Category Archives: Hardware Review

Tivo Bolt First Look

I finally got tired of using the local cable companies clunky DVR box. A Scientific Atlanta/Cisco box with the bone stock GUI and firmware. It was miserable to use and made me not want to watch TV. After also realizing I was paying $16 a month for this “privilege” I decided to lower my monthly cost and buy a Tivo Bolt.

Tivo Bolt
The Tivo Bolt in its natural habitat.

I went with the 500 GB model as I don’t record a whole lot of TV. Plus if I do somehow need more storage, I can buy an external drive to upgrade it. I also bought a Tivo Mini extender for my bedroom so I can enjoy all of my cable and recorded shows from my bed if I like.

The Good

  • The UI is incredible. Coming from the stock cable box UI which looked like it was drawn in paint, the Tivo UI feels like it is in this century
  • So far i’m intrigued by the idea that it will record shows it thinks I will like.
  • It is nice that it has apps for Netflix, Amazon, etc.
  • I like that I can get essentially all of the functionality in another room with the Mini box. Much cheaper than the cable companies solution.

The Bad

  • You need to have wired ethernet run to the box if you want to us MoCa for the Tivo Mini. I was unaware of this at the time and ended up running Powerline Ethernet throughout my place (I rent and cannot run Ethernet through the house).


  • I’ve heard some people think the new design is ugly. I actually kind of like it, it looks different when sitting in the dark wood cavity of my entertainment center.

I’m actually working on a longer more thorough review to be posted soon.

AnandTech Reviews the 6TB Western Digital RedPro HDD

AnandTech has a good writeup taking a look at the 6 TeraByte version of Western Digital RedPro Drives. These are the 7200 rpm versions of their Red NAS line designed to be in racks with up to 16 drives with firmware tuned for NAS applications.

I’ve been using some of the 3TB non-Pro versions in my Drobo 5N for some time now with good results. I don’t need the extra speed and heat that the Pro models have. I also only need drives tuned to work together in a box with 5 or less bays in it.

Check it out here: AnandTech – 6TB Western Digital RedPro HDD

Drobo 5N Quick Look

Drobo 5N with WD Red 3TB DrivesI’ve been thinking about getting a NAS device for a while now and Amazon had the Drobo 5N for $439.99, which is about $160 off of retail. I pulled the trigger with one left and received it on Saturday. I was going to use some existing drives I have laying around, but decided to purchase a the WD Red NAS 3TB drives. Here are a few quick thoughts:

Setup: This couldn’t have been easier, slide in the drives and turn on.

Construction: I’m quite pleased that it is a nice heavy metal exterior rather than cheap metal and plastic. The front bezel is attached magnetically and really snaps into place.

Performance: It is plenty quick, but I didn’t realize my router only has a 100 Mbps ethernet jack on it. Through Wi-Fi from my iMac, I can easily push 95.5 Mbps to it.

Oddities: I’ve noticed that after I create a share and mount it for the first time I cannot do anything with it. If I unmount and mount it again, it works without a problem.