As was teased last year, a new Android TV dongle is hitting the market this year. At CES 2020, TiVo has officially announced the Stream 4K, an affordable streaming stick with a couple of tricks up its sleeve and a starting price of $50.
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Coming in April of this year, the TiVo Stream 4K is a capable Android TV dongle that, appropriately, has a very heavy focus on live television streamed over the internet.
The device is using a modified version of Android TV that’s very close to what you’d find on other consumer products, but with a few alternations. Android TV’s “Operator Tier Lite” allows TiVo to make tweaks such as changing the background of the homescreen and also launching its own app when the device first turns on.
That app, Stream+, is designed to bring internet TV to a single location. At launch, TiVo is bringing together channels from its own TiVo+ subscription as well as channel from SlingTV into a single guide for the Stream 4K. Using this app, you’ll be able to browse what’s on with a guide or do some channel surfing with the channel switcher buttons on the remote. That remote also includes a full number pad and shortcuts for Google Assistant and the TiVo app too.
In the brief time I was able to play with TiVo’s software, it felt fairly natural. I’m not much of a live TV guy, but this product seems like it could be a solid Android TV dongle despite a slightly annoying pop-up every time it reboots. Notably, though, it doesn’t seem like you’re forced to use that app if you don’t want to.
With Android TV, you’ll be able to do a lot more than just watch live TV. Like the Nvidia Shield TV and other Android TV products, TiVo Stream 4K can use Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, and thousands of other apps to get whatever content you want. The device even supports 4K HDR using Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos audio.
As far as the physical hardware goes, there’s a microUSB port used for power, but also a USB-C port which can be used with Ethernet adapters or used to expand the storage. The design of the Stream 4K isn’t particularly small, but it should tuck away nicely behind most TVs.
Here’s the catch, though. TiVo Stream 4K is only discounted to $50 when it first launches in April. Soon after, the product will jump back up to its $69 price tag which still seems like a pretty good deal.
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