Roku and TiVo Bolt Hybrid Cable TV Boxes
Times are a changing in the Cable TV industry
Cable TV providers are looking for ways to stem off the tide of customers dumping their boxes in favor of online streaming. By incorporating live TV channels into popular streaming boxes, they are hopeful this will stop customer churn by eliminating the need to switch between boxes.
If you missed our previous article, the FCC wants to vote on changing the rules on exclusive use of Cable TV and Satellite TV Boxes. This would open up the market by allowing customers to choose boxes from companies like Roku, Apple, Amazon, Google, TiVo or others to provide live cable TV without big cable's monthly rental fees.
Roku will soon join TiVo and start offering a hybrid box for cable TV operators. Roku's hybrid box looks much like their new Roku 4. It allows cable operators to offer linear and streaming channels all from one device. This would let customers have access all their favorite Roku channels and also decrypt Cable TV to watch live television stations.
One thing missing from Roku's new hybrid streamer is a DVR. This is something that's a must have when watching broadcast TV, if for no other reason than to skip endless commercials that seem to go hand in hand with a Cable TV subscription.
Dump Your Cable TV Box with TiVo BoltTiVo has a new device they hope will fill the lack of a DVR on Roku. The new TiVo Bolt also acts as a hybrid box since it not only offers live cable TV, it will also access 3rd party apps. The TiVo Bolt can record and pause live TV and fully skip commercials with just one click on recorded shows.
What makes the TiVo Bolt useful is the ability to watch Netflix, Amazon and YouTube videos plus their excellent search features to make finding shows very easy.
Speed Watch is another useful feature on the TiVo Bolt. This will speed up a show 30% faster yet still hear the sound perfectly clear. This can come in really handy for news, or talk shows and can save you time.
Cost is the downside to the TiVo Bolt. Unlike Roku which charges no monthly fee, TiVo includes a one year monthly fee membership with the $300 base price. After one year is up, it will cost you $14.99 a month to use continue to use their excellent software. Additionally, it requires adding a $5/Month cable card to decrypt the Cable TV signal.
If you would rather just record live TV from an antenna, TiVo Roamio is their OTA DVR that will do this without a cable TV subscription.
When you consider some cable companies are now charging $15 a month to rent their cable boxes, it won't cost you all that much more a month and you would have a TiVo which is way nicer than a typical Cable TV Box/DVR.
Even if the FCC does not change their rules, this is probably just the beginning to a long line of new devices that we will start seeing soon. Cable TV customers are no longer content having an ugly cable TV box taking up space that serves no other useful function. Big cable will need to adapt and embrace streaming technology or risk losing even more customers.