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TiVo Stream 4K Review: The First $50 Android TV Media Center From TiVo

In the world of 4K Setup Boxes, DVR’s, casting dongles, and media centers, we found by mistake a new King! Meet the old, new king of DVR – the TiVo Stream 4K. We checked out this new product from TiVo and we can say – We are more than impressed. Here is why you should look out for the Tivo Stream 4K and why is the best media device in this price range. 

With TiVo Stream 4K, TiVo wants to reinvent the way you experience streaming media but even more importantly, how you perceive them in the future.
Gone are the inefficient interfaces, additional fees, and other annoying agents that dominate the streaming world today.

Now, with this new Stream 4K device, viewing conditions are about to change drastically. For only 50 dollars, you’re about to get an all-inclusive Android media center experience. And, who knows, this might become the best “bang for the buck” Android TV Dongle.

TiVo Stream 4K is, in one sentence, the company’s commitment to a new digital age. Back in the day, the DVR was everything in the land of cable, and TiVo was king. Now, with all data going to the cloud, TiVo is moving towards Android TV, fully embracing the internet of things philosophy. 

With Android on board, this TiVo Stream 4K gives you an easy, convenient way to navigate different apps from just one media-node home screen. You get to access streaming apps and can browse and create watch lists across all of them. It’s basically an all-in-one central hub for the normal or power user. 

Architecture And Video Formats 

We found the TiVo Stream 4K to perform very well even for the most demanding customer. I mean, for 50 dollars, you get a quad-core ARM Cortex-A53, with a Mali Dvalin GPU, 2 GB of RAM, and 8 GB of ROM. With this architecture, you can tackle formats like MKV 4K 60FPS HDR content with no AV loss.

Because it’s a Bluetooth-enabled device, this stick is more than a streaming machine. It’s also a gaming one. All you need to do is connect a Bluetooth controller, and if the game supports it, you can play your favorite mobile title. 

Stealth Gaming Dongle 

There are certain aspects of the Android ecosystem that make gaming and emulation possible. With unrestricted access to the Google Play Store, a few apps, and some Google-Fu, you can transform your Android Media Center into a retro arcade machine. All you need to do is connect a Type-C USB Stick with the data you need, and you’re all set. Most of the apps you need you can find in the Play Store, and what you missed, you can find on Youtube. 

You seriously can’t go wrong with this little black box. The TiVo Stream 4K comes with all the bells and whistles you might expect from a top of the line media center. As the name suggests, this new iteration of TiVo is capable of a clean, crisp, True-4K stream from a variety of sources.

As soon as you get the dongle out of the box and connect it to the TV, the TiVo Stream 4K is ready to go. After a surprisingly short boot-up time, you are greeted with an almost stock Android TV interface.

Free Content And Competition

Using Android as a template, TiVo threw at this dongle everything but the kitchen sink. You get your usual Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Prime, and others, but you also get access to free content. If you have a digital source for the TiVo Stream 4K to interpret, then this is your best tool at this price point. No questions asked.

The flexible nature of Android, and the fact that you get access to the Play Store, puts the TiVo Stream 4K in the same arena as the Nvidia Shield TV. No matter if we talk about emulation, specific media apps, the TiVo Stream 4K wins in every aspect of the fight. 

The Sling TV integration makes it so worth the 50 dollars but guess what? There’s more! Do you want a dedicated button on your remote for your Stream+ App? You got it! Do you want functional channel controls on your remote? You get that too! Do you want a device that understands your watching practices and follows through with recommendations? It’s right there.

App Management and Smart Recommendations

We feel like TiVo Stream 4K is one of those systems that will better with time. The more time you spend with it, the more it learns about your media consumption habits. And once you do that, it might just change your perspective about the power of machine learning.

As a user, you can tailor the home screen to your exact needs. You can get a retro gaming emulation machine, a 4K streamer, an Android TV OS, and all the digital codecs you need. 

This is the first time you can do actual channel surfing on an Android TV box. The Stream+ app also makes it easy to find content if you don’t know what you’re looking for. And if you have a bit of an OCD, you can use the My Shows app to organize and categorize all that you watch or plan to watch.

Like, let’s say you are watching The Tick on Amazon Prime and Stranger Things on Netflix. You can now string them together for a better viewing experience without having to switch between apps. Now that’s comfort! 

Google Assistant 

The remote of the TiVo Stream 4K is going to be your best friend. You get dedicated buttons for Netflix, TiVo, as well as the usual media buttons. The click that makes this remote pure gold is Google Assistant. A

long with the built-in Chromecast 3, this button is going to be your go-to for every action. Especially if you are a practical person. Just press the button, and speak in the general direction of the remote; let Google Assistant do the rest.

And you want to know something funny? It works like a charm. Sooner or later, you will not even use the buttons, as the Google Assistant can do all the work for you. 

Since TiVo can blend across all the entertainment services, it can deliver a holistic profile based on what you are watching. In essence, you’ll get more accurate recommendations.

If you put together Sling TV, cloud-based streaming services, Stream+, and My Shows – across multiple OTT sources – you get the once mythical, universal hub.  

Our Verdict

Do we recommend it? Well, it’s one versatile little gizmo, I’ll give you that! It did everything it was supposed to do, and more, no matter what we threw at it.

All that free content and the fact that you can organize your TV-shows are a couple of reasons to buy it. Plus, you get flexibility, a stable Android TV box, and an accessible price point; what more can you ask for?!

From our experience with the device, TiVo hit this one out of the park. TiVo Stream 4K is one of the best Android TV devices out there, possibly even the best in that price range. Can we, in good faith, recommend this product? Absolutely! Tell us in the comments below your experience with the TiVo Stream 4K and how did it make your streaming adventure more enjoyable.

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