TiVo Stream 4K Review: A $50 Android TV Dongle!

– So I've got a confession to make.

I have never, ever used a TiVo.

Just never had any reason to do it, right? Back when I had cable, Ihad DVRs and everything.

Now that I'm streaming everything, well, its all in the cloud.

So I'm telling y'all that because this is the new TiVo Stream 4K, you can buy it now directlyfrom TiVo for about $50.

I just don't really have anycontext for TiVo, is all.

Now, Android TV on the other hand, I have all kinds of context for that.

In fact, I've been using it long before it was even called Android TV.

And this new TiVo thing? It is Android TV.

But what does that mean, really? And is there any reason why you should buy the new TiVo Stream 4K over, say, Roku or Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV or even another Android TV box? All right, let's go do this.

(upbeat music) So this is it, the TiVo Stream 4K.

It's $50 directly from TiVo right now and I'm sure we'll see it on sale somewhere else at some point.

So its a dongle, whichmeans that it will dangle from the back of your TV ever so slightly.

Its got eight gigs of storage on board, but really you haveaccess to a little less than half of that.

It also has two gigs of RAM, if that's the sort ofthing you're worried about.

It's got dual-band WiFi five, that's 802.

11AC if youcare about such things.

And its powered by a micro-USB cable even though there's also a USB-C for external storage or ethernet.

What a world, right? And you heard that correctly, it's got micro-USB for power, USB-C for everything else.

This is why we can't have nice things.

So as the name implies, the TiVo Stream 4K willin fact stream in 4K, which is good 'cause that would've been really awkward if it couldn't.

It'll also do Dolby Vision for HDR, and Dolby Atmos for audio if you happen to have a setup that does Dolby Atmos.

Chances are you don't.

And that's it for the hardware, mostly.

Except for the remote control, which we will get to in a minute.

So like I said, the TiVo Stream 4K is built on Android TV.

It's got an Android TV home screen.

Take a bigger look at that in a minute but just know that thesoftware is mostly Google.

Okay, so what makes this thing a TiVo? I mean it doesn't havehard drives for recording, which is really what I tend to think about when I think about TiVo.

Really what we have here is Android TV, and I kinda can't stress that enough.

From the initial setup, very much Android TV.

That said, this is thefirst Android TV box I've seen that really forces me to install that much bloatware.

Now don't worry about it, you can get rid of those apps later.

You can uninstall them ifyou don't wanna use them, but-(sighs) Come on.

Otherwise, guess what? It's Android TV, and that means the same Android TV home screen and settings that you're used to.

It means Google Play for more apps, it means that Chromecast is built in.

And it means that the user interface is a little more complicated than what you're gonna find onAmazon Fire TV or on Roku or especially Apple TV, which is super simple.

And for what it's worth, the TiVo Stream 4K isrunning Android Nine, which is normal for Android TV and mine updated to theMarch security patch when I first installed everything.

But again, none of thatis really TiVo, right? And neither is the fact that this thing really wants you to use it with Sling TV for all your live TV needs.

Now it doesn't quite force you to, you can still use it with YouTube TV or, I don't know, Hulu with live TV, or whatever else you want.

So long as it has an app on Android TV, you can use it here.

And you can still use anover-the-air antenna if you want, that's still baked into Android TV too.

So now the TiVo part really comes in with a TiVo Stream app, and that's actually what you see over my shoulder here.

And, well, this kinda hit.

So it's an app that aggregates content from all kinds of different sources.

Now not everything ties into this, but most of the big ones do, all right.

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, you get the idea.

So if you caught it real quickduring the setup process, it's gonna ask you about other streaming services that you use.

But then, it's gonna ask you about what kind of shows you like, and say, “All right, pick this one or this one, that one or that one”.

And it's gonna take thatinformation and start recommending shows to youin the Tivo Stream app.

And that's fine, I mean that'snot that unusual, right? Apple does it, AndroidTV does it, Roku does it.

Where I think TiVo Stream 4K is doing a really goodjob, though, is it says, “Okay here's this show, now here's where you can go watch it”.

Whether it's on Hulu orAmazon or Netflix or wherever.

It shows you all the options, which is really really cool.

And, look okay, there's reallynothing magical about that.

I mean, the algorithmmaybe, but I don't think so.

But really its just thefact that it shows the multiple locations whereyou can watch a single show.

Not everybody does that and not everybody does it as clearly as TiVo's doing here.

It's really that simple.

The UI gets a little busy, but it's still really nicely designed and I tell ya, it's a hellof a lot easier to use than just the defaultAndroid TV user interface.

It's also not as simple as Roku, and really I think this is what gets into my major problemwith this TiVo Stream 4K.

And that is the TiVo Streamapp itself is just an app, it's just an app runningon top of Android TV, which is in and of itself a fairly complicated user experience.

Now back to the TiVo Stream app, the other really cool thing is this is where it directlyintegrates with Sling TV.

It's where you're gonnafind the live guide, it's where you're gonna findmore programming information.

Now it'd be really coolif you could do all this with all the other livestreaming services like Hulu or YouTube TV, right? But I get it.

Sling TV gets preferential treatment and you get a $50 streaming dongle.

All right, one more thing here, I promised to talk about the remote.

And it's usually feast or famine when it comes to remote controls, right? Amazon's remote is pretty much crap, Apple TV's remote, it's even worse, don't use it, please.

Roku's remotes are okay, but they're really nothing to write home about.

And Nvidia Shield has a triangle.

Now TiVo has the peanut remote, the infamous peanut remote, 'cause it's shaped like a peanut.

It feels really good in the hand.

The buttons, they're are a lot of them, maybe too many, but they'realso well within reach even for my freakishly small thumbs.

The old skip button is still here too, and it's a little hit and miss.

It works in some apps toskip forward 10 seconds, and others it doesn't, but whatever, give it a shot.

So yeah, good remote control.

Thank you TiVo, that's good to see.

All right, time for the big question.

Is the TiVo Stream 4K worth your money? Well, I'm gonna ask youone other question first.

How much do you watch Sling TV? If you're all in on SlingTV, it's almost a no brainer.

This is a really good experience, especially with that directintegration and the live guide.

If you don't use Sling TV as your livestreaming video provider of choice, it's still a pretty good experience.

You're just gonna miss out on some of the bells and whistles, but it's still a pretty decent Android TV experience, again for 50 bucks.

So even if you try it anddecide it's just not your thing, you're not out, say, $200.

And this is probably the best $50 Android TV experience I have had so far.

There's some pretty bad ones out there.

Now that's not to sayeverything's perfect here, because it's not.

Now, what don't I like? Well, trying to teach somebody to use the TiVo Stream app on top of the Android TV user experience, and why they're not the same, that's gonna be confusing on a good day.

If TiVo Stream were thecomplete user interface here, that'd be a totally different story.

But it's not.

I've also had a few hiccupswith the Dolby Atmos audio, specifically it wasn't working for me in the Amazon Prime Video app.

So you might have to diveinto the settings a little bit and see if you can figure things out.

And the hardware is a little bit sluggish.

That's not surprising fora $50 piece of hardware but just know that it's- It's not a Shield TV, it's not that powerful.

But all in all, youget a lot here for $50.

It's not a bad experience at all.

And again, it's alsonot the most expensive.

If it doesn't work out for you, it'll work just fine on a secondary TV.

So that's it for the TiVo Stream 4K, if you got any other questions hit me up in the comments down below, go find me on the socials.

You know where I am, modernday and all that stuff, right? That's it, see you next time.

(upbeat music).

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