My Switch from HTPC to Tivo Blot

I recently purchased a Tivo Bolt to replace my Home Theater PC (HTPC). I currently have the Tivo setup using the antenna (over the air) feature along with the Amazon Prime, which is an app built into the box. We currently do not have a cable subscription.

It just works! While I enjoyed configuring my own HTPC, running open source software and “getting under the hood” it was becoming a time suck. Don’t get me wrong, in the beginning I used Windows Media Center, which was great software, but once Microsoft discontinued updates in 2009 I began experimenting with various open source options: XBMC, Kodi, mythTV DVR…the list goes on.

Time to Move On…

In late 2015 I finally decided it was time to move on from the home-brew setup. I had my spent enough time tweaking and playing around with all the neat software options. The reality was, it was consuming too much time and my pursuit to find just the right solution was coming up short.

In Comes Tivo Bolt

When I realized Tivo had a product that would take in OTA signal, provide an electronic program guide, and DVR I purchased immediately. The program guide and DVR were both a struggle to keep working on the HTPC, the Tivo just worked.

I had looked around several times for a device like this before, but could never find ALL the features I was looking for:

  • Antenna Tuner for Over the Air TV Reception
  • Reliable DVR
  • Electronic Program Guide
  • Ability to Access and Play Personal Video Library (Home Movies and Digitized DVD Collection)

The Tivo Bolt had it all, the only drawback was the monthly fee. I was trying to avoid an ongoing monthly fee, but ultimately decided the modest fee was well worth the time saved.

The Tivo Bolt box is much smaller than any HTPC, less wires, and consumes much less power.

I’ve been using the Bolt for a few months now and just thrilled. The features FAR exceed my expectations, a few that have turned out to extremely useful in our house:

  • Recording FOUR shows at once – you would think with antenna only TV we would never use four tuners, think again!
  • Mobile App – being able to watch DVR recordings on my cell phone or tablet while the kids are using the main TV is a nice bonus. Note, this feature does not work outside the house/remotely. You need to be connected to the same wifi network that Bolt is located.
  • Skip Mode, jumping past an entire commercial break works remarkably well, but not available for all programs.
  • Quick Mode – the feature that allow you to watch 30% faster with pitch perfect audio. A great way to get through news programs and other talk show formats.
  • PLEX App – This is the final piece of the puzzle for me. Tivo Bolt comes with the Plex App installed, allowing the Bolt to connect to a remote Ple Server where I can have all my home movies and digitized DVD library available. This weekend I finally had an opportunity to setup a PLEX server and have it working. So far, so good. I’ve run into a few glitches, mostly minor ones. I hope to write a short blog post about my setup shortly.

Tivo Bolt is great product for my situation, initially cost is less than a home built HTPC and the monthly fee is reasonable considering the long list of features and reliability. My first experience with Tivo, well done!



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