TiVo (TIVO) may not seem as cool or necessary as it was to TV buffs a few years ago, but the company that revolutionized the way we consume television when it made the digital video recorder — or DVR, for short — popular has its heart set on a comeback with a different kind of revolution.
The company that got us all to start watching television on our terms introduced TiVo Bolt late last month. The new line is TiVo’s first to offer 4K Ultra HD resolution, something that will come as a welcome upgrade to folks shelling out top dollar for high-end TVs. However, the real allure of owning a TiVo Bolt could boil down to two new features that will help shave some serious time off the viewing experience.
Your time is valuable. TiVo is hoping to cash in on that realization.
Somewhere in Time
The two most notable features of TiVo Bolt are SkipMode and QuickMode. If used properly, the two new enhancements can make your time watching television more productive.
SkipMode lets you fly through a block of commercials in a single click of your TiVo remote. The ability to breeze through mind-numbing ads isn’t new. Many DVRs — including earlier TiVo models — allow owners to skip ahead 30 seconds or more, but this technology skips the entire block of ads. It’s a feature that turned heads when Dish Network (DISH) rolled out AutoHop a couple of years ago, and now it finally makes it to TiVo. It only works for fewer than two dozen networks at the moment, but that should increase over time.
It’s a controversial feature. Traditional free broadcasters rely on those commercials to pay the bills. If folks aren’t watching the ads, sponsors won’t be willing to pay as much to run them. However, just like with pop-up ad blockers online, the free markets will find a way to adapt and make things work.
The other neat time-saving TiVo Bolt feature is QuickMode. It speeds up a recorded show by 30 percent without distorting the audio quality. Purists will argue that this disrupts the directorial flow of a show. Isn’t a show supposed to be enjoyed at its intended speed? That may be true, but if you don’t mind binge-viewing at a stepped-up pace, just think of the volume of programming that you can consume if the shows can be finished that much sooner.
Hot Tub Time Machine
What would you do if you could fly through commercials and go through shows or movies 30 percent faster by speeding things up? Would you watch even more TV shows? Would you use that time to tackle other projects?
That’s entirely up to you. TiVo is simply laying out the tools to make it possible, and along the way trying to become the indispensable living room gadget that it was a few years ago. With a growing number of streaming services making conventional pay-TV relationships less necessary, TiVo needs to stand out to get noticed. It’s doing that now, and it’s about — quite literally — time.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. Check out our free report on one great stock to buy for 2015 and beyond.