Buy on bestbuy.com
– November 28, 2021
The Tivo Stream 4k is a new Android streaming stick from the folks at Tivo. The stick is a dongle design with a short cable with hdmi connector attached to an almost square streaming device with the Tivo logo on it. This arrangement allows a little better wifi and easier install in tight spaces. It comes with a great remote that includes Voice imput. There is no ongoing fee from Tivo.
The streamer itself supports up to 4k at 60 FPS and HDR 10 or Dolby Vision HDR with Dolby Atmos if your TV and sound bar support these formats. The UI for Android TV and the Tivo Stream+ app are very quick with no delay on scrolling and quick loading of any app I tried. There is 8gb of eMMC onboard storage memory and 2 gb DDR4 ram. The Chipset is the Amlogic S905Y2. Wifi supports 802.11 b/g/n/ac using 2.45/5G MIMO with 2T2R (2 antennas capable of 2 data streams). Bluetooth 4.2. HDMI is version 2.0a. Power input is micro USB2.0. Intrestingly there is a USB-C port this can support an external storage device, mouse, keyboard or even a camera and various other USB-c devices.
The Tivo Stream+ app presents your live TV and other content in a guide format. The various services that the content is available show above the guide allowing you to choose where you want to watch a particular content. This is very helpful when you are looking where certain content may be available. The Stream+ app also has it’s own live TV content from Tivo as well as PlutoTV. The guide will also show live TV from Sling if you have that service. Sadly it is lacking integration with live TV from other popular services, hopefully these will be added in the future. You can also use the Google assistant to search for any content or open any app by voice. The assistant voice feature works very well. All of your other apps are available right from the menu on the left side of the guide of the Stream+ app. There is no exit back to the Android home screen but if you press the assitant and say “home screen” it takes you to the android hme screen. You can also get to the settings the same way just say “settings”. I found this is the fastest way to get to the underlying android interface.
The Tivo Stream 4k also has the standard GoogleTV launcher and homepage with tiles and suggested content. The google assistant and Chromcast are also included.
The Tivo setup asks about the services you have and then presents you with content based on your choices in the Tivo Stream+ app. I found the suggestions good if you spend time on going through the full process, this can be time consuming but will give you better suggestions in the end.
The only major app missing is DirectTV stream as it is from all android streaming sticks except FireTV. You can sideload an APK but this is somewhat advanced. I hope Tivo will add this and the live TV support for other apps like YouTubeTV and Hulu LiveTV. You can access the live content from the native apps it is just not presented in the guide.
The Tivo Stream is a very capable and affordable streaming dongle. It performs better than most dongles and is on par with the Nvidia Sheild and Google Tv dongle. The Dolby Vision and Dolby Atomos is great if your equipment supports it. I did not experience any slowness to the UI mentioned in some other reviews. I did have to manually enable Dolby vision and Dolby Atmos. The device come with Android 9 (pie).
– December 4, 2021
(that’s Too Long, Didn’t Read)
There are a TON of stick-style streaming devices available. This one is based on Google TV and has a voice-enabled remote, supports 4K resolutions and does a reasonable job of combining all of your free and subscribed services into a manageable way to find something to watch.
* Attractive UI.
* Easy to use remote with built-in microphone.
* Based on Google TV.
* Can be a tad cumbersome to set up and manage a large number of streaming services.
* Google TV does not yet support DirecTV Stream, which is itself based on Google TV.
The main challenge with streaming services is that there are so many to choose from, and each service has its own app and way of “bookmarking” or revealing content to watch. If you have multiple services (subscription or free), it becomes cumbersome to check each service’s app to find something to watch.
This is where the TiVo Stream has an advantage. The hardware is good but nothing too special… There is a “stick” that plugs into your TV’s HDMI port and a USB power adapter. The remote control is not too large and not too small, and has plenty of useful buttons and even a microphone for Google searches. Sure, the stick supports full 4k UHD streaming, but even that is relatively common.
The TiVo “special sauce” is a way to homologate or combine the available shows across all of your streaming services into one “guide” or list. I use DirecTV Stream as my “live” TV service provider and unfortunately this is not yet supported by TiVo Stream, but if you do have a supported service, the “guide” will even show what’s on “live” as well as what’s available on-demand. It has a common way of searching for and playing content across all of your services. The video and audio quality is great, and the system is easy to navigate once set up.
Like any other streaming stick that supports multiple services, it may be a bit overwhelming to get it all set up by signing in to your various services, but once set up, everything seems easy to use. The TiVo Stream is based on Google so you have the ability to speak to the remote and ask Google anything, including finding content to watch or controlling the playback of that content.
Overall, the stick itself is easy to install, the audio and video quality is great, and the remote is comfortable to hold and use. The TiVo system is easy to use once set up and works across numerous services. With the one absence of DirecTV Stream (or any other service that is itself based on Google TV), the TiVo system makes it easy to find and control just about anything you want to stream including live TV if you subscribe to a supported service.
– December 18, 2021
The TiVo – Stream 4K media streamer, is a great way to add smart TV services to a basic TV. I have an older LCD TV in a spare bedroom and I wanted to have guests be able to use it, so I picked up the TIVO streaming device. I have both Android and Roku streaming devices in my home already and both work fairly well. This TiVo 4K streamer is very responsive to the remote and extremely easy to set up. Once it is connected to one of your TV’s HDMI inputs and powered by either a USB port on the TV or the provide power block it is ready to set up.
Upon powering it up you are prompted to connect to your Wi-Fi, then just follow the screen prompts. If you have a Google account you can sign in or create one to complete the setup. When you have complete the sign in process the unit then completes an update to the latest firmware.
The unit itself is larger than the other media streamers and is shaped in at rectangle about 2”x3”. The unit provides you with android TV and all of the usual streaming services and even some live TV channel as well. Performance is very quick and the remote looks like a smaller version of the old TiVo DVR peanut shaped remote. It can be a little awkward to hold though. The remote will control the TV’s power, volume, channels and inputs, so it works as a basic universal remote. For 4K TV’s the picture is very sharp and clear.
This is a very good streaming device and works extremely well and would be a great device for you home TV or when traveling to bring your TV services with you.
– December 20, 2021
TiVo made a name for itself many years ago with one of the first DVRs…and it changed the world.
Now its making much smaller waves with TIVO Stream 4K, a new and less ground-breaking entry in the crowded world of streaming devices. True to its name, it does stream in 4K and includes top-of-the line support for features like Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos and HDR. Other premium features are built-in Chromecast, for those who want to cast from phones, laptops or tablets, and built-in Google Assistant voice support.
This streaming device is built around an Android TV interface, which will be familiar to some users, since it comes preloaded with some smart TVs, including Sony.
But the one feature that sets the TiVo Stream 4K apart from all other such devices is a unique TIVo guide, a seperate standalone, customizable page that allows you to more easily launch favorite channels, shows and movies from one location, regardless of which streaming service that provides them. A dedicated button on the remote will get you there in a hurry.
This can be a convenience for those who subscribe to multiple streaming services, like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney+, Sling and others . But Sling users will have the tightest integration since much of that content shows up on the grid
I have pretty extensive experience using most of the competing streaming devices and find the TiVo stream 4K something of a mixed bag. It does a great job, for the most part, once you get it set up but that process is a long and cumbersome experience — a big turnoff to those who prefer more of a plug and play approach.
Here’s what you are in for: Unpack and connect the square black plastic dongle to power via a supplied USB charger (a bit confusing since the device has both mico USB and USB C connectors. Power only works on the micro USB port). Plug the dongle into an available HDMI port on the TV that supports 4K. Pair the remote using some odd key combination on the remote (This took several attempts for some reason) . TiVo 4K Stream finally launches but of course needs a hefty 700+ gigabyte update first. That takes about 5 minutes (or more depending on your internet speed) and several reboots. Then Android TV must launch and it needs several reboots (and several more on top of that if you turn on Dolby Vision and HDR, which are off by default for some odd reason. This is something you probably would not be aware of unless you don’t dig into the Android TV settings).
Then it asks a bunch fo question about which shows and movies you like so it can provide worthy recommendations. I skipped most of this since I watch or prefer almost none of the shows or movies TiVo lists in this process.
Then you can go through some tutorials on the Guide dealing with how to move your favorite channels to the top of the grid, which is bit better than the channel grid provided by Sling, my main streaming provider.
Whew! Are we done yet? Not even close.
You also have to set up a TiVo account of course and sign off on all the usual “you have no-privacy” provisions, standard fare on pretty much any app or device you buy these days.
And then you have activate all your streaming services on this device with either a name and password or the standard “go to this web page and type in this activation code,” which should be familiar to anyone has ever used any streaming device.
Now, at long last, you are ready to sit back and take in the show, or movie. I found this entire process took 30-45 minutes, more than a lot of consumers would tolerate..
Once up and running, TiVo Stream 4K displays works well. with smooth and snappy response times to all user inputs. But there were some surprising differences when compared with other streamers, at least on my Sony TV.
Picture quality, for example, was somewhat better, because TiVo Stream 4K applies Dolby Vision to all content. Colors had less punch than I had before but seemed more realistic with better contrast (after Dobly Vision and HDR were turned on) . You may get different results depending on your TV and its capabilities.
Another unexpected change was in sound quality. I have an HDMI ARC connected Polk Audio sound bar that only supports Dolby Digital Plus , not Atmos. I got a lot more bass and surround sound across the board with the TiVo Stream 4K than through other streaming devices. That could be good or bad, depending on content and provider. On some programs, bass-heavy music and sound effects overpowered narration or dialogue to the point where it was unwatchable. You could not hear what anyone was saying. Other content had a more normal balance and actually sounded better than before because of the improved bass and surround sound.
If you dig into the audio settings, you can manually select which codec you want to use — Dobly Atmos. Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital — or select auto. None of those worked for me so finally had to turn off all surround sound to get acceptable voice and dialogue on most programs. The default “Auto,” seemed to work OK on most Amazon Prime and Netflix content but not most cable channels or live TV via Sling. This is highly dependent on what soundbar or audio reciever you are using so your experience may be different. But if you do encounter this problem, there is a big downside to losing surround sound. Or manually switching back and forth, depending on what you are watching. a major pain.
The bluetooth remote that comes with TiVo Stream 4K is more capable than the bare bones remotes packed with most other streamers. The most noticable difference is a complete number keypad, which I never use but some may find useful. There are also dedicated Netflix and Google buttons, which allow voice commands when activated. It works as you would expect. And a dedicated TiVo button that goes to the guide. There is no backlight, sadly, but at least the black buttons have white markings on them so are easy to see in mosrt conditions.
Thankfully, the volume, mute, channel, power and input buttons on the TiVo remote work with your TV once the device is set up so you don’t have shuffle back and forth between remotes.
In the end, your decision on whether to buy the TiVo Stream 4K depends largely on your personal preferences regarding streaming navigaion and how advanced your TV is. Owners of TVs with Dolby Vision and HDR may see improvements but sound quality is something of a guessing game depending on the audio equipment you are using..
Owners of older streaming devices will likely find the TiVo 4K Stream responds more smoothly during navigation or when using DVR controls, because it runs on faster processors.
The only big downside is the lengthy setup process.
– December 27, 2021
I have no complaints about the device itself. I do not care for how it physically connects to my TV, however. The HDMI port is part of the Tivo unit (does not disconnect) and is only about 3″ long. As a “dongle” it sticks out pretty far on my Vizio smart TV. I would prefer to have it sit atop our credenza but to do so I would need a female-male extension. Oddly, they give you a nice long usb-micro power connector cable yet I only need about 6″ to connect to my USB power source on the television itself.
As for the device, it was fairly easy to set up. It did not come preloaded with YouTubeTV (my preferred service) but I was able to download and register that app to the Tivo with ease.
I do find the Tivo interface a bit frustrating to navigate but that is likely because I am acclimated to my Vizio’s default (and not that great either) “SmartCast” menu. Tivo wants to group things by Movies, Television, etc. whereas my Vizio showed my my preferred streaming apps by default. Nonetheless, if you use the super awesome voice command feature (Google Assistant) it doesn’t matter. Simply say “Watch Shameless on YouTubeTV” or “Watch Letterkenny on Hulu” — or even just the name of the show if you don’t remember what service it was on (“Watch Only Murders in the Building”–it will ask “on Hulu?”) — and the streaming service and title will launch. So far, it has always taken us to where we last left off in a series.
I do wish that the “Guide” option could be changed to a live guide of my preferred live TV service (i.e. YouTubeTV) instead of a Pluto guide. (Supposedly it will pull Sling’s guide but I have no desire to switch to Sling.)
There is a feature called “My Shows” but I haven’t quite figured it out yet as it still says “nothing to show.” Worst case, I hope that it autofills one day with my recently/frequently watched (via YouTubeTV, Netflix, and Hulu). Best case, I hope it helps me jump to new episodes of Bob’s Burgers or lets me know when the newest season of Ozarks is released.
As for the streaming quality, it is very good and the processing of commands is pretty quick. Still not as fast as moving through the old-fashioned cable box when switching channels on live tv, but quick enough.
In reality, this is a “Roku”-like device…not your old school Tivo with pause and record. And at its heart is the Google/Android OS and Google AI magic. I chose this device because of the Google Assistant feature and consequently I am very happy with it as a streaming box. But because of the way it sticks out on my TV and the fact that I have to buy an HDMI extension cable, I knocked off a star.
– January 6, 2022
This little guy has it all. From setup it’s a simple hdmi and power cord. The remote comes with batteries.
I was having issues with my internet so setup took longer. At one point it would go grouch all the steps and then turn off and I would have to start over. Initially it should only take 5 mins to set up. After troubleshooting I just unplugged everything, tv included and started all over.
After that setup was easy. This little guy is a perfect streaming hub. It comes with recommendations and then you can sign in to apps or sign up for trials to use new apps. Everything is in one place. The remote is similar to our cable company remote to it was easy to use. Voice feature is convenient but you definitely need to enunciate.
Other than the size, a little too large for me, this device is perfect. Oh and the 4K feature is the best if your tv is capable. At some point we will stoping using cable and only use this TiVo.
– January 13, 2022
— SETUP —
The setup for this TiVo Streaming stick is quick and simple. Plug into your TV, connect to WiFi, download your streaming apps, and enjoy.
— FEATURES —
Access to most major streaming app platforms in one device, quick user interface, great-feel remote, Chromecast capable, Google Assistant Voice
— PERFORMANCE —
The TiVo stream stick is light and hides easily behind the TV. It is boxy, and sticks out awkwardly, but it is not in public view behind my 55 inch screen. The remote successfully paired with my Hisense TV. It was a very easy pairing, as all I had to do was press and hold two buttons and the remote automatically looked for a code that matched my TV. Then I got a message that gave me my brand of TV and it worked.
I tested this TiVo with various apps. My biggest wish was to be able to stream HBO Max alongside Netflix and Vudu. Not only did I get my wish, I was also able to download Apple TV and watch episodes of Ted Lazo on my TV!
— EXPECTATIONS —
This little TiVo streaming stick has it all! After I downloaded all my streaming apps and logged into each of them, the TiVo interface starts showing you shows you were currently watching from all of your apps and recommends what to watch next like a cable guide, except it is pulling data from your subscription services. For me, it pulled information from the following: Netflix, Vudu, HBO Max, Amazon Video, and even Xfinity. I started watching Cry Macho, which opened up from HBO Max, then followed that up with the Tobey Maguire Spiderman Trilogy, which it pulled from my Vudu account. I clicked on the live button and discovered that TiVo has some live channels for me to watch for free. My wife and I spent watching 1 hour of the pets channel, which is just pets being cute 24/7.
There is a button called “skip,” which I understand is supposed to skip credits at the beginning of shows. It didn’t work for me properly with any app I tried it, but it’s not a deal breaker considering I now can use this one streaming stick to watch every single one of my streaming apps in one, in 4K (where available).
— APPROVAL —
For the price, I recommend this to everyone that has more than one streaming app. I would even strongly encourage this to be a white elephant gift that won’t disappoint.
– January 15, 2022
The TiVo 4K is a great streaming device that provides the latest Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos capabilities. At $39.99, this is really not that expensive. If you are on a budget, I would definitely recommend it. The device includes a remote that you can control your TV and sound system. It also has a good length cable. I say good length because it is longer than the cable that came with my Amazon Firestick.
The device lets you personalize your video recommendations based on your preferences. You can download numerous applications and the latest apps such as Netflix, Disney+, AppleTV+, HBOMax and the list goes on. The live TV feature works with Sling TV, you will need an active Sling account for it to work. The software is very similar to Google TV. So if you are an Android user, you’ll feel comfortable with it.
Overall, it is on par along with the other streaming devices. The remote is voice control and it works with Google Assistant. It does require a TiVo account to activate the device. In the box you get the TiVo dongle, TiVo remote, 2AA batteries, USB cable & power brick, and setup guide.
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