Couple years ago, I was looking for cost effective ways to save on my cable bill without leaving and rolled with TiVo’s Bolt Vox DVR and Mini Vox companion box. They brought features I could only dream of getting from my cable provider’s DVR boxes. But eventually I went ahead and cut the cord completely leaving Spectrum/TWC.
Fast forward to the present and we see TiVo has joined the media streaming era and thus created “Stream 4K”. It looks to give you the best of TiVo alongside an Android TV experience. With me being a heavy user of NVIDIA’s Shield TV I was interested to see what TiVo was bringing to the table.
The design of the TiVo Stream 4K threw me off a bit with its boxy yet uneven build. Until I realize it is mirroring TiVo’s new style “EDGE” devices. Sticking out of this device is a HDMI cable. On one side is a pairing button while the other is a Type-C port. There is a microUSB port that works in conjunction with the included microUSB cable and power plug. I was worried about the length of the wire but luckily It was long enough to reach my power strip.
TiVo Stream 4K includes microUSB cable, power plug, and TiVo remote control.
Once you get it all connected there is the setup process. It is pretty much like any Android TV setup where you can mostly do it on your smartphone. You will need to create or login to a TiVo account if you do not have one though to activate the device. When all that was said and done it did a firmware update and went thru some recommendations to establish a library of sorts for me.
I like the fact TiVo included a full-fledged voice remote control that pretty much mirrors the remotes that came with their set top boxes but is about half the size. Interestingly TiVo was able to recognize my connected Sonos Beam without me having to do anything. I was able to do volume controls right away.
Performance / Features
TiVo Stream 4K is utilizing a Quad-Core CPU, 2GB RAM and 8GB storage. It of course works via Wi-Fi and has Bluetooth 4.2. It has HDMI 2.0 and like its namesake supports up to 4K@60fps. There is even HDR, HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HLG. You be surprised how much this little box is packing inside. That Type-C port as mentioned earlier also allows for expandable storage if you want to load up your own content or sideload APKs.
So, the big deal with this media box is “TiVo Stream”. Remember those recommendations you made earlier? They are all in TiVo Stream mixed with other options. When selecting movies/shows here it will give you the option to watch it across various platforms. It basically helps take the guesswork out of jumping from app to app. I remember using this feature on TiVo on their Vox boxes and found it quite useful for giving me options either on the DVR or like Hulu or Vudu.
The only caveat is you need login access for those associated apps. I suggest to login into all your favorite apps before messing around with this section as you will eventually have to do it at some point.
I did find some faults with this app though. Some of the apps like Amazon Video or Google Play Movies will only suggest you buy a title (for instance, Robocop) even if you already have it. I thought clicking on it may just take me to it, but it still wants me to purchase (when trying w/ “Venom” it worked). This was bit of a headache. It fared better for say “Lovecraft Country” which took me right into the HBOMax app.
Good thing about the TiVo Stream 4K is its running Android TV so even if apps aren’t being supported in TiVo’s Stream app you can still use them natively. Favorites like Kodi, Plex and my daily go-to YouTube TV work just fine. Funny thing is I cant customize the 1st app on the list as Stream and even Netflix are unremovable. Using it over the past month I only came across some minor hiccups with a crash or glitch here and there. Using some of the Live Channels fared with mixed results sometimes providing the channel or reverting to the last thing I watched. It runs fine otherwise, and I can’t expect it to run as speedy as my Shield TV which is 4x as much money.
When TiVo was first releasing the 4K Stream it had an intro price of $49.99 later going up to $79.99. As of right now its been hanging around the $49 range and I think it will be fitting for TiVo to keep it there. It is a awesome streaming device for those that want to consume a lot of content across multiple apps and sometimes get lost in where to go. Its remote control is a plus with its various options. The fact the Type-C port can be utilized for expandable storage is a big thumbs up.
I’d only like to see some updates regarding recognizing your current library of purchased content in TiVo Stream, but its not the biggest deal. With the cable landscape shrinking and streaming media growing it been a good idea for TiVo to jump into this area before it was too late.