Brand new offering from TiVo, priced at $300.
- SkipMode: One click of the remote skips an entire commercial break on recorded programs.
- QuickMode: Speed up recordings by 30% using pitch-corrected audio. (Some cable networks are doing it at their end so they can shoehorn in more commercials).
- 4K Ultra High Definition.
Includes 1 year of prepaid TiVo service.
After the prepaid year, the service cost is $150/year (average $12.50/month). So effectively, you are paying $150 for the BOLT and $150 in advance for a year of service. The yearly $150 charge is auto-renewed unless you cancel before the renewal date by phone.
A $15/mo option carries a one-year commitment and a $75 early termination fee (not very attractive compared with the yearly option).
We bought a TiVo Roamio OTA eight months ago for $50, with a one-year commitment to pay $15/mo ($180/year) for service. It was a bit of a gamble since I didn’t know for sure how well it would go over. But my wife was so sold on it, we were able to cut the TV cable, and have saved a lot of money already. (See previous post Cord-cutting: What DID work for us.)
From our savings, we bought TiVo Minis for the kitchen and the theater room. Our Minis would work with the new BOLT at no additional charge, same as the OTA and other Roamio series DVRs.
The BOLT’s new SkipMode and QuickMode features are very tempting. I believe my “client” would love them. But our one-year commitment on the Roamio OTA won’t be up until 1/30/2016, so I may need to wait until next year to consider buying. I am checking with TiVo about this, and will report back here. (Later note: I was correct; we must complete the year.)
If you don’t have such a commitment in effect, you are free to jump right in.
The Complete Service Plan Terms and Conditions (see 4th question in TiVo’s FAQ) state that buying from a non-TiVo retail outlet such as Amazon gets you an additional option, the “All-In Plan”. This is a one-time payment of $600 for lifetime (the life of the box, that is) TiVo service. However, TiVo has available product and free shipping for orders placed directly with them.
With the All-In Plan, you would begin to save $150/year after 4 years of use. (Make that 5, per reader JM; see his comment below.) But here we are, thinking about switching boxes after less than a year. You should consider the probabilities that you will want to stay with the same product long enough to start reaping the savings, and that the box doesn’t conk out on you.
On the other hand, a BOLT on a monthly or yearly service plan comes with a Continual Care warranty, so your box is backed up to a degree should anything ever go wrong (unless due to misuse or force majeure, e.g., lightning; see our own lightning saga). The warranty will replace a non-working BOLT for $50 (plus shipping and any applicable taxes) as long as continuous, active TiVo service is maintained.
Our $50 Roamio OTA was the cheapest way to try TiVo. I now believe we will be using TiVo products to save money on cable TV for a long time to come.