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TiVo Bolt DVR Can Identify And Skip TV Commercial Breaks

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TiVo’s latest iteration, the Bolt, is an attempt to breathe new life into what many consider to be outdated tech. While TiVo broke new ground with its initial foray into DVR technology, cable providers over the years have stepped up to the plate in offering subscribers their own versions of TiVo-style tuning and recording. Moreover, the increasing popularity of TV streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon Instant have hit the DVR market hard.

In order to survive, companies like TiVo need to step up their game and provide users with the kind of cutting edge features that will set their devices apart from the crowd. The TiVo Bolt is part one in an ambitious plan to revitalize the brand and encourage consumers to take advantage of several sophisticated new offerings.

Engadget‘s Richard Lawler gave the Bolt a go, exploring its HTML 5 additions – users will be able to connect their TiVo devices to YouTube, Netflix and more – and, most exciting for long-time TiVo users, the new ‘SkipMode.’

SkipMode allows the Bolt to scan recorded programs for commercials, and then prompt users to skip right over ads with a simple push of a button.

Admittedly, the service is currently limited to a specific selection of popular networks, but this is still a welcome change from TiVo’s old 30 second skip feature. Adblocking and commercial skipping may be problematic for media providers, but from a consumer’s perspective, this capability is a vital addition to any piece of tech. The TiVo Bolt will free users from both ads and delays, and while the service only covers around 20 networks, testers have found that the vast majority of their favorite shows are included in that bundle.

TiVo CMO Ira Bahr told The Verge that, in order to compete with the millions of other streaming and DVR services out there, TiVo plans on expanding the Bolt within the next year. The Pro version will upgrade the current 4 available tuners to ‘at least six,’ and will offer several terabytes of storage. It’ll be a long road back to greatness for TiVo, but the company is confident that the Bolt is a powerful and promising first step.

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