New TiVo Box Bolt Vox and Mini Vox DVR has Voice Search Built into the Remote

TiVo Voxbox: TiVo's new Bolt Vox DVR has a built-in voice search on the remote control. TiVo announced three new products this morning, including two decoders, Bolt Vox and Mini Vox, plus a remote control with voice search capabilities for existing TiVo hardware. Next, to these new devices, TiVo is showing the updated software that runs on them, which will also hit Bolt and Roamio DVR later this fall.

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If you know your TV devices, you know that several popular streaming devices like Roku, Fire TV and Apple TV are already compatible with universal voice search, each in its own way, which brings together content from many different services. Comcast and Dish are also making a huge effort in the voice because it helps hide the fragmented reality of entertainment in 2017; We all like to watch programs on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and yes, cable too. So linking all that content is not a new task. But TiVo is positioning these new Vox devices as the most complete and easy solution of all. That "unified entertainment system" was Bolt's big selling point in 2015. Walt Mossberg was quite happy with it. Now the company hopes that placing voice search layers and refreshed software in the comfort of never changing HDMI inputs will suffice.

The Bolt Vox looks very similar in design to the Bolt launched two years ago, but this time there is no white version. It only comes in black. The connections around the back are all identical, too. In fact, it seems that there are no hardware differences between Bolt Vox and the original Bolt 2015. This is the same box as before but now has been renamed and comes with an integrated voice remote control.

The storage options are not modified either. The base of 500GB Bolt Vox DVR costs $199.99 and includes four tuners. A larger capacity 1TB model is available ($299), but the larger 3TB version of 6 tuners ($499) is only compatible with digital cable inputs and not with wireless antenna programming. So we're seeing an extremely iterative hardware revision here. For the main DVR, anyway.

The new TiVo Mini $179.99 Mini is an enhanced and more powerful version of the TiVo Mini, which is a smaller box that connects to your home's secondary TVs to give you access to your recordings, live TV and some key applications. transmission. The Mini Vox now supports 4K playback (the former Mini was limited to 1080p), and also has the new voice remote control directly in the box. But you still need a MoCA (multimedia over coax) or an Ethernet-based home network if you want to assemble this multi-room TiVo system. Wi-Fi alone will not cut it.

As always, once you have purchased the TiVo hardware, you will have to pay separately for one of TiVo's service plans. The monthly subscription is $14.99, with yearly options ($149.99) and "all-inclusive" also available. The $549.99 comprehensive plan covers the TiVo service over the life of your device. That business model probably sounds absurd for people who have never had or actually used a TiVo, but that's what gives it signature, convenient features like impeccable business omissions (for compatible shows) and so on.

TiVo calls the software that comes with Bolt Vox its "next-generation experience," and it seems a significant improvement when you remember that this is the company that took years to completely convert their menus to HD. There are carousels of good illustrations of movies and television shows, and TiVo is very good at making it very clear where you can view the content that is recommended with badges that indicate whether it is a cable or a broadcast application.

Browsing some of these sections seems a bit confusing at first glance, but I guess it's more intuitive in practice after a few minutes. It definitely looks so much better, and TiVo has taken care to keep your current program in sight when you're playing menus so you do not miss a thing if you want to know what else is active.

As for the great novelty, the voice search, TiVo says you can order shows or movies and fine-tune the results as they come back. Then you can say "Show me movies with Tom Hanks" and then add "just the dramas" to cut the list. Voice commands also work for TiVo software tricks like SkipMode and QuickMode, which speeds up the program you're viewing by 30 percent.

But nothing about TiVo's voice search powers seems so unique or novel compared to the competition. Transmission frames can already help filter the search results in a similar way, and both Roku and Amazon are extending a hand to cable cutters with deeper integration of live TV OTA so it can say "turn on NBC "and TVs will work with that integrated software. I am struggling to see what there is to have here when Alexa can now control Fire TV and Google Home can launch videos on their Chromecast. These seem more convincing voice interactions.

If you want TiVo voice search (and the accompanying new software), you can get Vox Voice Remote for $39.99 in black or white for Bolt devices. If you have a Roamio (Pro, Plus or OTA), the remote costs a little more $44.99, as it includes a Bluetooth adapter. Everything goes on sale October 29th on Amazon, Best Buy and TiVo's web store, and soon we'll spend more time with Bolt Vox.
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