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Tivo Bolt OTA Review: Bridges The Gap For Cord Cutters

Bridging the gap between Live TV and Cutting the cord the TiVo Bolt OTA is streaming device cord cutters should consider.

What hardware does the TiVo Bolt OTA Bring To The Table

The TiVo Bolt Ota Box features 4K UHD video support, voice control, and built-in streaming to smartphones. This box can use the regular Bolt with an antenna, and it also features a slot for a CableCard (M-Card) which will allow you to use the box with your current cable provider.

Pricing starts at $250 for the Bolt OTA which is $50 less than a standard Bolt with the same four tuners that allow you to watch and record up to four live channels at a time to a 1TB hard drive. Unfortunately, the OTA model does not have an option for more or less storage. But the Bolt OTA does have an eSATA port for expandable storage which would allow for an external drive to use. As for service fees, TiVo’s OTA subscriptions cost $7 per month, $70 per year, or $250 for a lifetime plan.

The Bolt has a recording of up to 150 hours of HD shows, as mentioned before, it comes with a 1TB Hard Drive and capable of streaming in both 4k and 1080p resolutions. If you want to use an ethernet cable or over Wi-Fi there is an ethernet port in the back. The WI-FI supports N, G, B, A, and AC dual bands. In addition to the standard Coax connector, there are also 2 USB 2.0 ports along with an eSATA port.

TiVo Bolt brings the best TiVo features to the streaming world

The TiVo’s significant advantage over its competitors is that it is a lot simpler to use with having superior playback and recording features. If you’re comparing the Bolt to your local cable DVRs, the TiVo connects directly to your tv and plays local channels at full quality. You don’t need to worry about the strength of your Wi-Fi when it comes to streaming video to your TV, and If there’s a problem with the quality, it will most likely be an issue of antenna reception.

The OnePass is the terminology that TiVo uses to describe creating a series recording which will bring up all kinds of detailed settings. You can decide which season to start recording from, cancel out reruns, allow up to a certain number of recent recordings, choose between tape in either high or standard definition, and allow you to start the recording a few minutes early or end the recording a few minutes later which comes in handy when watching live sports.

TiVo will also inform you when you’ve run into a scheduling conflict. Unlike Amazon’s interface that puts streaming services as its central point, TiVo allows you to see what’s airing on your local channels by using a single button press. I enjoyed the feature because it allowed me to see what was on and if I didn’t find something, I liked I could quickly go back to a streaming app.

TiVo + Apps = Ultimate Streaming System

TiVo does a lot of the little things that some other DVRs don’t feature such as when you’re watching live TV the TiVo will automatically start recording so you can pause, fast forward, and rewind will watching live TV. This is an excellent feature because you can begin viewing a recorded program and skip through the commercials and you’re playing the video directly from TiVo’s hard drive instead of streaming it gives you the capability to fast forward and rewind instantly. If you want to switch from watching local channels, you can connect 21 streaming apps to TiVo, which includes Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Epix, and YouTube.

TiVo Bolt also has another feature called SkipMode, which allows you to skip entire commercials with one button press. Unfortunately, the ad-skipping features of SkipMode won’t work with every program, this mainly applies to prime-time shows but because the ad breaks require human input to mark them, there is no need worry about fast-forwarding to the wrong places. And if a show that doesn’t support skip mode, you can use the 30-second skip button to advance the video.

TiVo’s remote voice controls are a nice touch in letting you jump to live channels and search for something to watch. The voice controls allow for both in over-the-air channels and certain streaming apps to work with voice commands. If you have an Amazon Echo speaker, you can integrate it with Alexa, which allows you to perform these actions and skip commercials with hands-free voice commands.

If you don’t have Amazon integrated system, TiVo announced Google Assistant support which works in the same manner of using Google assist with commands such as “OK Google, Skip” and my favorite “Ok Google, find my remote.” The Tivo BOLT OTA bridge the gap between a cable box and a media device. Even though you’re limited to the apps that can be used, this is where your cable service picks up the slack.

About the author

Uche Ulebor


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