TiVo Stream 4K review: Affordable Android streamer with HBO Max, Peacock

Nancy J. Delong

Roku and Amazon Fire Tv make the best affordable streaming units, but both of those still absence support for two of the most significant new products and services, HBO Max and Peacock. We have no strategy when those people applications will seem, but if you very own a Roku or […]

Roku and Amazon Fire Tv make the best affordable streaming units, but both of those still absence support for two of the most significant new products and services, HBO Max and Peacock. We have no strategy when those people applications will seem, but if you very own a Roku or Fire Tv, maybe you’re sick of ready. Enter the TiVo Stream 4K. This streamer expenditures $50 — more affordable than other solutions with Max and Peacock, like the Apple Tv or a brand-new good Tv — and of class it streams countless numbers of other applications, far too, from Netflix to YouTube to Sling Tv

Like

  • Affordable for 4K HDR streaming
  • Has applications for HBO Max and Peacock
  • Google Assistant works very well for voice lookup
  • Good distant
  • Stream app aggregates various products and services

Really don’t Like

  • Failed to do the job with a person Tv we tested
  • Not suitable with existing TiVo units
  • A lot more complicated menus than Roku

TiVo manufactured its identify with DVRs to document cable and antenna Tv broadcasts, but the Stream 4K is not a DVR at all. It really is a media streamer that competes right from two of our most loved such units, the Roku Streaming Stick As well as and the Amazon Fire Tv Stick 4K. It runs the Android TV system with extras like Google Assistant voice handle, 4K resolution, Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision compatibility. 

Here is the undesirable news: the TiVo Stream 4K only unsuccessful to do the job with a person Tv, an LG CX OLED. Video on applications, which include Netflix and Disney As well as, would halt actively playing and boot again into the most important menu, rendering the Stream mainly unusable. TiVo promised a take care of again in June but has because told CNET that the update has “unfortunately been delayed and we will share much more depth on it as quickly as we can.” 

The Stream labored good on a few other TVs we utilized for screening, from Sony, Samsung and TCL, so that situation is not a deal breaker for this review. It really is unachievable for us to examination the Stream with each individual Tv, on the other hand, so we are not able to assurance it will do the job good with yours. In limited, it is really worrisome more than enough to prevent our complete recommendation.

You can find also the fact that the Stream 4K will never do the job with existing TiVo hardware (nevertheless), so it are not able to engage in again your cable or antenna DVR recordings or permit you stream them to your phone. It really is also worth mentioning the rumors about Google’s very own $50 Android Tv streamer, which will most likely be declared Sept. 30 as the hottest Chromecast.

While the enterprise in the beginning declared there would be a selling price raise to $70, TiVo has informed us the selling price is remaining at $50 which retains the device fairly aggressive. If you want access to HBO Max and Peacock now, or you just like its features and Google goodness, it is really a stable deal — provided it works with your Tv. Otherwise you could hold out right up until Google reveals its hand or acquire a person of the exceptional Roku or Fire Tv streamers instead.

Get to know TiVo Stream 4K

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The TiVo Stream 4K, a credit rating card-sizing widget with an built-in HDMI connector, is built to dangle out of sight guiding your Tv. Unlike most adapters of its form, it is really obtained a tiny bit of individuality — a large TiVo symbol on the front and a exclusive wedge form like a miniature Edge DVR

The Stream 4K’s most recognizable element is the legendary peanut distant. It really is about two-thirds the sizing of TiVo’s conventional DVR distant and has a few further features. Hold the Google button down, hold out a conquer and then talk to access voice lookup through Google Assistant. The common silver TiVo button provides you access to the Stream app, while the circular essential to the remaining of the Assistant button takes you to the Android Tv house page. You can find no thumbs up or down buttons, which is a shame, but normally there’s a ton much more keys than on a typical Roku or Amazon distant. It will also handle the power, volume and input on your Tv but because it depends on HDMI CEC instead of infrared like Roku and Amazon, it needs a more recent Tv to use those people features.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The TiVo Stream 4K dongle is not especially effective in conditions of specs: there’s an Amlogic S905Y2 processor, 2GB of RAM and 8GB of storage room. In comparison the much more high priced Nvidia Protect offers the exact RAM and storage, but comes with the Nvidia Tegra X1 As well as processor, as very well as microSD enlargement (Android Personal computer Tv did a comparison in between the two processors.) In observe we uncovered the TiVo a great deal zippy for 1080p but it failed to have the horsepower for some sophisticated capabilities like the Steam Hyperlink app.

The most important lacking element suitable now is the device’s absence of integration with existing TiVo units. It may share a identify with the more mature Stream products but it are not able to share recordings or normally interface with the countless numbers of TiVos already in the wild. A TiVo spokesperson did notify CNET way again in January that TiVo integration was on the highway map for the Stream 4K’s potential, but the enterprise has been unable to give us an update on timing because.

TiVo’s unique sauce: The Stream app

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The TiVo Stream interface.


Sarah Tew/CNET

The TiVo Stream 4K has an exclusive app, named Stream, which TiVo built to be the centerpiece of this device. It integrates Tv demonstrates and motion pictures from applications, which include Sling Tv (see beneath), Netflix, HBO Now, Amazon Key Video, Hulu, Disney As well as and Google Perform Movies and also implies new articles TiVo thinks you could like. It life on best of the conventional Android Tv interface and for that purpose can be type of confusing: The device proficiently has two house webpages.

Several of the buttons on the distant feed you right into Stream. The app’s most important menu is off to the facet, comparable to Neflix, with classes which include My Demonstrates, Guidebook, Tv Demonstrates, Movies, Athletics and Little ones. You can find also a Lookup tab but the Google Assistant lookup is faster and much more easy than Stream’s version. We also liked that Google’s lookup was obtainable where ever you are on the device, not just from inside of the Stream app. 

tivo-guide

The TiVo Stream information.


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The Stream 4K comes with a absolutely free 7 days of Sling Tv, and TiVo phone calls the support its most popular partner. What that suggests is that Sling buyers will see the Sling Tv information in the Stream interface, which also permits you to established recordings to Sling’s cloud DVR. The Guidebook button on the distant phone calls up the grid, a distinct nod to comparable operation on DVRs and cable boxes. Google Assistant was in a position to lookup for both of those Sling Tv channels and now actively playing demonstrates but wasn’t in a position to access recordings from Sling’s cloud DVR.

Of class, a Sling Tv membership is solely optional on the device and quite a few live Tv streaming products and services will do the job good — they just will never be built-in into the Stream app. If you will not subscribe to Sling, the remote’s Guidebook button will still summon Tivo As well as, a proprietary network of that offers absolutely free articles from TMZ, Exterior Tv, PowerNation, FailArmy, Hell’s Kitchen area, Cheddar and, thanks to a new partnership, Pluto Tv. (Disclosure: CNET and PlutoTV are both of those owned by ViacomCBS.)

tivo-stream-2

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Exterior the Stream app you may see the conventional Android Tv interface, which behaves like any device of this form with rows of articles highlights mingled with recently utilized applications and favorites. Most applications are supported, with the notable exception of AT&T’s live Tv products and services, such as AT&T Tv Now

Software program updates have assisted, but concerns continue to be

We tested the TiVo Stream 4K on a number of various TVs, which include the TCL 65Q825, the LG OLED65CXPUA, the Sony XBR-55X950G and the Samsung PN59D8000

As we pointed out higher than, the most important situation, which occurred with several TiVo Stream review samples, is stopping midstream and returning to the menu. In addition to the LG it also transpired on the Sony, but with the latter Tv it appears to have been solved soon after a application update. It still comes about with the LG.

We also professional a few of much more insignificant concerns. For the duration of set up on the distant pairing phase, the device would try to link soon after pressing the requested buttons and then time out and return to the pairing page. With perseverance and rapid reflexes poised on the Subsequent button, we did get them to do the job. We also professional sound dropouts with the Sony Tv and an Onkyo receiver, though a application update appears to have fixed that situation, far too.

Outside of that, the Stream labored very well in our screening. Navigation of the several screens was zippy and we failed to see any lag when opening any applications. The handover from TiVo Stream to Sling Tv, a possible choke position, was seamless. We were also in a position to use the TiVo Stream 4K’s Chromecast capability to stream video clip from a Personal computer browser and from a phone’s Spotify app. If you’re common with the Android Tv ecosystem, you may sense suitable at house with the Stream 4K, and the Stream app on best is a usable and fun addition. 

Originally we had hoped that this device could swap the Nvidia Protect as a way to stream PC games to the Tv through the Steam Hyperlink app, but it failed to do the job. It wasn’t attainable to stream with more than enough bandwidth to even make the interface secure, permit by itself engage in any video games, and the device doesn’t offer you the app’s advisable Ethernet port both. TiVo associates say the USB-C port can be utilized to link an Ethernet adapter, and this may enable if you live in a noisy Wi-Fi surroundings. Regular Android Tv gaming labored Ok, on the other hand, and we played pretty a handful of enjoyable rounds of Crossy Street and Speedy like a Fox with the peanut distant. 

4K, HDR and Dolby Vision exams

To examination 4K and HDR we related the TiVo Stream 4K to the Dolby Vision and Atmos-capable LG CX OLED and Sony TVs. As envisioned, video clip high quality was as superior as the Apple Tv 4K on applications where by the Stream supports HDR formats.

As usual with streamers, just mainly because the hardware supports those people formats doesn’t signify the applications them selves do. In TiVo’s favor, Netflix, Disney As well as and Amazon Key all streamed in 4K and Dolby Vision, but film products and services were much more of a blended bag: Google Perform Movies were obtainable in 4K HDR but not Dolby Vision, Movies Everywhere reported “this device does not support 4K playback” and while we had some concerns with logging in to Vudu, when we did it was HDX (1080p) only. Meanwhile Dolby Atmos was not obtainable on Netflix or Disney As well as, although Atmos support on the Fire Tv 4K is also rather spotty.

Like the Apple Tv 4K, the TiVo converts all the things to Dolby Vision or HDR by default, which include the menu methods them selves and video clip from each individual app (which include the myriad streams that are not in HDR). Unlike Apple, on the other hand, there’s to way to change that default. On a Tv as great as the LG which is not a large problem — all the things appears to be like excellent — but on a lesser established that doesn’t do HDR justice, the alternative to switch to SDR if you want is great.

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David Katzmaier/CNET

Should really you acquire it?

Like the Channel Grasp Stream+ the TiVo Stream 4K is an ambitious nevertheless imperfect Android Tv streaming device, and months soon after start TiVo is still working to take care of some concerns. The Stream app is a commendable try at unifying various streaming applications, but in the close it is really not a persuasive purpose to acquire a TiVo Stream 4K — until you happen to like Sling Tv. Impatient HBO Max and Peacock followers, or followers of TiVo or Android Tv in standard will locate a large amount to like, but anybody else searching to acquire a $50 streamer ought to glance instead to the Roku Streaming Stick As well as and the Amazon Fire Tv Stick 4K.

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