TiVo combines its biggest, fastest DVRs to make the Bolt+

Back in black, the $499 Bolt+ has six tuners and 450 hours of HD recording space.

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Richard Lawler
September 12th, 2016
In this article: 4K, av, Bolt, Bolt+, BoltPlus, CEDIA, CEDIA2016, DVR, gear, RoamioPro, Tivo, UES
TiVo combines its biggest, fastest DVRs to make the Bolt+

As soon as TiVo unveiled its Bolt Unified Entertainment System last year, the company's biggest DVR fans started asking "what about us?" That's because despite its new design, 4K streaming and updated features, there was no option with enough tuners and storage to match the top of the line Roamio Pro DVR. Now TiVo is filling that hole with the $499 (plus service fee) Bolt+, which takes the styling and power of the Bolt then adds the ability to record up to 6 channels at once onto a built-in 3TB hard drive.

Gallery: TiVo Bolt+ | 7 Photos


Yes, that "gentle curve" is sticking around, and while the Bolt+ has an easier-to-hide glossy black chassis it might not fit in your AV rack. There are 4K Netflix and YouTube apps, plus the SkipMode commercial skipping and QuickMode fast-forward viewing that I liked first on the Bolt, and later on the Roamio as well. Like the original Bolt, the Bolt+ also improves on the Roamio Pro with gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi, MoCA 2.0 plus a faster processor and three times as much memory to make everything (especially those streaming apps) run more smoothly. One area where it's not as good is its ability to stream, which is down to 1-2 from the Roamio's four.

We're expecting to see HDR capability come to the Bolt in an update, but it's not mentioned in this announcement, and neither is that new UI TiVo just revealed. The other thing that hasn't changed is the pricing. Similar to my review of the Bolt, this box can get pricey quickly thanks to the $149 annual, $14.99 monthly (with 1-year commitment) or $549 "All-in" (but not Lifetime) service plan needed to keep it working after a year. It's also a bit disappointing that there aren't any other 4K apps yet, although most Ultra HD TVs on sale now will come with those streaming services built-in.

The price of a 500GB or 1TB Bolt has dropped by $100 since I reviewed it last year, meaning adding two extra tuners and 2TB of built-in storage (there is an eSATA port for external drives) comes at a $200 premium. Still, if that's what you need in a DVR to keep the entire household happy, the Bolt+ is the upgraded, faster TiVo you've been waiting for. Those who can live with four tuners can opt for the existing Bolt, while cord-cutters may want to wait around until next year for TiVo's next box, codenamed Mantis.

TiVo says it will go on sale Thursday, September 15th via TiVo.com, Amazon and Best Buy's Magnolia stores.

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