Should I Buy New Bolt OTA, Retire Old Roamio OTA?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by munchcolo, Mar 12, 2020.

  1. munchcolo

    munchcolo New Member

    Feb 28, 2015


    I bought the Roamio OTA 500 GB about six years ago. It's been great, no complaints, and it still works fine. I use it strictly for recording network shows, not for the streaming apps. I have two Minis in other rooms. Everything is connected by ethernet. I'm very happy with the TiVo system.

    TiVo has the Bolt OTA for a tempting deal. What would be the advantages/disadvantages of switching to the Bolt? I'm in a fringe antenna area; is the Bolt tuner better or worse than the Roamio tuner? Will the Bolt work with my existing Minis? Any other considerations? Thanks for your input.
  2. just4tivo

    just4tivo Active Member

    Dec 9, 2015
    IIRC the new Bolt OTA runs Hydra (TE4). If that suits you... many prefer TE3. Not sure if the new Bolt OTA can be rolled back.

    Bolts are a PITA to dissemble, upgrade hard drives, and replace fans.

    Chatter says the Bolts aren't as reliable as the Roamio OTA.

    You KNOW how good (or bad) the tuners in YOUR Roamio OTA are. There was talk that the Bolt tuners weren't as good as the Roamio OTA but you'd need to compare at your location to be sure.
    wizwor likes this.
  3. MrDell

    MrDell Active Member

    Jul 8, 2012
    Rhode Island
    You will find the Bolt quite a bit quicker responding to remote commands which is nice. It does run a bit warm so you may want to add some additional cooling as discussed in other parts of the forum.
  4. Pokemon_Dad

    Pokemon_Dad Ruler of Unown UI

    Jan 19, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    The Bolt can be rolled back to TE3.
    The Bolt OTA cannot be rolled back to TE3, per the authoritative replies below.

    Bolts are a PITA period. Inferior design and much lower quality than a Roamio.

    It will work with your existing Minis, tho if it's on TE4 they will want to upgrade to match.

    If you don't use your TiVo for streaming, I don't know why you'd want to upgrade. A Roamio is plenty speedy enough as a DVR.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2020
    mrsean likes this.
  5. Charles R

    Charles R Well-Known Member

    Nov 9, 2000


    I'm in roughly the same situation... older Roamio. The sale is a good deal and I thought about swapping. If you unload the Roamio on eBay the cost is hardly anything. However I don't think I will for two reasons. One being TiVo's foray into ads just leaves a bad taste in my mouth and the other my locals' image quality being so poor I don't feel like "rewarding" either.
  6. HerronScott

    HerronScott Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2002
    Staunton, VA
    That's not true on the Bolt OTA model that was released later (OTA-only). Post from TiVo_Ted below.

    Bolt OTA will not convert to HD menus

    Pokemon_Dad and dishrich like this.
  7. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

    Apr 17, 2000
    Yeah the Bolt OTA was the first device to not allow TE3 roll back.
    Pokemon_Dad likes this.
  8. Pokemon_Dad

    Pokemon_Dad Ruler of Unown UI

    Jan 19, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Oops sorry, thanks guys, I've corrected my post above. Yet another reason not to buy it IMHO.
  9. pfiagra

    pfiagra Well-Known Member

    Oct 13, 2014
    Another consideration: If you don’t already have a TiVo Stream and use it with your Roamio, then the Bolt will give you the functionality to stream to your computer (via TiVo Online) or mobile device/tablet (via TiVo iOS or Android app).
  10. V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

    May 28, 2005
    New Mexico...
    If you are happy and satisfied with your Roamio (as you state), then there are ZERO benefits to buying a Bolt, and plenty of reasons not to.

    The single biggest reason to NOT change if your Roamio is still working fine is that Bolts are MUCH LESS RELIABLE. The toy hard drive is the weakest link.
    slowbiscuit, wizwor, trip1eX and 3 others like this.
  11. dishrich

    dishrich Well-Known Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Springfield, IL
    +1...AND, if you are in need of a "spare" Roamio, several places to get great condition lifetimed units; just bought my 4th Roamio; a basic (that does BOTH cable & antenna) for backup f/$250, so hopefully I NEVER have to go a Bolt or>...&/or be forced to TE4! Dropped a new 3TB HDD in that cost about $70 & it's almost like getting a brand-new Tivo that you are accustomed to.
  12. TeamPace

    TeamPace Active Member

    Oct 22, 2013
    A number of years ago I bought a Bolt to upgrade from my Roamio base model. I had to send it back. The OTA reception was significantly inferior to the Roamio even after trying for several weeks to tweak it. I have since had the same poor experience when helping some others trying to do OTA with Bolt. Bolt DVRs in my experience don’t have as effective tuners. Others have reported ok reception and it’s possible the newer Bolt OTA is better, I’m not sure. Bottom line is my Roamio basic model, which has performed well for many years and I’m not upgrading. Might consider an Edge when the time comes and depending on what the price is. Haven’t seen much info on Edge tuners yet.
  13. tenthplanet

    tenthplanet Well-Known Member

    Mar 5, 2004
    If your Romaio is working fine there is no reason to change until the future of OTA shakes out. When TV stations in your area make a real transition to ATSC 3.0 then it might make sense to upgrade to a future dvr that has ATSC 3.0. Otherwise the bulk of broadcast channels in many areas are SD subchannels right now. :eek: OTT is changing the game. I wouldn't sink a ton more money in OTA right now, but keep an eye on the where the tech is going. Things can change within a few months these days.
  14. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
    Bolt is a downgrade from Roamio for all the mentioned reasons. Forced TE4 on OTA models is the final straw.
  15. HarleyRandom

    HarleyRandom Well-Known Member

    Sep 17, 2015
    My Bolt has been nothing but a pain. I got it when tech support said my Roamio might need replacing (meaning shows already recorded need to be transferred) and because I want to test an outdoor antenna, but the purchase of that item keeps getting postponed. The biggest advantage was having a place to move my shows from the Roamio because it kept filling up. Now I can't move shows in one direction or the other because my Roamio has now decided it can't find the Bolt.

    But the worst things have been having to get used to a flat screen TV where people look creepy (this is a problem only for live broadcasts when the indoor antenna actually works) and trying to figure out the different software after I was told I can't have the Roamio software. I was actually watching all shows that were store on the Bolt using the Roamio. Until the Roamio couldn't find the Bolt.
  16. steelersruleman

    steelersruleman Member

    Aug 29, 2014
    NW Pennsylvania

    This is the biggest reason not to upgrade ANY DVR at this point, period.

    Not until ATSC 3.0 becomes readily across the USA. Just a complete waste of money IMHO.

    You want to throw away your money, just send it too me. Please. :)
  17. tommage1

    tommage1 Well-Known Member

    Nov 5, 2008
    Supposedly when/if ATSC 3 becomes the standard they have to maintain ATSC 1 for five years. I'd be more likely to take a chance on an OTA machine before a cable card dependent one for sure, I think cable cards will be gone before ATSC 1 loses support completely (ie those 5 years). That being said I doubt I would buy ANY pricey DVR dependent on cable card or ATSC 1. If you can get a deal on lifetime units for a couple hundred or so then maybe. But $500-1000+ for units that may lose support soon, well I would not do it myself.
  18. shwru980r

    shwru980r Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2008
    I think the only significant advantage that a bolt has over a Roamio OTA is built in transcoded streaming, but since Tivo will not release a corresponding OTT app, it's only useful for mobile devices.
  19. tenthplanet

    tenthplanet Well-Known Member

    Mar 5, 2004
    Wait people are throwing away money (poster runs off to retrieve baseball glove)..Ok, I'm ready, now, where do I stand :D
  20. Rose4uKY

    Rose4uKY Member

    Mar 28, 2003
    I am skimming through the bolt threads and have a question. I asked in an other thread just cause I want more opionions. I am sort of in the same boat as whoever started this thread except our Roamio is not OTA and we have 2 OG Mini's. We have a 6 tuner 1TB Plus from 2013 that was bought new and still works fine. Turned on the TV last week and an ad popped up about this deal on the bolt so I called Tivo. We have a 4K TV that we've had for a little over a year and we use the Roku 4K Ultra for Netflix and Prime right now. But I would like to be able to have it all useable through Tivo easier for me than switching inputs. We got a 6 tuner 1TB Bolt for 199 with Life time for 249. I am interested in the Voice may or may not use it or like it. But now after reading several reviews on here I am kind of scared. I didn't even know about the edge but price wise it's really not an option but I am reading about failed HD and getting too hot and people losing stuff going to TE4. I know were gaining voice and losing thumbs up and down. Am I really going to wish we still had our Roamio? I guess I'll give a little time before we try to sell our Roamio. I watched a You Tube Video about TE4 I think we will like it not sure what all we will be missing from TE3 which I asked in another thread. I just hope our Bolt doesn't have any problems. But yes we mainly did it cause we now have a 4K TV and I want to just use Netflix and Prime through the Tivo. If he feels like he likes it better through the Roku than he can watch that way I'll still go through Tivo. Just trying to get different opinions on here. Thanks!

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