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

Roku and Amazon Hearth Tv set make the most effective inexpensive streaming devices, but both however absence aid for two of the largest new companies, HBO Max and Peacock. We have no idea when people applications will look, but if you own a Roku or Hearth Tv set, it’s possible […]

Roku and Amazon Hearth Tv set make the most effective inexpensive streaming devices, but both however absence aid for two of the largest new companies, HBO Max and Peacock. We have no idea when people applications will look, but if you own a Roku or Hearth Tv set, it’s possible you happen to be sick of waiting around. Enter the TiVo Stream 4K. This streamer expenditures $50 — cheaper than other selections with Max and Peacock, like the Apple Tv set or a brand-new intelligent Tv set — and of course it streams countless numbers of other applications, way too, from Netflix to YouTube to Sling Tv set

Like

  • Affordable for 4K HDR streaming
  • Has applications for HBO Max and Peacock
  • Google Assistant will work perfectly for voice look for
  • Terrific remote
  • Stream app aggregates unique companies

Never Like

  • Unsuccessful to operate with a person Tv set we tested
  • Not compatible with current TiVo devices
  • A lot more intricate menus than Roku

TiVo designed its identify with DVRs to file cable and antenna Tv set broadcasts, but the Stream 4K is not a DVR at all. It can be a media streamer that competes immediately from two of our preferred such devices, the Roku Streaming Adhere Additionally and the Amazon Hearth Tv set Adhere 4K. It runs the Android TV system with extras like Google Assistant voice control, 4K resolution, Dolby Atmos and Dolby Eyesight compatibility. 

Here’s the bad news: the TiVo Stream 4K only unsuccessful to operate with a person Tv set, an LG CX OLED. Video on applications, like Netflix and Disney Additionally, would end playing and boot back again into the primary menu, rendering the Stream in essence unusable. TiVo promised a deal with back again in June but has considering the fact that explained to CNET that the update has “sadly been delayed and we will share more detail on it as shortly as we can.” 

The Stream worked fine on a few other TVs we utilized for testing, from Sony, Samsung and TCL, so that challenge is not a deal breaker for this review. It can be unattainable for us to take a look at the Stream with each and every Tv set, having said that, so we won’t be able to assure it will operate fine with yours. In brief, it truly is worrisome sufficient to protect against our full recommendation.

There is also the actuality that the Stream 4K will never operate with current TiVo components (still), so it won’t be able to enjoy back again your cable or antenna DVR recordings or allow you stream them to your mobile phone. It can be also worthy of mentioning the rumors about Google’s own $50 Android Tv set streamer, which will possible be introduced Sept. thirty as the most recent Chromecast.

When the firm in the beginning introduced there would be a selling price boost to $70, TiVo has educated us the selling price is being at $50 which keeps the gadget quite aggressive. If you want obtain to HBO Max and Peacock now, or you just like its functions and Google goodness, it truly is a stable deal — provided it will work with your Tv set. Otherwise you could wait around right until Google reveals its hand or purchase a person of the outstanding Roku or Hearth Tv set streamers in its place.

Get to know TiVo Stream 4K

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The TiVo Stream 4K, a credit history card-dimension widget with an built-in HDMI connector, is built to cling out of sight guiding your Tv set. Unlike most adapters of its kind, it truly is acquired a little little bit of identity — a big TiVo symbol on the entrance and a distinct wedge condition like a miniature Edge DVR

The Stream 4K’s most recognizable attribute is the legendary peanut remote. It can be about two-thirds the dimension of TiVo’s normal DVR remote and has a couple further functions. Keep the Google button down, wait around a conquer and then talk to obtain voice look for by way of Google Assistant. The acquainted silver TiVo button provides you obtain to the Stream app, though the round crucial to the left of the Assistant button normally takes you to the Android Tv set household web page. There is no thumbs up or down buttons, which is a shame, but normally you will find a ton more keys than on a typical Roku or Amazon remote. It will also control the ability, quantity and enter on your Tv set but considering the fact that it relies on HDMI CEC in its place of infrared like Roku and Amazon, it requires a newer Tv set to use people features.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

The TiVo Stream 4K dongle is not specifically impressive in terms of specs: you will find an Amlogic S905Y2 processor, 2GB of RAM and 8GB of storage house. In comparison the more pricey Nvidia Protect gives the same RAM and storage, but arrives with the Nvidia Tegra X1 Additionally processor, as perfectly as microSD growth (Android Computer Tv set did a comparison involving the two processors.) In observe we found the TiVo a great deal zippy for 1080p but it failed to have the horsepower for some sophisticated capabilities like the Steam Backlink app.

The primary lacking attribute ideal now is the device’s absence of integration with current TiVo devices. It may well share a identify with the more mature Stream product but it won’t be able to share recordings or normally interface with the countless numbers of TiVos already in the wild. A TiVo spokesperson did explain to CNET way back again in January that TiVo integration was on the street map for the Stream 4K’s upcoming, but the firm has been not able to give us an update on timing considering the fact that.

TiVo’s unique sauce: The Stream app

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The TiVo Stream interface.


Sarah Tew/CNET

The TiVo Stream 4K has an unique app, named Stream, which TiVo built to be the centerpiece of this gadget. It integrates Tv set reveals and videos from applications, like Sling Tv set (see under), Netflix, HBO Now, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney Additionally and Google Perform Movies and also indicates new information TiVo thinks you may well like. It life on top rated of the normal Android Tv set interface and for that purpose can be type of bewildering: The gadget correctly has two household webpages.

Lots of of the buttons on the remote feed you immediately into Stream. The app’s primary menu is off to the facet, identical to Neflix, with classes like My Exhibits, Tutorial, Tv set Exhibits, Movies, Sports activities and Young children. There is also a Lookup tab but the Google Assistant look for is a lot quicker and more clear-cut than Stream’s version. We also preferred that Google’s look for was offered anywhere you are on the gadget, not just from within the Stream app. 

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The TiVo Stream guidebook.


Ty Pendlebury/CNET

The Stream 4K arrives with a totally free week of Sling Tv set, and TiVo phone calls the provider its favored companion. What that signifies is that Sling buyers will see the Sling Tv set guidebook in the Stream interface, which also permits you to established recordings to Sling’s cloud DVR. The Tutorial button on the remote phone calls up the grid, a crystal clear nod to identical operation on DVRs and cable boxes. Google Assistant was capable to look for for both Sling Tv set channels and now playing reveals but wasn’t capable to obtain recordings from Sling’s cloud DVR.

Of course, a Sling Tv set subscription is completely optional on the gadget and various are living Tv set streaming companies will operate fine — they just will never be built-in into the Stream app. If you never subscribe to Sling, the remote’s Tutorial button will however summon Tivo Additionally, a proprietary community of that gives totally free information from TMZ, Exterior Tv set, PowerNation, FailArmy, Hell’s Kitchen, Cheddar and, thanks to a new partnership, Pluto Tv set. (Disclosure: CNET and PlutoTV are both owned by ViacomCBS.)

tivo-stream-2

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Exterior the Stream app you can expect to see the normal Android Tv set interface, which behaves like any gadget of this kind with rows of information highlights mingled with just lately utilized applications and favorites. Most applications are supported, with the notable exception of AT&T’s are living Tv set companies, such as AT&T Tv set Now

Computer software updates have aided, but concerns keep on being

We tested the TiVo Stream 4K on a quantity of unique TVs, like the TCL 65Q825, the LG OLED65CXPUA, the Sony XBR-55X950G and the Samsung PN59D8000

As we outlined previously mentioned, the primary challenge, which happened with a number of TiVo Stream review samples, is halting midstream and returning to the menu. In addition to the LG it also occurred on the Sony, but with the latter Tv set it looks to have been solved soon after a computer software update. It however takes place with the LG.

We also professional a couple of more insignificant concerns. In the course of set up on the remote pairing phase, the gadget would attempt to link soon after pressing the requested buttons and then time out and return to the pairing web page. With perseverance and swift reflexes poised on the Upcoming button, we did get them to operate. We also professional seem dropouts with the Sony Tv set and an Onkyo receiver, though a computer software update looks to have preset that challenge, way too.

Beyond that, the Stream worked perfectly in our testing. Navigation of the various screens was zippy and we failed to recognize any lag when opening any applications. The handover from TiVo Stream to Sling Tv set, a prospective choke point, was seamless. We ended up also capable to use the TiVo Stream 4K’s Chromecast capability to stream online video from a Computer browser and from a phone’s Spotify app. If you happen to be acquainted with the Android Tv set ecosystem, you can expect to experience ideal at household with the Stream 4K, and the Stream app on top rated is a usable and exciting addition. 

Originally we experienced hoped that this gadget could swap the Nvidia Protect as a way to stream PC games to the Tv set by way of the Steam Backlink app, but it failed to operate. It wasn’t possible to stream with sufficient bandwidth to even make the interface secure, allow alone enjoy any games, and the gadget will not give the app’s advised Ethernet port both. TiVo reps say the USB-C port can be utilized to link an Ethernet adapter, and this may well aid if you are living in a noisy Wi-Fi natural environment. Usual Android Tv set gaming worked Okay, having said that, and we played really a couple pleasing rounds of Crossy Highway and Quick like a Fox with the peanut remote. 

4K, HDR and Dolby Eyesight assessments

To take a look at 4K and HDR we related the TiVo Stream 4K to the Dolby Eyesight and Atmos-capable LG CX OLED and Sony TVs. As anticipated, online video high-quality was as good as the Apple Tv set 4K on applications the place the Stream supports HDR formats.

As common with streamers, just due to the fact the components supports people formats will not signify the applications by themselves do. In TiVo’s favor, Netflix, Disney Additionally and Amazon Prime all streamed in 4K and Dolby Eyesight, but film companies ended up more of a blended bag: Google Perform Movies ended up offered in 4K HDR but not Dolby Eyesight, Movies Everywhere said “this gadget does not aid 4K playback” and though we experienced some concerns with logging in to Vudu, when we did it was HDX (1080p) only. In the meantime Dolby Atmos was not offered on Netflix or Disney Additionally, although Atmos aid on the Hearth Tv set 4K is also rather spotty.

Like the Apple Tv set 4K, the TiVo converts anything to Dolby Eyesight or HDR by default, like the menu techniques by themselves and online video from each and every app (like the myriad streams that usually are not in HDR). Unlike Apple, having said that, you will find to way to adjust that default. On a Tv set as great as the LG that is not a big difficulty — anything appears to be good — but on a lesser established that will not do HDR justice, the alternative to switch to SDR if you want is great.

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David Katzmaier/CNET

Should you purchase it?

Like the Channel Master Stream+ the TiVo Stream 4K is an ambitious still imperfect Android Tv set streaming gadget, and months soon after start TiVo is however functioning to deal with some concerns. The Stream app is a commendable attempt at unifying unique streaming applications, but in the stop it truly is not a powerful purpose to purchase a TiVo Stream 4K — except you take place to appreciate Sling Tv set. Impatient HBO Max and Peacock supporters, or supporters of TiVo or Android Tv set in common will find a lot to like, but any person else looking to purchase a $50 streamer must appear in its place to the Roku Streaming Adhere Additionally and the Amazon Hearth Tv set Adhere 4K.

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