Should I purchase a new Bolt Vox??

Discussion in 'TiVo Bolt DVR/Streamer' started by jenix, Apr 15, 2019 at 2:53 PM.

  1. jenix

    jenix New Member

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    Can I get some advice? I have been a TiVo owner for over 20 years with multiple devices. Currently using a Romeo Pro which is unfortunately dying. Trying to decide whether to get a new Bolt Vox or simply use my Xfinity X14k. I have two primary concerns. First is reliability of the Bolt. Having read all the Bolt threads I am VERY concerned about the reliability of the Bolt. My Romeo Pro has lasted around 5 years without issue until recently (confirmed HD and main board issues) No way do I want to go through the REFURB merry-go-round. Second concern is tuner picture quality. I get VERY good pix from my Xfin feed which looks very good on the Romeo. Again there seems to be concern about the quality of the Bolt's tuners. I am a retired TV production person so quality is extremely important to me (ISF calibrated OLED monitor).

    So, should I pony up bucks for the Bolt or bite the bullet and simply use the X1. For me the X1 has lower video quality to my OLED (I don't allow the box to upscale to 4k!). On the + side it would be cheaper, no cost service and replacement if necessary. Also they now have a version of commercial skip, which is not as nice as TiVo Skip, but works OK and I never thought I would say this... the program guide is MUCH better....thanks Rovi???

    I would appreciate any constructive thoughts on these issues from those of you who have used the Bolt Vox since it came out. Thanks for your time!
     
  2. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

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    Just a data point: my Bolt has been solid since I purchased it, 2 years or so ago; OTA picture as good as OTA direct on my Samsung TV. The fan/box makes no more noise than my Roamio box (relatively quiet--I can't hear it from 10' away), and the box temp. seems to have been fine without any modification apart from water bottle cap risers at each corner (which I'm doing for my other boxes as well).
     
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  3. KJN

    KJN New Member

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    No problems here with the Bolt, and it runs circles around the X1. Also, Comcast has the worst support on the planet.
    Keeping the Bolt cool helps with the reliability.
     
  4. jenix

    jenix New Member

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    Thanks guys. Couple of points; Mike, do you have a OTA Bolt? I am concerned with QAM cable tuner quality, not OTA. Can you update.

    KJN, Agree on the cooling requirement. How long have you had your Bolt? Seems like there is some evidence the initial Bolts Might have been more reliable than current shipping devices.

    Appreciate your time!
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019 at 1:15 PM
  5. Phil T

    Phil T Active Member

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    I got a Bolt VOX within the first few days they were released and use it on Comcast. I was a 14 year DirecTV customer before that. The Bolt is great and no issues. Picture on my 65” Sony 4K is great. I tried the X1 box for a while and really didn’t like it. Slow functionality compared to the Bolt. I bought another Bolt to get the lifetime when they were on sale in February. Also have 1st and 2nd generation minis.

    IMO it is the best and most reliable DVR available right now. The DirecTV HS17 and C61 clients were so flaky when I had them. The one channel of 4K programming is not worth it when you have to deal with clueless AT&T CSR’s.
     
  6. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

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    Oops, sorry, forgot the fuller disclosure: it's an original Bolt, capable of both OTA and cable, which I've been using OTA.

    On the cooling front: you may have noticed the many threads and posts here on the cooling angle. I was worried about the fan issue from all the posts, from before I received my Bolt, but my Bolt's temp./fan have been pretty solid from the get-go. I think that I've only heard my fan from across the room a handful of times (once was when I was entering the room, and it sounded as loud as my laptop fan (I even had thought, originally, that I must have left my laptop near the Bolt box), which was surprising as, as I said, I rarely hear it--my guess is, most or all of the tuners must have been busy recording). For those "needing" it, numerous solutions have developed, as posted here, including: the use of risers under the box (from water bottle caps to higher); placement on a meshed metal stand; placement on a fanned laptop cooling stand; the use of a small, external fan blowing on the Bolt box (the AC Infinity fan at Amazon.com being an inexpensive favorite); and the replacement of the internal fan. For whatever it is worth, a TiVo rep. has reported here that the Bolt box temps. that people sometimes are concerned about are normal.
     
  7. KJN

    KJN New Member

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    I have had my Bolt for about 6 months. I use risers and an external cooling fan. I got my ODT from 68c to 48c. I hope it will be as reliable as my other Tivos. I have a 7 year old XL4, and a 10 year old 2 tuner HD. The only failure was the drive in the HD, which was an easy fix via Weaknees.
     
  8. UCLABB

    UCLABB Well-Known Member

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    I had a Bolt go bad- HDD. There's been a lot of posts here about Bolt HDDs going bad. I, and many others, have taken measures to keep the Bolt cooler in hope that will protect the HDD. I have Both a Bolt+ and a Roamio Plus.

    How do you know you have a bad board in the Roamio? The HDD is easy enough to replace, just plug and play.
     
  9. Darrell Patton

    Darrell Patton New Member

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    FYI, right now TIVO has a 72 hour sale on the Bolt. Agree to a 2 year service plan of $14.95/month and the Bolt is FREE.
     
  10. lujan

    lujan Member

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    How about the service after 2 years?
     
  11. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

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    And that's the possible hitch. Even just looking at the first 2 years, I'd instead be tempted, absent a special need, to get a Roamio OTA (assuming I was looking for OTA use) with its included Lifetime subscription at around $350.
     
    lujan likes this.
  12. sangs

    sangs Active Member

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    It's ONLY for the Bolt OTA. OP is interested in Cable.
     
  13. chiguy50

    chiguy50 Active Member

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    IF your DVR's issues can not be rectified, and assuming that you have been happy with its performance up until now, I would recommend you that you replace it with a refurb or used Roamio Pro from a vetted source. In my experience, there's no need to shy away from refurbs as long as you are confident in the seller's reliability. I may be prejudiced as a fellow Roamio Pro owner, but I feel that this is the best TiVo model you can buy.

    I am curious about your evaluation of the Comcast CTV picture quality, especially since you say that you have a professional background. We know that Comcast has downgraded the resolution on most of the channels and is compressing the signal in order to free up bandwidth for other purposes. Some have called the results "unwatchable" or "garbage." While that is clearly hyperbolic, your impression seems to be the diametrical opposite.

    Could you please elaborate on the criteria you are using in your evaluation of the PQ?
     
    Rey likes this.
  14. jenix

    jenix New Member

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    Chi, thanks for the response. As to xfinity pix... I am lucky to live in suburban Philly, home of Comcast. We had a major fiber upgrade last spring which GREATLY improved our overall picture quality on all channels. As to my evaluation, comparing the OTA channels, which is the best picture yardstick, my OTA via antenna will be a 10 on my ISF LG OLED. As of now the same channels 1080i and 720p are probably a 9 using my Romeo Pro QAM (cable feed). Almost no difference in either resolution, motion or saturation/phase. The X1V4 4k box was probably a 7 using the channels native resolution. Letting the X1 scale 4k to the TV was substantially worse: 5-6. Prior to the fiber upgrade the 720 cable down-res was not suitable for me to watch. I was looking into other services when my contract ran out. With the upgrade (and there could be other changes they made in addition to the fiber) I would say the 720 cable net feeds are as good or maybe a little better then their previous 1080i, 7+-8 compared to the OTAs.

    Although I never had major outage or signal issues before the 1080-720 change I was not happy when the 720 feeds launched, picture looked soft and motion issues. Now that is no longer an issue for me! So in my situation I honestly feel that the QAM OTAs are pretty comparable to direct antenna feed. As for the traditional cable nets in 720p they are now about the same quality as they were in 1080i when viewed via TiVo, the X1 DVR is significantly worse being "softer and more noisy".

    So again in my case I was happy for years with viewing via TiVo before the resolution change, but at that point I was ready to leave. However the fiber upgrade and perhaps other changes they might have made at the HeadEnd and transmission significantly improved to the point I was willing to stay.

    My main concern is will I still receive the satisfactory pix from a new Bolt (QAM) that I receive now from my Romeo Pro... thus the reason for my initial post. Hope this helps.
     
    chiguy50 likes this.
  15. chiguy50

    chiguy50 Active Member

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    So, in summation, would it be fair to say that you see no degradation in the cable signal (not OTA) now vs. before the changeover, despite the downrezzing and increased compression?
     
  16. jenix

    jenix New Member

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    OK, will try again... In my home the QAM 720p cable channels now (after the fiber and perhaps other changes) look within +/- 5-10% as good as the old 1080i before the 720p conversion viewed on my Romeo Pro to the LG OLED. Again I have always had good pictures and have NOT experienced any of the issues people refer to as "cable crap". As many of the most serious criticism I have seen were using Comcast STBs not TiVos I think this could be a substantial factor as there is a significant difference between my current channel quality based on the Romeo vs X1 DVRs. Also cable nodes can vary greatly so I have no doubt that many people are getting lousy video from Comcast or other cable providers, but in my experience I am pretty satisfied with my service as of now. One other point. My comparison is based on my experience in my area with upgraded fiber on 720p MPEG 4 vs older tech 1080i MPEG 3. I would imagine that if someday Comcast would chose to provide me 1080i MPEG 4 through their upgraded plant it would look even better. I will not get into the 1080i vs 720p debate as there are legitimate technical arguments on both sides. Now, if we can only reach the day we get 1080p with HLG HDR, I think everyone will be happy...maybe no everyone...
     
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  17. chiguy50

    chiguy50 Active Member

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    That's what I understood you to be saying (with the additional caveats you mentioned).

    I just wanted to confirm your evaluation for the sake of redundancy's sake.:)

    And because there is some very dogmatic opinion to the contrary expressed on these threads from time to time.:rolleyes:
     
  18. jenix

    jenix New Member

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    Feb 28, 2002

    Thanks for your comments. I appreciate your interest. My biggest frustration is that I have yet to receive an answer to one of my basic questions, is the QAM tuner in the Bolt of comparable quality to that of the Romeo? That question, which came from my comparison to the X1 DVR, led to my discussion of the quality of the Comcast feed itself.
     
  19. HerronScott

    HerronScott Well-Known Member

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    As UCLABB asked above, what is failing in the Roamio Pro? If the HD, you can easily replace that.

    I seem to recall a thread here from some Bolt owners reporting poorer quality although I can't recall if it was QAM or OTA (and can't seem to find it) but I think you will have to compare for yourself if you can't fix your Roamio Pro. At least TiVo has a 30-day return policy if you aren't happy with it.

    Scott
     

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