Twine-cutting began as a province for nerds solely. It often meant proudly owning a media heart PC, a PCI tuner and even cobbling collectively information information from fanatic web sites. Whereas the motion has advanced since then, cord-cutting nonetheless clings to its geek roots with the recognition of merchandise like Plex (ex-XBMC) and HD HomeRun (which nonetheless wanted a PC till 2015).

TiVo’s Bolt OTA ($249 at Amazon), however, is about as mainstream as a cord-cutting DVR can get. TiVo is a well-recognized identify and this DVR goals to make ditching cable as painless as doable. The issue is that loads of different massive names — assume DirecTV Now, YouTube TV and the Amazon Fireplace TV Recast — are horning in on the cable-free DVR turf.

OTA stands for “over the air.” Not like the usual TiVo Bolt, the Bolt OTA does not work with cable TV. As a substitute it connects to an over-the-air antenna to pipe in free TV broadcasts in your space. The Bolt affords 4 OTA tuners (so you’ll be able to file as much as 4 totally different channels without delay) in addition to the preferred streaming apps like Netflix and Amazon.

The TiVo’s predominant benefit in comparison with stay TV streaming subscriptions with cloud DVRs like YouTube TV and DirecTV Now could be that it is a answer. Your stay TV and recordings are stored inside attain, not vulnerable to the outages and buffering.

The Fireplace TV Recast can also be a DVR with streaming apps, and in some ways it is the Bolt’s greatest risk. It is simply as simple to make use of and has two massive benefits over TiVo: the flexibility to stream to a couple of TV in your own home, and (the kicker) no cost for a service plan. The TiVo is a compelling product, however for acutely aware wire cutters, the Recast is unquestionably a greater deal.

The Bolt OTA retails for $250 and house owners can both go for a $6-per-month subscription or a $250 “All-in Service Plan”. TiVo is presently providing a $200 trade-in program for house owners of the Roamio OTA till Dec. 22 2018, which might convey the entire price to $300.

A contemporary DVR

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Overlook beige containers with a flashing 12:00 — the TiVo Bolt OTA totally updates the look of the fashionable recorder, and largely for the higher. It is vaguely boomerang-shaped (which means you’ll be able to’t plonk issues on high of it) and it is a couple of foot lengthy. It might look black however within the mild you will discover it is a darkish, translucent scarlet.

The Bolt OTA is ready to maintain as much as 150 hours of HD packages on its 1TB onerous drive, and comes with the now -standard 14-day information to schedule recordings. It is a 1080p recorder however it should additionally stream 4K-ready content material from suitable apps together with Netflix. If you happen to run out of recording area there may be an e-SATA port so as to add extra storage if wanted. Different connections embrace HDMI, coax antenna, optical digital, three.5mm analog, Ethernet and two USB ports. There may be additionally a helpful distant finder button on the rear.

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The brand new Vox distant has a number of additional buttons over the standard “peanut” together with the brand new “microphone” button, which provides the flexibility to seek for content material. However the greatest change is that the enduring thumbs up/down buttons are tiny and white as an alternative of crimson and inexperienced.

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