TiVo is making an aggressive pitch to cord cutters and would-be cord cutters alike, saying its new Bolt OTA set-top box can save them hundreds of dollars a year "while still enjoying the best TV experience of your life." In three years time, TiVo says the savings can add up to more than $800, a not insignificant amount of money.
"TiVo Bolt OTA is the perfect solution for a broad range of passionate TV viewers, including those considering cutting their cable TV subscriptions or those who might’ve already cut the cord but are unhappy with their limited HD antenna tuner," the company says.
The Bolt OTA is a 4K set-top box for pulling in signals from just about any high-definition antenna. It boasts four tuners and connects to almost any TV, allowing users to watch live, local, and national broadcast news, sports, and entertainment in HD using an HD antenna, without programming costs.
It also serves as a DVR to record content it pulls in, with room to store up to 150 hours of HD programming. When watching a recorded show, impatient viewers can utilize SkipMode to skip over commercial breaks with a single button press. In addition, it comes with a VOX remote with voice support.
"TiVo Bolt OTA is the perfect solution for a broad range of TV enthusiasts, including those considering cutting their cable TV subscription or those who might have cut the cord but are missing some programs that are only available via live TV," said Ted Malone, vice president of consumer products and services, TiVo. “We’ve seen growing demand for our over-the-air products, and Bolt OTA is a major upgrade that will continue to keep TiVo at the forefront of the market."
Users will also find access to more than 20 apps, including Amazon Prime Video, HBO, Hulu, HBO, YouTube, and various others.
Cord cutters will be able to purchase the Bolt OTA starting September 28 for $249.99. While there are no programming costs, there is a $6.99 monthly "service fee," which is discounted to $69.99 if paying annually. It's worth noting that Amazon recently announced a set-top box of its own, the Fire TV Recast, which sells for $230 for the two-tuner version and $280 for the four-tuner model. The latter is more expensive than the Bolt OTA, but lacks a monthly fee.
"It’s really important to understand that TiVo doesn’t see Amazon as a competitor," Ted Malone, Vice President of Consumer Products and Services at TiVo, told TechCrunch. "We we run a bunch of our services on AWS; we sell our products via Amazon; we support Alexa; we were first and, as far as I know, still one of the best integrations of the Alexa video skill kit. And we support Amazon Prime Video on our boxes. We really see Amazon at a partner level."
He also says that TiVo designed Bolt OTA to feel like a professional TV product, like an upgraded cable TV box, whereas the Fire TV Recast is more of a DIY solution. Whether customers see things the same way remains to be seen.