Tivo Stream 4K Review

Tivo Stream 4K Review

Tivo Stream 4K: Search

The Google Assistant search function returned good results quickly for entertainment-related queries. The TiVo search result for Brad Pitt included all of the latest movies, including Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. I could click on any title and get info on where to watch it.

Google Assistant could be used to open other apps. I simply said “Hulu”, and the app loaded.

Search also works with more general questions, but the results aren’t as useful. I asked Google Assistant to show “tacos near me” and the results showed me several restaurants. However, I couldn’t select any to see further info.

Setup

Unboxing and setup proved relatively painless–not unexpected when you’ve installed as many TiVo DVRs as I have. Do not install CableCARD if you choose the Cable Version. Trust me. The coax cable should be connected to the Edge. Next, connect it via HDMI to your display. Finally, turn it on and follow the guided setup. Next, when it asks you if you have a CableCARD, just skip that step and the box will continue through the setup process. You will then need to wait a good 15-20 minutes for the unit to connect to the TiVo service and download any software updates.

TiVo offers one distinct benefit. It skips commercials. I could skip commercials with a push of a button on my recordings. This is a handy feature, but not enough to warrant the cost of TiVo hardware or service.

Tivo Stream 4K Review

Tivo Stream 4K: What I Love

It can be very easy to feel like the market for $50 streaming device is the same as the competition. Many of these devices, you will see in the Competition section below, have the exact same feature set. Although the TiVo Stream 4K is in this category, it’s actually not a problem. Once plugged into your TV, it delivers 4K, HDR, HDR10, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos.

Those are all of the core standards you can ask for in a modern streaming device, and it means all of your content will look and sound as good as it possibly can. The Stream 4K was just as great as the Chromecast with Google TV and the Android TV interface on my Hisense TV. I don’t have any complaints about this aspect.

The remote control on the TiVo 4K is also quite satisfactory. It’s a bit larger than the one that comes with the Chromecast. The Stream 4K’s remote is a lot more complicated than the one that comes with Chromecast. However, it has plenty of controls to play around with. Channel buttons can be used to quickly switch channels in apps like Sling TV. The Guide button will take you to live TV in TiVo Stream. You can also press Live to jump to the current broadcast of the show. The buttons work well and are responsive. I also appreciate the fact that TiVo could add so many functionality to the remote without it becoming too bulky.

The hardware is completed by an additional USB-C port and a micro-USB power supply for the Stream 4K. So, if you want to expand your storage, doing so is quite easy.

The basic functions of TiVo’s TiVo 4K stream seamlessly, as we have come to expect from any streaming device. Where things get really interesting is when we start digging into the Stream 4K’s software.

Android TV is the main interface, however you will spend most of your time using the Stream app.

The Stream 4K has performed well, with the device navigating seamlessly through various apps and starting new streams without any issues. I’ve noticed that it can sometimes feel slightly choppy with certain apps (namely Disney+), but it’s a very smooth and snappy experience more often than not.

While you can still open different streaming apps to watch content, the TiVo 4K offers a unique trick: the TiVo stream app. It comes pre-installed on the Stream 4K, and similar to the Google TV interface on the Chromecast, promises to curate all of your apps into one handy place.

TiVo stream opens and displays your homepage. It shows you a collection of popular shows, recent shows, as well as recommendations that are tailored to you. The initial set up of the Stream 4K asks you to indicate your preferred shows and types of things to watch so it has a general understanding of your viewing habits right out of the gate, but as with any service like this, it gets better the more you use it. You can add items to your My Shows library for easy viewing at any time, along with giving movies and TV shows a thumbs up or thumbs down to help train TiVo Stream’s recommendations.

None of this would matter if TiVo Stream only worked with a small handful of apps, but thankfully, a lot of the big names are here. The current list includes:

  • Sling TV
  • Netflix
  • HBO Max
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Hulu
  • Disney+
  • Starz
  • CBS All Access
  • Pluto TV
  • Tubi TV
  • Google Play Movies & TV

Source: Android Central

Source: Android Central

While there are some notable missing items, like Crackle, Showtime and Epix as well as any TV Everywhere apps that may be of interest to you, it is a solid foundation that will cover most users. You’ll indicate during set up which services you’d like to integrate with the Stream app, and at any time, you can add and remove them as needed.

Although the suggestions may not always be accurate, it is much easier to just open one app and look through all of my available streaming options than having multiple apps. You can even make things easier if your Sling TV subscription includes a Guide page in the TiVo Stream app that lists all current Sling TV channels, along with Pluto TV and a handful of TiVo+ channels. TiVo stream allows you to find what you want, no matter when it is airing.

TiVo Stream could be your home screen, not an app. It’s a great alternative to the Android TV interface. Thankfully, TiVo sort of lets you do this. Pressing the TiVo button on the remote exits whatever app you’re currently in and brings you back to TiVo Stream, and if you hold down on the regular Home button while in TiVo Stream (or any app), you can browse a list of all your installed applications. This is not a perfect solution, but it can be used if the Stream app should become your home screen.

Is there anything not so good?

Credit: Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

We can’t deny Google’s design is gorgeous when compared to the TiVo Stream 4K. Chromecast with Google TV is rounded and very clean. It’s definitely prettier than TiVo’s black box, but this honestly shouldn’t bother you. Once it’s set up, no one will be able to see it. It will remain behind your TV.

The remote is something that people are likely to use every day. While it’s more functional, the TiVo Stream 4K’s controller is also arguably uglier than Google’s. If you want something that’s simple, the TiVo Stream 4K may not be for you.

Although stock Android TV may not be as appealing as the updated Google TV UI it is still very easy to use. TiVo’s design is however a little odd.

Instead of giving us just the stock Android TV device, TiVo tacked on its own UI on the side. Think of the TiVo menu as a UI within a UI. After turning on the TiVo Stream 4,K, you’ll be presented with Android TV. However, the TiVo Stream can also be accessed. It shows all the same things like shows and movies, just presented in a different way.

While some of TiVo’s features are great, the dual UI interface can prove confusing.

The experience is redundant. However, we think it’s good that there are options. We can also see TiVo improving the experience. It can also be customized with additional categories. Regardless, you can’t help but feel like Google and TiVo are fighting for your attention within a single device.

Tivo Stream 4K Review

Pricier Than Other Options (And That Price Is Going Up Soon)

As of right now, the TiVo Stream 4K retails for $49.99, which is $10 more than a comparable Roku and $20 more than a comparable Fire Stick. Multiple sources told me that $49.99 was an initial price and that eventually it will go up to $69.99. I imagine they’ll keep the lower price through the holiday season (that would be the logical move, anyway).

4/8/21 UPDATE- We’ve been using the TiVo Stream for just over 6 months now, and I’m actually considering buying a second one for my son’s room. It actually cost less than it did! The current price is under $40. It’s not clear if this is a short-term sale, or an affordable price, but I will take it!

TiVo added new streaming services to their service since I wrote the review. Peacock can be added to my “selected services” menu. Although I enjoy the way it updates automatically, some may find it annoying. (I know friends who won’t allow ANYTHING to update automatically). ONCE (just once), it updated itself right in the middle of my mom watching a show. I’m going to say that’s a glitch rather than the norm, though.

While it’s holding up very well, Sling does glitch out more often lately. I’m not sure if that’s on Sling’s end of TiVo’s because it doesn’t happen with any other streaming service. Six months after purchase, it is still highly recommended. Like I said, I’m actually thinking of grabbing a second one.

Tivo Stream 4K Streaming Media Player Customer Review

Bolt is not as good as it sounds

I dont know why the Bolt was noisy, hot, and a strange curved design, but the Edge makes up for it. A very svelte design thats quiet and gets the job done. Although it is a bit expensive, I think you can shave $100 to make the product more appealing. No problems after a couple months of owning it. The Tivo software is great and the Tivo mini concept works well with satellite TV. However, there are no exciting apps. You Tivo…I think you guys need TV apps. But then, i suppose that wouldn’t be good for cable companies. Although I am a regular (Spectrum Cable TV) subscriber, Tivo is something that I will continue to use for the time being. However, sometimes it makes me wonder if my annual subscription was worth it.

Tivo Stream 4K Review

5K Initial Thoughts

These were my thoughts just before unboxing TiVo’s Stream 4K.

TiVoStream 4K was something I had been anticipating. This will challenge Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K. The popularity of this device comes down to its sub- $50 price and the ability to stream 4K content. The Fire TV Stick 4K also allows sideloading, so that cord-cutters have access to their favourite APKs. As this review is being written, the TiVo stream 4K retails for $49.99, which is roughly the same as the Fire TV Stick 4K. TiVo states that the price shown is an initial rate and will go up to $69.99 after. In my opinion, TiVo would make a mistake raising their price as that extra 20 bucks will make a difference and the Fire TV Stick 4K won’t lose its coveted status.

This unit has a USB C port that should be able to connect external devices like thumb drives, Ethernet adapters, keyboards and so on.

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When expanding storage is available, you can connect an external harddrive and make it internal storage. You can increase the amount of storage that is available to both apps and app data.

TiVo 4K, Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K have only 8GB storage. It fills up quickly. Installing a few additional games can help you max out your internal storage.

One other feature that I like seeing is the use of Android TV as the operating system on this new streaming device.

Everything In Its Right Place

But that’s not why you’d want to buy it; you get the TiVo Stream 4K for the TiVo Stream. This mode brings together movies and shows from various streaming providers into a single view. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, Sling, HBO Now, and a couple of others — all sharing one screen, at the same time. There’s no need to toggle between apps. Which means you no longer have to think about which service a show is on — that alone might be worth the investment. Roku and AppleTV have tried to resolve this problem, but TiVo has it better.

One of TiVo’s strengths has always been its recommendations. When you first launch the TiVo Stream 4K, it shows you a series of two shows or movies–pick this or that, depending on what you like more. You can also add shows to your library. If you want really good recommendations, find other shows and give them a thumbs up or down. After you’ve finished telling it what you like, the TiVo Stream will show you things to watch. Netflix is a good option, but TiVo offers more specific picks and blends recommendations from multiple services. It just works.

There are so many great movies and shows out there that I don’t have the time to keep up. It is easy to forget what I want to see. Netflix and Amazon aren’t interested in promoting shows that were released a year ago. They want me to see what is new. TiVo does not have this agenda so it will show older shows–which I do remember. Ah, that Depeche Mode documentary! Right, I never finished Halt and Catch Fire. Wait, there’s a documentary about a baseball pitcher who pitched a no-hitter on acid? The TiVo Stream will interest you if you feel you have seen everything you would like to see.

Tivo Stream 4K Review

Audio

With support for 4K video and Dolby Vision HDR, the audio and video output options are truly cutting-edge. The Edge has built in Wi-Fi but given the high bandwidth requirements for streaming 4K content, either a hardwired Ethernet or MoCA connection to your home network is recommended.

With TiVo, you can access certain video apps such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and HBO Go without a separate streaming player, and some of them even integrate with TiVo’s DVR menus, so for any given program, you can view recordings and on-demand episodes in one list. Still, the list of apps that TiVo supports is small, and the omissions are piling up. To watch Disney+, Apple TV+, Pluto TV, Crackle, PBS, Tubi, Sling TV, Philo, Spotify, YouTube TV, or Hulu’s live TV service, you’ll need a separate streaming player.

Android Tv And Tivo Stream

The Stream 4K can run thousands upon thousands of apps or streaming services, including the most popular ones like Amazon, Google Play. Hulu. Netflix. Sling TV. YouTube. Twitch remains missing. It also supports Google Cast, so you can stream content from your phone, tablet, or a Google Chrome tab on your computer to your TV.

Our Chromecast with Google TV Review Amazon Fire TV stick 4K Check Our Amazon Fire TV stick 4K Review

Roku Premiere+ (2018). Read Our Roku Premiere+ (2018). Review Amazon Fire TV Cube (2019). Read Our Amazon Fire TV cube (2019). Review Apple TV4K. Read Our Roku Ultra Review (2019). Read Our Roku Ultra Review (2019). Review Android TV Features Google Assistant. You can reach it by holding down the Google Assistant button on your remote, and then speaking into the microphone. Google Assistant can search for content and open applications. It can also provide information such as weather, sports scores and how smart home devices are controlled. It can search content, open apps and provide general information like weather scores.

TiVo Stream runs over Android TV. The remote can be used to access TiVo Stream. To do so, simply press the TiVo button. TiVo stream, which is the user interface, allows you access your content via a simpler menu than Android TV.

You can access it via the left-sidebar. The Home tab aggregates recommendations from multiple TV services, as well as live TV. My Shows is a single-stop listing of all shows that you have viewed. It works in the same way as the OnePass feature for TiVo DVRs. You can access recordings from your Sling DVR and stream episodes. Guide can be used to find local television channels and other services on Sling Locast. TV Shows, Movies, Sports, and Kids are self-explanatory categorical suggestion pages. Finally, Apps lets you access any installed app on the device.

Although the interface is markedly better than the text-heavy TiVo menu system, it still feels cluttered in comparison to Fire TV and Roku devices or Google TV on Chromecast. Android TV works with the standard Android TV interface. It is possible to return by pressing the circular Home button.

Tivo Stream 4K Review

Tivo Stream 4K Review: Amped-Up Android Tv

The Stream 4K, which was unveiled at CES 2020, surprised us. The company that built its reputation (and arguably an industry) around the invention of the DVR showed off a gadget that couldn’t record TV shows to a hard drive and couldn’t even be connected to traditional TV sources like cable, satellite, or free antenna-based broadcasts.

TiVo’s past price history has been rewritten with Stream 4K. TiVo’s most cost-effective product is the Stream 4K. It is $50 off and comes with no extra charges. Did the company have to sell its soul?

Let’s have a look.

What is the TiVo 4K’s working principle?

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Stream 4K is not TiVo’s DVR device. To access both DVR recordings as well as live TV, the Stream 4K cannot be combined with any other TiVo product. (In case you thought it would serve as an affordable version of the TiVo mini ). But here’s one thing the TiVo faithful won’t miss: The fee for the TiVo service (because this isn’t a TiVo DVR).

Instead it is a streaming media dongle that costs $50 and runs on the Android TV OS. The Stream 4K could be considered an Android television device, although TiVo added a few tweaks.

Although software updates have helped, there are still issues.

As we mentioned above, the main issue, which occurred with multiple TiVo Stream review samples, is stopping midstream and returning to the menu. It also occurred with the LG, however it appears to be resolved by a software upgrade. It still happens with the LG.

A few other minor problems were also encountered. During setup on the remote pairing stage, the device would attempt to connect after pressing the requested buttons and then time out and return to the pairing page. We were able to get them working with perseverance and quick reactions by pressing the Next button. We also experienced sound dropouts with the Sony TV and an Onkyo receiver, although a software update seems to have fixed that issue, too.

Tivo Stream 4K Review

Tivo’S Remote Is Much Better

The TiVo remote was much more enjoyable than basic Roku options after I had used it for a couple of hours.

Here’s a side-by-side look at the TiVo remote (left) in comparison to the remote that comes with both the Roku Express and Roku Premiere (right).

The TiVo remote now has Google Assistant. This means you can control many functions of the device by simply pressing the button and speaking your command into the remote. Roku offers voice-activated remotes. However, you will need to upgrade to the Roku Streaming Stick+ and Roku Ultra in order to obtain one.

You’ll notice that the buttons are larger, which means there is more choice. The TiVo remote has volume and change controls, a power button, guide button and numerals. Roku has always taken a minimalist approach to its lower-end remotes. That makes them easy to use but somewhat lacking compared to TiVo’s offering.

Opinion

After testing the TiVo stream 4K, it’s possible to confirm that this TV-Stick is one of the best on the market. The Amlogic S905Y2 SoC has a very strong performance rating compared with its competitors, the Fire TV-Stick 4K and Google Chromecast TV. It also far outperforms the Xiaomi Mi TV Stick in terms of power. The included Bluetooth + IR remote control also offers us control of TV functions, without complications and we can also use it with Google Assistant.

The TiVo stream 4K has a good connectivity. It includes a Wifi adapter that provides good speeds. We can also attach a USB 3.0 hub with Ethernet to ensure stability. The system does not heat up when playing video or in regular use. Android TV 9 has very good stability and has minimal TiVo customization.

We have all the certificates for streaming apps allowing us to play these channels in 4K HDR quality. You can use IPTV players or PLEX to view local content. However, these apps do not have quality control or image/automatic refresh rate changes and are not compatible with the TV-Stick.

The new TiVo 4K TV-Stick is fast and reliable. It also has all necessary certificates. This makes it a great option for those who are in search of a streaming device that’s affordable and easy to use.

Tivo Stream 4K Review

What’S Good?

It is very easy to set up. You can follow the steps on screen. This screen will show you how to connect your remote with your Google account. It also shows you how to set preferences for viewing enhanced suggestions. If you’d rather use your smartphone for setting up, it is also possible.

TiVo Stream 4K provides all the functionality of Android TV and some TiVo inspired additions.

TiVo and Android TV are easy to learn, so you will feel right at home using the TiVo stream 4K. TiVo Stream 4K’s UI is simple. It focuses on content more than it does applications. You will find app information in the column on the left of your home page. The rest of the space is occupied by content previews. You can adjust the settings or control your content from the top. This minimalistic layout is great and allows you to focus on your content. TiVo added some unique features to make it more complicated. (more information in the next section).

It takes work to integrate slinging

Sling will only load properly if you use the Google assistant voice function to say “open Sling”. For some reason, that opens the app the right way, without essentially locking you out of half of the controls and features. Since the TiVo Stream is relatively new, I expect that their Sling integration will improve with subsequent updates. It’s something I hope, at least!

Tivo Stream 4K Review

It’s not always helpful to search

We like Google Assistance’s integration, but we must confirm that search suggestions can sometimes be confusing.

It is not a fault of the app – but it is the voice feature of Google. To get the most out of Google Assistance, however, it is important that the manufacturer keeps the app updated.

Streaming Services

We performed several tests on streaming services to check how the most popular services work. The TiVo Stream 4K offers maximum compatibility with all the most popular streaming services. You can view 4K HDR content on Netflix, Prime Video and Disney+, as well as in the highest quality of other streaming services like HBO.

Tivo Stream 4K Review

Pros

  • Remote locater is very useful.
  • High-quality DVR viewing and recording options
  • The antenna version has a backlit remote
  • Much quieter than earlier TiVos
  • Record shows.

Cons

  • Subscription required
  • Recordings are getting pre-roll video ads
  • Unappealing, text-heavy menu system.
  • You will still need expensive accessories to install a whole-home DVR.
  • App support falls further behind streaming services

Tivo Stream 4K Review

Sling Tv Integration

Your Sling subscription includes the TiVo 4K home screen. You can bring up the Sling guide, go to your DVR (most of the time), and even set up recordings all within the little sidebar on your home screen. You can also “flip” channels with your remote just like you do with regular cable.

This is a great feature. However, there are some things that can be done to make it “seamless.” But we’ll get into those in the pros. Let’s stick with the pros for now.

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Tivo Stream 4K Review

Missing-Keys

TiVo removed many of the keys from its remote in order to make it smaller and more user-friendly. Unfortunately, they removed some useful keys to playing, pausing, rewinding, and forwarding. We also find it difficult to locate the home and other keys.

What Apps Are On The Tivo 4K Stream?

TiVo 4K runs on Android, and all of the apps can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.

Tivo Stream 4K Review

Tivo Stream 4K: Streaming Services

HBO Max used to be hard to find on other platforms, but it’s since landed everywhere — including Roku and Fire TV. Peacock eventually found itself on Roku, but is still missing from Fire TV.

Tivo Stream 4K Review

tivo stream 4k review

Software Updates Have Helped, But Issues Remain

TCL 65Q825 Samsung PN59D8000 Samsung XBR 55X950G Samsung PN59D8000. This is because the TiVo Stream 4K stopped working midstream. It happened with both the LG and the Sony. However, it appears to be resolved by a software upgrade. It happens still with LG.

We had some minor issues as well. When the remote pairing stage was being set up, the device attempted to connect once it had pressed the appropriate buttons. Then the screen would time out and take you back to the pairing page. They worked with persistence and quick reflexes as we pressed the Next button. A Sony TV as well As an Onkyo receiver experienced sound dropouts. However, a software fix seems to have solved that issue.

The Stream also worked in our testing. The navigation of various screens was quick and there wasn’t any lag in opening apps. The handover from TiVo Stream to Sling TV, a potential choke point, was seamless. Also, we were able to access the TiVo Stream 4K Chromecast ability to stream video directly from a desktop browser or from a phone using Spotify. The Stream 4K is a great addition to the Android TV ecosystem.

Initial hopes were that the Nvidia Shield would be replaced by this device to stream PC gaming to the TV through the Steam Link app. But it failed to work. It couldn’t stream at enough bandwidth to keep the interface stable or play any games. Additionally, it doesn’t support the recommended Ethernet port. TiVo representatives say the USB-C port can be used to connect an Ethernet adapter, and this may help if you live in a noisy Wi-Fi environment. We enjoyed a lot of Crossy Road, Fast like a Fox, and normal Android TV gaming.

tivo stream 4k review

Android Tv And Tivo Stream

The Stream 4K can run thousands upon thousands of apps or streaming services, including the most popular ones like Amazon, Google Play. Hulu. Netflix. Sling TV. YouTube. Twitch is still missing. It also supports Google Cast, so you can stream content from your phone, tablet, or a Google Chrome tab on your computer to your TV.

Our Chromecast with Google TV Review Amazon Fire TV stick 4K Check Our Amazon Fire TV stick 4K Review

Roku Premiere+ (2018) Read Our Roku Premiere+ (2018) Review Amazon Fire TV Cube (2019) Read Our Amazon Fire TV Cube (2019) Review Apple TV 4K Read Our Apple TV 4K Review Roku Ultra (2019) Read Our Roku Ultra (2019) Review Android TV features Google Assistant, which you can access by pressing and holding the Google Assistant button on the remote and speaking into the microphone. Google Assistant is able to search content and open apps. It can also provide information such as weather, sports scores and how smart home devices are controlled. It can search content, open apps and provide general information like weather scores.

TiVo Stream runs over Android TV. To access the app, press the TiVo button at the remote. TiVo stream is the user interface and allows you to access all your content through an easier menu than Android TV.

It is divided into different menus that can be accessed via a left-side bar. The Home tab aggregates recommendations from multiple TV services, as well as live TV. My Shows is a single-stop listing of all shows that you have viewed. It works in the same way as the OnePass feature for TiVo DVRs. This allows you to access your Sling DVR recordings and streaming episodes. Guide can be used to find local television channels and other services on Sling Locast. TV Shows, Movies, Sports, and Kids are self-explanatory categorical suggestion pages. Finally, Apps lets you access any installed app on the device.

Although the interface is markedly better than the text-heavy TiVo menu system, it still feels cluttered in comparison to Fire TV and Roku devices or Google TV on Chromecast. Android TV works with the standard Android TV interface. You can return to it by using the circular Home button.

tivo stream 4k review

What’S Good?

The setup is quite straightforward. You can follow the steps on screen. The screen will guide you through connecting your remote to your Google account and setting your preferences regarding viewing for enhanced suggestions. You have the option of using your phone for setup too, if you prefer that over the remote.

TiVo Stream 4K provides all the functionality of Android TV and some TiVo inspired additions.

TiVo and Android TV are easy to learn, so you will feel right at home using the TiVo stream 4K. The UI of the TiVo Stream 4K is very simple. It focuses on content more than it does applications. You will find app information in the column on the left of your home page. Content previews fill the rest. There are a few settings and control options up top too. This minimalistic layout is great and allows you to focus on your content. But TiVo did something a little more complex by adding some of its unique touches. (more information in the next section).

tivo stream 4k review

2. Tivo Can Aggregate All Your Streaming Content

You may not like the Roku’s tile-by-tile browsing style. TiVo can be a great way to search content.

To search for your content on the Roku Express and Premiere you need to move from one tile of an app to the next. TiVo streamlines that process by letting you aggregate both your on-demand and live TV viewing across all available streaming subscriptions through what it calls a “unified guide experience.” For example, you could search for The Sopranos within the TiVo menu, and it would show which of your streaming services offer the show. For quick and easy access, click on the desired app (as shown in the below image) to view it. You can even add it as a “My Shows”, for later use.

This aggregation works with live streaming through an integration to Sling TV. TiVo will give you a seven day trial free of charge with every package of its Stream4K product. The remote can be used to display a complete list of streaming live streams.

At the time of this review, the following streaming services were available within the TiVo app guide without opening a separate application:

Sling TV

Netflix

HBO Now

tivo stream 4k review

Tivo Stream 4K Review: Amped-Up Android Tv

The Stream 4K, which was unveiled at CES 2020, surprised us. The company that built its reputation (and arguably an industry) around the invention of the DVR showed off a gadget that couldn’t record TV shows to a hard drive and couldn’t even be connected to traditional TV sources like cable, satellite, or free antenna-based broadcasts.

TiVo’s past price history has been rewritten with Stream 4K. The Stream 4K, which is available at a discounted price of $50 with no additional charges, is TiVo’s most affordable product. Did the company have to sell its soul?

Let’s take one look.

How does the TiVo Stream 4K work?

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Despite the TiVo branding, the Stream 4K has virtually nothing in common with DVR devices like the TiVo Bolt OTA TiVo Edge . The Stream 4K can’t be used with other TiVo products in the same house to access DVR recordings and conventional live TV. (In case you thought it would serve as an affordable version of the TiVo mini ). But here’s one thing the TiVo faithful won’t miss: The fee for the TiVo service (because this isn’t a TiVo DVR).

Instead it is a streaming media dongle that costs $50 and runs on the Android TV OS. The Stream 4K could be considered an Android television device, although TiVo added a few tweaks.

tivo stream 4k review

Please Share all Sharing Options: Tivo’S first Android TV Dongle also appears to be its last

Last May, TiVo attempted to muscle in on Roku and Amazon with an HDMI streaming dongle of its own the $70 TiVo Stream 4K, which traded in the company’s traditional live TV + DVR functionality for the likes of Sling TV, Netflix, HBO and YouTube. The company now plans to discontinue its Android TV dongle endeavors because of the failure in this attempt.

Jon Kirchner, CEO of Xperi Holdings, stated in an earnings call Zatz Not funny ) that the company no longer believes it can compete with Android TV. The company likes to believe that its unique feature is a content search that surfaced across multiple apps and allows you to find shows. But now that Google has already added a layer called “Google TV” on top of Android TV, and it sells for $50, TiVo does not see much hope there.

As Seeking Alpha Sure has translated Kirchner’s words, the original approach to the combination was to use a three-phase plan. We started with the Stream 4K product which attaches directly to TVs. Then we moved into embedded applications, which will be the preferred interface option on a broader platform. However, it originally revolved around the idea that the application would reside on top of Android TV.

The third step is to go deeper into embedded solutions, embed OS, which we are a larger provider and where we really serve as the primary interface for broader content searches, discovery, and engagement. Google’s announcement last fall about their plans to get beyond the core OS platform and into UX has changed things.

Kirchner says he would rather embed TiVo smarts directly into TVs. This strategy has worked well for Roku and Amazon, which have been competing with Fire TV Edition sets over the past few years.

But here’s the problem: While the Stream 4K was highly reviewed, many reviewers didn’t like its user interface. Some of its most glowing reviews called it cluttered confusing compared to the competition, and most concluded that it was just fine compared to slicker offerings from Roku and Amazon at or under that price. TiVo dropped to $50 the price of the Stream 4K at launch and then reduced it to $39 after Google’s $50 Chromecast arrived in December.

tivo stream 4k review

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TiVo Stream 4K Review – A budget-friendly HDMI dongle that packs a limited, but promising App TiVo’s Stream 4K is a new approach. The Stream 4K replaces DVRs supported by paid plans. This streaming device, which is budget-friendly, can compete with Roku and Amazon Fire TV. Its unique selling point, however, is the integrated approach to content. This allows viewers from multiple platforms and services to access one central location. However, how does this company do? Does the hardware have the power to provide the content it wants? For the last several days, I used the Stream 4K to test it.

Hardware and Setup If thinking of the TiVo brand calls to mind large, hard-drive equipped DVRs that need a decent amount of entertainment center real estate, the Stream 4K might surprise you. TiVo offers a smaller, more discreet HDMI dongle. Instead of giant cable boxes, think of Chromecasts and Fire TV Sticks . However, the Stream 4K’s size is a bit more than that of some direct competitors. It measures approximately 3x2x0.6inches (77x53x16mm), which is less than two boxes of matchboxes.

Flexible and long, the HDMI attachment allows the Stream to pass through any cables plugged into the inputs of my TV. It may be noticeable that the Stream 4K sticks out a little depending on which HDMI inputs you use. But, that’s not something double-sided tape cannot fix if it gets too distracting.

There’s also a permanently attached HDMI connector, as well as a micro-USB port to provide power and a pairing button. TiVo says you should use the provided power supply instead of plugging the power cord into a USB port. The USB-C port isn’t mentioned prominently in the Stream 4K or its support documentation. However, you can attach extra storage to the device or use the Ethernet cable if the adapters are available. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the connections around to test those capabilities, but TiVo representatives did confirm that the USB-C port can be used to expand the Stream’s capabilities in the future.

The Stream comes with 8GB of storage, so having an external option might be a good idea. This compares well to competitors such as the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K (8GB), however, it could prove a little restrictive depending on how large you wish to load.

The remote itself evokes the familiar “peanut” shape TiVo’s known for. It is still easy to grip even though it has been reduced in size. It is a bit slippery, however, and could benefit from a grippier texture overall. It was difficult to get used to the button layout before I felt comfortable using my remote for navigation. Especially at first, I kept pressing the TiVo logo button instead of the confirmation button located just below within the directional arrows.

tivo stream 4k review

Wrapping it up

Your services must be in sync with the current Stream app support. You will receive the most value. If these two categories don’t exactly overlap, it’s possible to find yourself navigating between the Stream app and your content to view all of it. It can be frustrating which could make the app lose its main attraction. But even if you ignore the Stream app entirely, you’re still left with a budget-friendly and capable Android TV streamer especially at its $49.99 intro price.

Of course, that value proposition weakens if and when TiVo bumps the price up to the regular $69.99, so you’ll need to weigh the attractiveness of the Stream’s signature app over competing Android TV options like the Xiaomi Mi Box S (around $50).

The Stream app works as expected and integrates with supported services. It also has an intuitive user interface. TiVo might expand their support, or even make it a separate app that can be used on different devices. We’ve not heard of any plans to do that as of yet, but we’ll let you know if plans change.

Overall, if you’re looking for an affordable Android TV device, the Stream 4K delivers. The Stream 4K is a great option, but we suggest you grab one before the price increases. Roku and Amazon are more popular than newer competitors.

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tivo stream 4k review

Tivo Stream 4.5K Initial Thoughts

These were my thoughts just before unboxing TiVo’s Stream 4K.

TiVoStream 4K was something I had been anticipating. This will challenge Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K. Most of that popularity comes from the sub $50 price tag and ability to stream 4K content. Plus, the Fire TV Stick 4K allows for sideloading so cord-cutters can install their favorite free APKs As of this review, the TiVo Stream 4K is selling for $49.99 which is the same price as the Fire TV Stick 4K. TiVo claims that this price is an introductory rate, and will increase to $69.99 thereafter. In my opinion, TiVo would make a mistake raising their price as that extra 20 bucks will make a difference and the Fire TV Stick 4K won’t lose its coveted status.

I like the fact that this unit includes a USB C port which should allow for connecting external devices such as thumb drives, Ethernet adapter, keyboards, etc.

My biggest complaint about the Fire TV Stick 4K Fire TV Stick 4K Fire TV Stick 4K Fire TV Stick 4K Fire TV Stick 4K Fire TV Stick 4K Fire TV Stick 4K Fire TV Stick 4K Fire TV Stick 4K Fire TV Stick 4K Fire TV Stick 4K Fire TV Stick 4K Fire TV Stick 4K Fire TV Stick 4K Fire TV Stick 4K Fire TV Stick 4K Fire TV Stick 4K Fire TV Stick 4K Fire TV Stick 4K Fire TV Stick 4K Fire TV Stick 4K Fire TV Stick 4K expandable You can increase the storage space on Fire TV Stick 4K using hacks, but this process is not perfect.

When expanding storage is available, you can connect an external harddrive and make it internal storage. This increases the storage available for applications as well as app data.

TiVo 4K and Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K come with only 8GB of storage. It fills up quickly. Installing a few additional games can help you max out your internal storage.

One other feature that I like seeing is the use of Android TV as the operating system on this new streaming device.

Is Tivo Stream 4K Worth It?

TiVo Stream4K Review: The TiVo Stream4K 4K streaming TV is a fantastic, extremely affordable device. Android TV platform is smooth, the Live TV Integration app works for Sling subscribers, and the Google Assistant enabled remote is very well designed. February 3, 2021

Are there monthly fees for Tivo Stream 4K

There are no additional monthly fees for either the Stream 4K phone or the app. You can stream apps from Google Play. Some may require you to pay a fee through an app provider.

Is Tivo Better Than Roku?

Roku offers better Internet service support than Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon. TiVo cannot support Amazon Prime Video on Demand, even though it can support Amazon video on demand. TiVo is the best digital video recorder for recording things. Roku has the greatest streaming media platform.

Does Tivo Stream 4K Have Local Channels?

Tivo streaming does not have an on-air tuner. Locals can be viewed via a pay service such as Youtube TV, Hulu Live. Locast, which is donation-based, provides locals to major cities. It sounds like they would need a Tivo DVR, digital tuner, or a Tivo monitor. But they actually have Vizio monitors. Jun 3, 2021

.Tivo Stream 4K Review

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