TiVo leaps into the voice command frenzy with the new Bolt Vox


Image credit: TiVo

TiVo doesn't command headlines quite like it used to, but today it showed us that it still has a few tricks left up its sleeves with the announcement of the new TiVo Bolt Vox and Mini Vox. They're basically the same DVRs as the TiVo Bolt and TiVo Mini we've known for a couple of years now, but they come with spiffy new voice controls built into the remotes.

The Vox has enough of its own personality to distinguish it from the likes of Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri as the focus here, understandably, is on helping you find the kind of content you want to watch, and the Vox is surprisingly specific. Even better, it's arguably smarter than its competitors as it lets you refine some requests.

Let's say you wanted to watch a couple of Arnold Schwarzenegger flicks. You could easily just ask the Vox to, "Show me movies with Arnold Schwarzenegger," but you could also follow up with more specific queries such as, "Only the comedies." 

I haven't tried it myself, but apparently it's so specific that you can even say something like, "Show me the movies where he says 'I'll be back,'" and you'll see Arnie's Terminator films pop up on the screen. (Hopefully, you won't have to say it in an Austrian accent.)

The catch is that only around 100 quotes are currently supported, but as Mashable reports, TiVo may enlist crowdsourcers to add more.

Voice your preferences

Beyond that, you can ask the Vox to do simple tasks like "Open HBO Now" or "Open Netflix." The remote has been been redesigned to accommodate a big, blue voice button for accessing these features, and you'll also find a dedicated "Netflix" button toward the bottom.

Along with the voice command support, TiVo now sports a redesigned user interface featuring a "smart carousel" that studies your viewing history and makes recommendations based on which time of day you're watching. This means you might find news programs listed on the carousel in the morning and Netflix stand-up comedy specials at night.

Aside from the obvious benefits for personalized viewing, this service could make the TiVo more user-friendly when it's shared by multiple users. In a family household, for instance, the stuff the kids like to watch might pop up in the later afternoon, while the programs the parents like to watch might pop up later in the evening.

If you're happy with your current TiVo Bolt – and again, the Vox isn't really that much different internally – you'll be happy to learn that you can simply buy a $40 remote that makes the older device function like the Vox. It comes in both black and white, the better to match your older system.

When the TiVo Bolt Vox proper launches on October 29 at BestBuy, on Amazon and on TiVo's website, you'll be able to pick it up in either a 500GB ($200), 1TB ($300) or 3TB ($500) model. The TiVo Bolt Mini will sell for $180, and is currently listed on Best Buy

Keep in mind, though, that you'll also need to pay for a one-year contract priced at $15 a month to even use the thing.

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