There May Be Hope For The TiVo Stream 4K…

While I assume the TiVo Stream 4K does what it’s advertised to do, in providing universal search and aggregating content recommendations from select app partners like Netflix and Amazon Prime, a big miss at launch is the inability to actually access TiVo DVR content… the way it does former nemesis DISH, in Sling TV. With that said, I pinged TiVo PR last week and their response provides a glimmer of hope to us existing TiVo owners:

We have nothing to share at this time but stay tuned for further updates.

Having engaged with press relations over 15 years (and worked marketing myself), if there was zero possibility, the sentence would have ended “at this time.” This doesn’t mean the feature we so desire will ultimately launch or, if it does, in a timely fashion, but I suspect the wording means it’s at least being evaluated – if not outright under development. And let’s say it is. Would the functionality be native and deep TiVo Stream 4K integration or simply a retrofit mobile app … that could also become available to Fire TV and Android TV (as was once promised)?!

I don’t make purchasing recommendations on possibilities. So despite favorable TiVo Stream 4K launch pricing ($50), I suggest folks largely interested in the streamer as a potential TiVo DVR end-point hold off.

(Thanks for the photo Seth!)

36 thoughts on “There May Be Hope For The TiVo Stream 4K…”

  1. I’ve been hemming and hawing over this thing since it was announced. Currently the owner of a Bolt+ and 4 Minis, I’m deeply entrenched in the TiVo ecosystem. As a base DVR there isn’t much to complain about and the equipment paid for itself long ago vs what I’d be paying my cable company for their gear. But, streaming away from home has always been hit or miss (on Android and iOS). The app integration is sub-standard at best, and in the case of the Minis, not even functional. The forced pre-roll ads, while admittedly easy to skip, are bothersome when you consider the monthly fee we’re paying for the TiVo service. And being hammered over the head with Tivo+ in EVERY PAGE of the guide and daily reminder mail messages is way over the top. Especially when you consider that every time I try to test Tivo+ (note, I didn’t say “watch”) on my Minis, it simply leads to a black screen.

    Upon purchasing a RokuTV last year for the living room, I retrofitted every TV in the house with a Roku Premiere in an effort to prepare for the future, whether that would be the now undelivered TiVo app (to put an end to the sketchy Minis) or leaving the TiVo realm entirely and moving to something like YouTube TV.

    Then along comes the TiVo Stream 4K. I like the idea of consolidating all of my shows. But I really have no interest in the Sling service and if it doesn’t see my Bolt+ what’s the point? How do I reward TiVo with more money when they’ve failed me on so many levels?

  2. I’m interested in the TiVo Stream 4K, but, for me, it’s missing two key features:

    1) Wired network connectivity
    2) Support for Live TV streaming services other than Sling

  3. I envision that, somewhere at TiVo right now, two product managers are having a fight.

    One of them wants to sell TiVo Stream 4K units and is desperately pushing for a streaming client to watch local (and maybe remote) content from existing TiVo DVRs. They want a client that’s better than the mobile app, equivalent to the TiVo Mini client.

    The other one is a TiVo Mini manager who doesn’t think they’ll ever sell a box again for $100 more with voice as the only difference. Especially if voice ever comes to the Stream 4K.

    I fear the Mini manager is winning. Dooming the Stream 4K long term, and eliminating the possibility of cross selling between existing and Stream 4K customers. Normally a strong CEO would solve this and set overall direction, even if it meant killing off an old product line. But, as a recent post pointed out, nobody is driving the ship.

  4. I started early on with Chromecast, but it did not offer a lot over my Sony Smart TV and I was really not into using my phone as the remote. Next was Fire Stick/TV and it was much better and we used it for a while. Then 2 years ago, I was on a trip and needed a portable streamer and bought the Roku. I fell in love instantly. When I saw the Tivo streamer and it promised to bring it all together in one place, I ordered it. We had used Tivo for years before we started streaming only and I always loved its interface. I got my Tivo 4k Steaming device Saturday and set it up immediately. It was fairly easy, but it took a while with the questions to fine tune it to your tastes.

    I have mixed feelings. It seems it is not completely ready for prime time. It will show a movie and list it as being on Prime or Google movies, but when you click on it, it will take you to the generic prime screen, not necessarily to that movie. Then it showed Netflix’s Daredevil as being on Hulu and Google (not Netflix) and then when I clicked on it, then it showed Netflix. I cannot seem to get back to the screen that shows the apps, so you have to use voice search to get to an app. Though it did pop up Plex quickly without saying “Would you like to Download” when I said plex. Not sure if it found it when I connected to Google, or if that is always preloaded or what. I still had to log into almost all my streaming apps.

    It will show me a movie that I have in Plex when I voice searched, but would not play it when I clicked on it.

    I have an antenna for local channels and it will not show. I could pay for Sling and it work, if I got the only box that works with Sling (not HD HomeRun that I already have). And it has all the number keys and a channel up and down button like the old Tivo remotes, but I cannot see how they are usable. The volume buttons seem to control the TV, but do not show the vol on the TV so hard to know what the vol is.

    I was hoping it would be extremely easy and be good for my MIL to use, but right now, it seems like a Chromecast with Tivo software on top. It was really easy to cast from my phone to the screen, but I use that functionality almost never. Maybe it will get better over time, but for now, I still like my Roku way better.

  5. I might have been interested in it if it was released as an app for $15 on the Play store. I’m not buying yet another streaming device, especially one that appears to be a half assed attempt like this one.

  6. Joe, ouch! ;)

    Jeffery, much of what you describe is the native Android TV presentation vs TiVo’s secret sauce (which is really just an app). The circle button on the remote should bring you to the Android TV homescreen and the voice search stuff is also Google’s. The TiVo button will drop you into homescreen of TiVo’s aggregation app and the Guide button will drop you deeper into TiVo’s app to show a guide of TiVo+ and Sling TV, if you have it.

    Ronnie, pretty sure Live Guide is never coming back.

  7. I have been a TiVo user since 2011. It really ticked me off when they announced the apps for devices and they never released it. I reluctantly bought the Stream 4K as soon as it was released. It’s better than I expected. I hope they finally allow access to my TiVo. I had quite like the Stream 4K. TiVo may be onto something but possibly a little too late.

  8. First impressions of the TS4K since using over the weekend;
    Not So Good:
    – Remote (volume, power, input, mute) is a hit or miss if these functions work on all TVs (even new TVs). Or more notably these remote functions stay working on TVs. Reading reviews on Reddit and TiVo Community as well, many indicate the same issues. Remote volume, power, input, mute start working, then stop, or don’t work at all. No option to get working, troubleshoot, or manual program them. Going from a Roku Stick that has volume/power on the remote working just fine on same TV that TS4K does not (and yes troubleshooted though the CEC options).
    – Random Black Screen – randomly goes to black screen, no way to get out. Need to pull the AC adapter to reboot, no way around it. Reading reviews on Reddit and TiVo Community as well, many report the same issues while experiencing this while navigating the apps.
    – NOT the UI you are looking for – Users thinking they would get some semblance of the same experience as the Hydra UI, not at all. “My Shows” shows you just my shows (name, cover art, description and what service has it), That’s about it! The TS4K is an application just layered onto an Android TV, using a nice remote. If your looking for a service just for this, I’d recommend ReelGood, Just Stream It or maybe even TV Time. Does about the same thing as this.
    – TS4K My Shows – No definitive indicator (bell, flag, etc.) that a new recording/ep. is available. If you click though all your shows (also movies are bundled in as well just for the heck of it), just shows you in writing you have a new recording, of course only if you are using Sling. Does not show/alert you when a new episode (from a stream) are available. When you go to them, no lists to play from (like Hydra UI does). Basically, a short cut to that app/service.
    – Sling TV OTA Channels Integration – NONE! No OTA channels integration in the tv guide or search/recordings from AirTV. Something that would be a must from TiVo, it lacks. Can’t watch OTA channels in the TS4K app from your AIRTV. Need to navigate to the Sling app and watch OTA channels as well as OTA recordings. Also, can’t schedule recordings from the TS4K app from OTA channels either.
    – First time setup – issues with first time setup, not letting me setup TS4K on 5G Wi-Fi, but this might be something with my router or settings. Was able to on my 2.4G no issues.
    GOOD:
    – Remote – When the remote does work on my other TVs, love having a remote that does volume, power, input and mute all on one remote.
    – $50 Android TV – gave me a reason to swap out my Rokus with Android TVs, so now I can use the Channels DVR app instead of watching my Channels DVR recordings in Plex.
    – USB-C – Can connect a USB Hub to the USB-C port. Use to expand the memory, and a LAN port and extra USB ports (if needed).

    I am holding out hope that the app is improved upon, randomly black screen issue and remote issues are addressed. Was a great marketing hype, but not even close to a solution like everyone was expecting. I used TiVo for years, switching back and forth from solutions. Time will tell if they can improve this app.

  9. Got mine yesterday. My Vizio television turns off when I hit the Power button, then turns back on to a blank screen.

  10. So far I like my Steam 4K, it offers voice and consolidates everything into one location. I’m running Netflix, Hulu, Prime, Pluto, and Tivo+ without any issues. Not 100% on the guide function, it seems to only show the Tivo+ stuff and didn’t add Pluto like I thought (tried it through the setup, nothing so far.) Took a bit to figure out the buttons (Circle to go back to main app screen, color circles for voice.) Voice is a little slow but functional. Doesn’t seem to integrate with my existing Tivo system (that’s super disappointing but I’m looking to potentially replace everything with Stream 4K and drop Cox cable all together.) Excited to try Sling, never used it before, so I’m hoping of the best so I can finally drop Cox. In all, I haven’t had any issues with my Stream 4K yet and I’m glad to see them put Sling and Disney+ in it.

  11. I’d consider buying the TiVo Stream if I was able to watch shows recorded on my home Bolt out of home.

    Still waiting for TiVo’s AppleTV app that was announced in January 2019. Yes, I know Ted recently said it was “in limbo”.

    Another option I’d be interested in is a Slingbox app for AppleTV instead of having to screen mirror the ios app from an old iPhone. The latter is my current solution for watching home recorded or live TiVo content remotely.

  12. Since Ted is no longer at TiVo, I wonder who will be advocating on our behalf inside TiVo?

  13. They let their fire TV app die a few years ago, and hinted at a new version early last year. ..still no app.. I was hoping they’d feature it within their own streaming device, but of course not. Won’t be buying/supporting unless/until they implement DVR playback. Even better, If they come out with an app that integrates home TiVo DVRs into Android TV (share a TiVo tuner in Live Channels, or Live TV on Stream 4k) + full access to DVR recordings fully integrated in Android TV devices and TiVo Stream 4K. Charge $50 and support it.

  14. This may be a dumb question, but I don’t know how tightly Google dictates how Android TV is implemented… Does this device have full access to the Play Store, so that you can install any Android TV-capable app?

  15. Another question (sorry, should have included it in with the previous one):

    How well does YouTube TV (assuming you can add it at all) integrate in? I thought I remember reading that a recent Android TV update had it so that it’s more integrated in with the ATV home screen – that still the case on this device?

  16. DK, they hinted for years… and then at CES 2019 actually showed off streaming clients, with an anticipated spring 2019 launch. New CEO came onboard May 2019. And here we are.

    Jeremy K, yes I believe this device is certified for all of the Play Store. YouTube TV would be just another app as far as TiVo is concerned not integrated into their custom viewport so to speak. However, the voice search is universal and Google does do some cool homescreen tricks although it sounds like TiVo pinned the first two apps in the top row and commandeered the second row.

    Jeremy 1, seeing multiple reports of CEC issues on TiVo and Channels forums with no IR fallback option screen. It works for some things, doesn’t work for others, or works until it doesn’t. Hopefully they can get that sorted.

  17. Reading rumors of the new Chromecast Ultra having Android TV in it, I’ve been trying to decide if I can wait a few months for that, or just jump into this…. Seeing reviews of it so far, I’m thinking I can wait.

    It’s too bad TiVo has fallen so far. They were such a pioneer, and now it’s just… sad.

  18. Well, I cut the cord when the sports stopped. I planned on getting Youtube tv, but I may hold off for a while since I have the Roamio and 4 minis. I do not miss the tuning adapter at all.

    So, sell the tivo setup and move on or give Spectrum another chance?

    We have streaming or fire/Roku on all the tvs. I don’t have a lot of interest in the streamer if it can’t access the Roamio.

  19. I will not give Tivo another cent until they release the apps that were promised or provide some form of upgrade path. Had enough.

  20. Tried everything to fix the auto-repower bug. Check the CEC on my television, did all updates, still a problem. There are some bugs to be worked out.

  21. I am a longtime TiVo user and am very happy with the Stream4k. The interface and speed make it stand out from the pack. I was never a fan of Android TV until now. I have a Sling TV 7 day trial but I am also able to use YouTube TV. The Android app store has every app needed. You can switch from Sling TV or TiVo Plus into any app via the assistant button. The app switching speed is instant. It has moved the app switching process to the background. Very nice product. I have an edge and mini setup but the presentation is so much cleaner on the switch. The TiVo Plus channels actually do work and there seems to be more then normal. Wow great product.

  22. All my TiVo’s are Lifetime/All-in, so not additional costs for YEARS. The TiVo’s I have make EXCELLENT OTA DVR’s. However, I have a feeling this cheapskate CEO will, at some inevitable point, simply turn his back on retail DVR’s and turn our TiVo’s into bricks (he will use MSO’s as the new beta testers–that’s how cheap and dumb I think he is). I have a sense that everybody else at TiVo saw great value in the promised App and, perhaps, even allowing the Stream 4K to at least access a TiVo DVR (one-at-a-time as protection to selling Mini’s) for viewing on stream 4K, but this CEO seems CLUELESS to the TiVo legacy and what TiVo owners would find minimal to continue with thier investment in TiVo products. It’s as if the new CEO just axed projects to cut costs and “change course” for a “new” direction.

    I have hope that Amazon will soon release a 2nd Gen Recast Fire TV (along with its fixes, at least that has been the Amazon history). I will get a 2nd Gen Recast and have already made Fire TV’s my main connected device, so I am good to go with Recast in all but one room I have a TV, and YES, DAVE, I happily use the SlingPlayer for FireTV often and it is still AWSOME (that is how I can watch TiVo or Dish in another room if I wish–AND I almost daily use SlingPlayer on my PC’s and quite often on my Tablets and Phone. Threre are no problems with ads on any of the mobile apps (FREE versions) and an ad strip only shows in the awful “Standard View” (what idiot would want to watch in that view), but NEVER in “Full Window” reduced to stay on top of screen (viewing while still working on PC) and NEVER in “Full View.” It aint a problem, and I don’t see the ads in the views I watch content.

    Sadly, this CEO is driving TiVo, as we know it today, off a cliff. I think he is like those awful and crude comedians who do the very last set at a club: it is how they clear the room :).

  23. For me, the worst thing about the STream 4K is the forced HDR10 or forced Dolby Vision. It’s like nails on a chalkboard to me. So I have not opened up my second Stream 4K yet. And if they don’t fix the issue by the end of my return period, I will probably just return my second Stream 4K until they can fix this glaring error. Although I will keep the one I already opened.

  24. for bg, i have appletv 4k, firetv, and roku. and a dish hopper 3. and i too miss the lack of wired ethernet but there is an unused type-c port, so perhaps in future.

    i have quite a few services linked–all the ones they offer i think except not the paid sling stuff. the free sling stuff doesn’t show up in the guide, btw, only tivo free stuff.

    install went very smoothly but although the /input/ and /power/ buttons work on my 3-4 year old sony tv, the volume controls do not. i had a two hour chat with tivo and they had to bump the issue upstairs and i haven’t heard back. also, there’s a section in the online manual about pairing the remote which erases the programming and i have to use the /reset/ button or manual pairing method to recover from that. so i suggest avoiding the manual for troubleshooting that.

    having programmed a harmony universal remote for all my streaming devices, i was quite impressed with how well the 3-5 buttons on the mini-peanut work with the various services. but for some you have to hit pause twice and what shows and episodes you watched aren’t remembered on some services.

    but i guess the worst bug is with disney+ where the audio drops out until you do a rewind in some instances. come to think of it, the audio seems to fade and grow at random at times.

    i did have one freeze, but it was updating a whole batch of android apps at once and i suspect it was a one-off thing.

    the image quality is very good–as good as any of the streamers. so it’s well worth the $50 intro price imo, especially if they’ll tweak and bug fix and update.

    /guy

  25. Guess I made too broad of an assumption regarding YouTubeTV integration (on an Android TV device no less). I use Sling and YouTubeTV and the Stream 4K makes me do exactly what they said I wouldn’t have to do, jump between apps. What about Hulu + Live TV? Any guide integration there? They force feed you Tivo+ content in their guide alongside Sling, but there’s no value in that to me and I can’t disable it. Annoying…

    It’s certainly better than my AirTV Player (up to date version of Android TV), and far less expensive than the NVIDIA device, but I see nothing that should cause Roku any concern. There are a lot of people chirping about legacy Tivo integrations, etc., but the Stream 4K has absolutely zero to do with Tivo in my estimation. It’s an Android TV streaming device with fancy Tivo and Guide buttons, but I find the circle button the most useful (to view all my apps in a single screen).

    Couple of other complaints. Content I know is available with certain services (Disney+ for example), is not always visible when using the Tivo Stream interface (fancy silver button). Google voice search will return the content, but I shouldn’t have to double-check their work. Along that same vein, when navigating the Tivo Stream interface and locating a particular movie/show (where the services are correctly identified), there’s no differentiation between “included in your service”, vs. “you can rent or buy said movie/show here”, or “you own this already”. That is beyond obnoxious. Don’t point me to another app if I can get it free as part of another subscription (again, Disney+ for example), or if i already bought it somewhere else.

    I know they delayed the release while everyone was sitting at home under quarantine, but I feel like it was for good reasons. It’s clearly not ready to deliver on what was promised. If they are able/willing to integrate other services into their Tivo Stream guide, that would be a HUGE step in the right direction. I assume the other buggy stuff with their software will get worked out over time.

    All that said, I don’t think I’ll return it, too inexpensive to bother with that hassle.

    My 2 cents…

  26. The remote is nice, and the ability to change channels by keying in the number with a MobiTV provider is a BIG plus. I wish the Guide button would bring up the app guide you are in, and not the TiVo Stream guide.

  27. Zero support for OTA channels in the guide via Sling’s Airtv 2 unit making the user exit the Tivo app to run the sling app. BONEHEAD thing to ignore when you are touting that there is no need to exit the Tivo App.

  28. Two more big misses are the forced always-on HDR and the inability to turn your TV off without the Tivo Stream 4K turning it back on again.

    Workaround they’ve told us to do is “turn off HDMI CEC on your TV.” Not an answer since I use it for my Roku also.

    But at least they acknowledge the Stream turning the TV back on is an issue. All I’ve gotten on the HDR issue is the standard “we’ve received your case” form letter.

  29. I like the always-on HDR. Reduces annoying switching and I have the AppleTV setup the same way.

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