more - we've side tracked.
I have easily converted MP4 files for the HD and the process for playing MP4 directly is a matter of codecs that are very common. This is certainly not a deterrent for TiVo usage. The DVR function remains the same between them all - they record show whether it is a 2,4,6 or greater amount of tuners. As for drives, TiVo decided what can and cannot be done and you can install a larger drive if you desire through proper channels or an external. My only point being is that They call can record 1080i and 720p and only the latest model handles 4k. Since shows on cable are 720p, 1080i for the most part and will remain so for a few more years, a 3 generation support does make sense presently.

On another note, I am very curious how well the Bolt upscales 720p and 1080i for 4k TVs and which does a better job, the TiVo or TVs themselves.

Last edited by Phrehdd; 10-05-2015 at 08:10 PM.
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post #26 of 35 Old 10-05-2015, 08:29 PM
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I think about replacing my Comcast X1 DVR with a Tivo but I just don't see what I'd gain -

- its not much cheaper, since I'd still need to pay the dreaded 'HD tech fee' and the X2 dvr rental is $10/month and some months I get it for free.
- X12 UI seems to be far better with modern cover art etc, Tivo UI looks primitive
- on-demand depends on which area you live in

So the Tivo advantages I can think of are -

- their special algorithm that records shows it thinks you may like
- better dvr/skip play features? I have never found an explanation on what exactly Tivo does better

I was a ReplayTv user before they got sued out of existence. To this day no other Dvr has their features, at the time they were light years ahead of Tivo and everyone else and guess what, they still are.
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post #27 of 35 Old 10-06-2015, 05:27 AM
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I'm a Comcast customer with a cablecard and I've never paid the HD Technology fee. I get a $2.50 Customer Owned Equipment credit.
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post #28 of 35 Old 10-07-2015, 07:02 AM
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It looks like it was damaged in shipping...

No desire to upgrade from my Roamio Pro. 4K streaming so far has been a big bust from a quality perspective. UHD Blu Ray is my hope and focus
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post #29 of 35 Old 10-16-2015, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phrehdd View Post

On another note, I am very curious how well the Bolt upscales 720p and 1080i for 4k TVs and which does a better job, the TiVo or TVs themselves.
That's what i want to know too.. I made a thread about it:

http://tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/sho...d.php?t=532436

but not a lot of useful info
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post #30 of 35 Old 03-29-2016, 02:02 AM
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So most of this thread is about Tivo's business model and not the product in the wild?

I don't care about the case it's in and the fact it will communicate with a Plex Media Server is enough to have me sold and re-configuring my media devices.

Sorry to see Windows Media Center not get supported anymore, but it was starting to show it's age.

Change the HTPC to a Media Server/Backup box and retire the current P4 based WHS 2011, reuse the software + PLEX; maybe Windows 7/8 running in VM as well (3 core AMD APU) .

A. Thomas
PSN - DJFourMoney
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