TiVo has released the new Bolt DVR, with 4K content streaming and commercial skipping

by on September 30, 2015

Stephan Jukic – September 30, 2015

TiVo has now also entered the fray with its new 4K-capable TiVo Bolt DVR in a media playback market with growing 4K-oriented competition from devices like the Amazon Fire 4K TV box, Nuvola NP-1 and the Nvidia Shield.

And just like the other new devices, the new Bolt offers not only a funky (and in the Bolt’s case truly unusual looking) design but also a number of new recording and media playback features:

While the new Bolt DVR isn’t exactly a complete remake of TiVo’s signature recording devices, it does come with some great new features like its very odd looking new design, a smaller body than older TiVo DVRs (and most other DVR’s right now), a commercial skipping mode and, of course, 4K ultra HD video playback.

That’s right, the Bolt can stream 4K ultra HD videos and movies from external sources while also being able to let you skip commercials and record your favorite HD or 4K shows and then watch them again as soon as possible thanks to this DVR’s playback specs.

The new sleek white rectangle body of the Bolt is built with a highly off-center curve that arches up the devices and quite honestly makes it look even stranger and more modern art-like than even the most minimalist new devices from Apple can pull off. However, inside this weird body, the powerful specs of the Bolt include a four-tuner DVR for recording as many as 4 different shows at the same time, a newly improved and massively turbocharged Gigabit internet port, optical audio out, a much better 802.11ac WiFi internet connectivity and full support for HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2 content copy protection built into all HDMI ports.

Also, the Bolt comes in two versions, one with 500Gb of internal storage and a much bigger 1TB model.

These specs and particularly that last HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2 combo all underscore the full 4K UHD chops and design orientation of the Bolt DVR, which can play back 4K content at a full-speed, smooth 60 frames per second and delivers its users built-in access to Netflix and YouTube 4K movies right away with the potential for more new ultra HD content sources down the road. Of course, all of these specs only work if said users actually have a 4K ultra HD TV to which they can hook up the TiVo Bolt.

However, aside from 4K UHD content, the Bolt DVR can also do quite an impressive amount of other things. First, there is a cool new binge content watching feature called QuickMode, for the really hurried among us, which lets you watch any piece of recorded programming at 1.3x it normal speed, with audio accelerated accordingly as well. On top of this, there is the new SkipMode technology that earmarks when a commercial break begins and ends in a piece of recorded content programming and lets you skip right over all those annoying ads at your leisure as you watch your favorite stuff.

On the other hand, SkipMode obviously work for live sports and news broadcasts, whose fans will have to endure a couple or more minutes of advertising.

some of the great, partly 4K-oriented connectivity options on the Bolt

some of the great, partly 4K-oriented connectivity options on the Bolt

For now, the TiVo Bolt isn’t what we’d call a highly extensive streaming device, whether we’re talking about HD or full 4K ultra HD content, since it only offers access to Netflix and YouTube in these first post-launch days. However, these two streaming sources are indeed a superb choice, since both offer access to their own very rich libraries of excellent HD and even 4K content, particularly Netflix as far as high-grade studio entertainment 4K UHD programming goes.

Eventually, we’ll almost certainly see updates to the Bolt 4K DVR emerge in which media apps like Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, Ultraflix and Vudu appear for this new DVR’s internal app menu and we do know that TiVo is already working on some late Fall updates to the Bolt for letting users create their own personalized “Home” screen of preferred content, socially sharing their favorite content selections and for a couple of other online usability features. There will also be a feature for letting the Bolt connect to Apple’s AirPlay platform through the TiVo device’s iOS app, for users who want to stream content to their Apple TV from the Bolt.

Finally, we should mention that the Bolt is on sale now and going for $299 for the 500GB model and $399 for the 1TB version. A free year of TiVo’s services is included with both versions, after which it will cost $15 per month.

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