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CEDIA 2016: TiVo Debuts 4K Bolt+ DVR

TiVo announced a new higher-end model, the TiVo Bolt+, which not only expands the current Bolt model line, but also fills the void left by the discontinuance of the company’s six-tuner Roamio Pro model.

On the surface, Bolt+ shares some of the same Roamio Pro’s features, such as a Skip Mode and Quick Mode playback, 3TB hard drive, access to popular streaming services, and, of course, six tuners. It also shares some of the features of the initial two Bolt models.

What sets it apart is the inclusion of 4K, a faster CPU and three times the memory, added to the full set of Bolt features such as HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2, Gigabit Ethernet, MoCA and 802.11 b/a/g/n/ac. It also adds an RF and IR remote and a distinct curved-top industrial design.

The Bolt+ does drop the ATSC (off-air) tuner and is cable and FIOS-compatible only. It’s not expected to be a problem for most users at this time due to the current lack of off-air 4K content.

Priced at $499, the new Bolt+ will be shown at CEDIA and available on Sept. 15 at retail through Amazon and direct from TiVo and through custom-install dealer channels.

With the Bolt+ a user can access the live tuners and recorded programs in up to 10 additional rooms in a home, provided that there is a wired network. The one-time cost of $149 per room adds access to any of the six tuners and large hard drive without any additional TiVo subscription fee.

TiVo’s new ownership by Rovi — and the accompanying massive base of intellectual property — along with its updated model lineup sets TiVo up to be a commanding force both behind the scenes and at retail.

We asked Jim Denny, TiVo’s product and strategy VP, about TiVo’s plans for HDR given the technology’s important future in 4K/Ultra HD content. While the current Bolt and Bolt+ models are not HDR capable, this will be added next year via a software update.

Recent software updates to existing TiVo models have also taken place to update the program guide to utilize data from Rovi, which recently bought TiVo. While all Series 2 and new models are compatible with the upgrade, the 15-plus-year hardware in the original Series 1 models makes them incompatible. Those models will not function after Sept. 30, but all existing users are eligible for a $75 credit that may be used on any TiVo product or service.

Proposed changes by the FCC that will open cable and satellite content to third-party devices via apps could possibly impact TiVo’s market, but with the new TiVo/Rovi combination’s strength, Denny said TiVo is aware of the potential market changes, but that it was simply too early in the game for any further comments.