TiVo for cord cutters still charges monthly fee
TiVo, the company that popularized the DVR in 1999, has a new unit aimed at cord cutters who watch TV with an antenna. But unlike Amazon’s new, lowerpriced Recast DVR, the Bolt OTA DVR still charges a monthly fee for service.
The fee for the $249.99 box is $6.99 monthly or $69.99 yearly, lower than the $15 TiVo charges for service with existing DVRs. It will be available Friday.
The pitch from TiVo is that the DVR “looks and feels like a high-end cable box,” it said in explaining why a DVR that connects to an antenna charges a monthly fee.
Most DVRs connect to cable boxes, and TiVo has long been positioned as the ultimate TV fanatic accessory, with a more viewer-friendly program guide and a unit that sells directly to consumers, instead of having to rent it, as most cable customers do now.
TiVo Vice President Ted Malone says the company decided to reach out to the over-the-air antenna market when it noticed it was growing 10 percent a year, compared with a 5 percent decline in cable boxes.
TiVo’s former box for cord cutters, the $399 Roamio, didn’t have support for 4K viewing or the ability to stream to mobile devices, which the new unit can do. The Roamio has been discontinued.
Beyond the program guide, Malone says the monthly fee also gets you customer support and the ability to automatically skip over commercials in certain taped shows. TiVo says it has boxes in more than 1 million homes.
Meanwhile, in an age when many of our favorites are available on demand, in such apps as Netflix and Amazon, is there really a need to tape shows anymore? Malone says that’s a question folks at TiVo grapple with all the time.
But as long as content owners continue not making all shows available on demand, there will still “be a benefit to recording,” he says.