TiVo BOLT $300 + $600 sub

New TiVo BOLT, $300 for 500 GB and $600 for lifetime subscription. Discuss.

Here is a good review by Verge: http://www.theverge.com/2015/9/29/9419725/tivo-bolt-review-walt-mossberg

The main complaint I am hearing is the $600 lifetime cost, which is in addition to the $300/$400 cost of the Bolt. The yearly fee is going to be $150, so it doesn’t make a lot of sense to invest in lifetime anymore. You would have to keep it for 6 years to save any money, and 6 years a very long time in the constantly changing tech world.

It is interesting that commercial skip is done by people, and only for certain channels and shows at certain times, though it should be a nice feature. The 30% faster function will be nice for sports.

As an OTA-DVR, 4 tuners is plenty (I still haven’t had a conflict with my 2 tuner). But if you use it as a cable DVR instead (can only do it one way or the other), 4 tuners may be limited. The hard drives are very small as well, though you can add more space externally (and probably replace the internal one as well).

I can see this appealing to new cord cutters and existing Tivo users. If you have already invested in streaming boxes, which still offer a lot more app/channels than the Tivo offers, it would be hard to switch. I am sure the Tivo has the best DVR user experience, but it is a commitment to their environment and prices.

Actually, if the yearly cost is $150, you break even in four years. But regardless, that is the reason I won’t ever consider Tivo. The insane subscription costs and the fact that they only apply to the lifetime of a specific device and not the user is just not worth it.

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You get the first year free. So 5 years paying the yearly cost equals paying the lifetime cost up front.

It does include a warranty, sort of. If your Tivo breaks, you still have to pay $50 to replace it.

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I decided on a Tablo over the Tivo because the cost to outfit additional TV’s with Tivo minis was outrageous, let alone the monthly subscription cost. Plus, I liked the fact that I could use the Tablo as an OTA media server sort of speak and keep it in my garage where the broadband connection coming into my home terminates. The new Bolt will supposedly support the Amazon Fire TV, but it will need to quickly support additional platforms like the new Chromecast, and Roku 4 in order for it to be competitive. One benefit to the Tivo is it’s native app support, but unfortunately they are slow to implement new channels, and SlingTV was of particular interest for me, so I opted to go the Roku route and Tablo was a perfect complement. Tablo is still a relatively young company and they have a lot to learn, but I believe they will listen to their consumer-base and succeed. This is evident with the new guide channel preview they’ve hinted at.

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I went the other way. Disregarding performance problems and lack of Tablo feature content, take another look at the math. First, when looking at $15/month, you have to consider it as $10 because the Tablo guide is $5/month. Minis can be had at Amazon for about $125; the Roku 4 is $130. Roku 3 is cheaper, and will likely be sold off soon, but considering that the biggest issues right now for Tablo is that it is a data hog. Look at all the support responses that probe if the person with the problem is wired or wifi; direct between units or through a router; is the router a “good” one (how to respond to that?); if through some number of switches. So you can bet that the next level will be for those having trouble with 1080p (and forget about 4K, which is being provided by Netflix and others) will get the suggestion to get a Roku 4. So not much difference between a Bolt plus Minis than a Tablo plus Rokus, but everybody overlooks the cost of the Rokus in the comparison.

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Not arguing Phil, just want to learn. What is the content via Roku that is incremental to a Tivo? I have never gone beyond Netflix and Amazon Prime.

I guess my response was mostly oriented towards those like a recent poster that was asking about buying a Tablo system or Tivo Bolt. From a standing start they seem pretty similar in cost to me, with the tie breaker that the Tivo works flawlessly, 1080p recording and playback and live, and a stellar flexibility in programming season passes. And since many on this list have no network / performance problems with their Tablo I understand why they would stick with what works. My system was simply unuseable, so it was Tivo or Comcast. The Tivo system (base plus now three Minis) works just fine with zero changes in the network or placement of units.

What I have no idea about is if the Tablo problems are mostly caused by the Tablo unit and its firmware or if the issue is mostly with the Rokus. The company’s survival will depend upon catching new buyers, not keeping the old ones. So if the $130 Roku is a weakness in their system they may be better off to also provide a Mini-type extender for about the same cost, with the advantage of control of design at both ends.

It is a SIGNIFICANT difference in price. Let’s compare, both options below will provide 1080p playback on 3 HDTVs. TiVo Stream must be included for a valid comparison as this device allows remote viewing via iOS and Android devices. $530 may not be a significant difference to you, but for those cord cutting to save money, it is sizeable.

Tablo Quad tuner, 4 year ownership, 500 GB HDD, 3 Nexus Players:
$650 (300+150+50+50*3)

TiVo Bolt, 4 year ownership, 2 TiVo Minis, 1 TiVo Stream:
$1180 [300+150*(4-1)+150*2+130]

Plus with the new my.tablotv.com web app released today, the new HTML5 player is slick for playback on any computer. A feature not available on the TiVo.


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The cost difference is even more drastic when you take into account, as philsoft mentioned, that many people already have streaming set-top boxes. We have four TVs that already had streaming devices before we purchased Tablo and not having to buy any additional device for each of these TVs was a huge factor in the decision for us. Also, some of those TVs are old and only have one HDMI input - which makes it more difficult to switch between boxes. Unplugging boxes to switch between devices is a pain and the HDMI switches don’t always work intuitively with always on devices like set-top boxes. Being able to view everything (DVR, LiveTV, apps, and games) from one device simplifies things greatly.

That, plus the difference in the lifetime subscription. We have two Tablos (one for my husband and one for myself) so that we can keep our stuff separate. I record a ton of stuff and my husband doesn’t like all the digital “clutter.” With Tablo, both devices are covered under one subscription - along with any upgraded devices we may buy in the future. With TiVo, we would need separate lifetime subscriptions for each device and for future devices, and given the high cost of a lifetime TiVo subscription, that is a lot of additional money. It would not have been feasible to add a second DVR with TiVo’s subscription policy.


So, you consider a Tablo to support 1080p streams to three HDTVs. I left because I could only get it to one, and then only if both Tablo and the Roku on the same switch, bypassing the router. Through the router and one switch, even 720p had occassional Loading issues; that was a 30’ run. My next HDTV would be in the family room downstairs, through two more switches; no chance for 1080p, might not even handle 720; I have been playing it as 480Standard for a year. And the sound is still stereo. Today I have 1080p everywhere, 5.1 surround in the rooms that have it.

Clearly the Tablo is just find for some who have certain wants plus constraints. I have what I need, you have what you need. No need to keep beating this dead horse. Good day.

[quote=“oldmike, post:8, topic:3705”]
Not arguing Phil, just want to learn. What is the content via Roku that is incremental to a Tivo? I have never gone beyond Netflix and Amazon Prime.
[/quote]For us, Sling TV was a big factor in cutting the cord. Getting some cable networks made it a lot easier to do. We still get to see Monday Night Football on ESPN, Walking Dead and Better Call Saul on AMC, Project Runway (wife) on Lifetime, and various other programs on History and Travel channels. Don’t know if you can get that with the Tivo, but Roku can do it.

I’ve preordered the Roku 4. As soon as I get it I’ll see if that solves the 1080P problem between tablo and roku. If it does, I won’t see any reason to think I’d rather have Tivo.

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That’s a heavy tarrif for cost conscious cord cutters. Typical of TiVo.

Switching to a Nexus player resolved all the issues that we both experienced. Scrolling on full screen TV by remote control is a blast. And in 1080 mode without buffering issues. To each his own.