Photo via TechHive.
While the company has gone back to the well on branding, the Stream 4K represents an entirely new consumer product category for the DVR pioneer in the form of an inexpensive internet streamer. Unlike their traditional DVR product line, this ships without television tuners and a hard drive. In fact, the spotlight video service is Sling TV, from their former nemesis DISH, wrapped within the TiVo interface. Beyond the resident services (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, YouTube are also confirmed), TiVo’s sales pitch is a more unified experience* than a Roku or Apple TV provide:
TiVo Stream 4K will launch with Sling TV as the preferred source for subscription TV. TiVo’s industry-leading user experience and personalized discovery features will integrate seamlessly with the Sling TV app to provide a TV viewing experience that is truly unique when compared to any other streaming product on the market today. […] TiVo Stream 4K will also provide seamless integration with multiple online video services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, YouTube and more.
Pretty cool stuff. They’re skating to where the puck is headed, attempting to bring order to chaos, while seemingly taking the best parts of the TiVo experience and doing away with the exorbitant hardware investment. Obviously, the product is geared to current and future cord cutters.
As to actual hardware, a knowledgeable Twitter account suspects its an Amlogic S905Y2 Android TV reference design, manufactured by SEI Robotics, that closely mirrors AirTV Mini. Beyond that, given the ability to launch Android TV into a specific app, we can assume it’s running a variant of Google’s operator tier software. The remote is the classic, but somewhat shrunken and tweaked, TiVo peanut — swapping color-coded OCAP buttons for the Google Assistant.
Sadly, the TiVo Stream 4K will not act as a TiVo Mini extender for existing DVR owners and the virtual Mini client apps are on hold, if not permanently shelved. I get that TiVo feels they need another, lower cost play in the retail space. But it’s too bad that it’s likely coming at the expense of their traditional DVR line. With continued corporate mergers and executive shuffles, the ensuing product pivots have not been entirely unexpected … but they are disappointing.
The TiVo Stream 4K is expected to launch this April (so plan on June), with introductory $50 pricing … that’ll eventually move to $70. Oh yeah, it’ll also include ad-supported TiVo+ content that you probably won’t care to watch.
Additional TiVo Stream 4K coverage: