TiVo’s anticipated TiVo Stream 4K, first introduced at CES, is now available for purchase. Just a few days past its anticipated April launch [have you noticed the world these days?], the Stream is TiVo’s fully-digital streaming device, combining linear and on-demand TV services in one, inexpensive device.
This represents a major shift for TiVo. While previously teasing the idea of cloud DVR services, those were always limited to providers. This is a major pivot in TiVo’s product offering from the gold standard of DVRs to being a content aggregation and delivery company.
As we reported initially, one of the Stream’s differentiating features is TiVo’s partnership with SLING TV, providing fully integrated guide and programming information—pretty much just as if you had cable. Your SLING channels appear seamlessly in TiVo’s guide and interface. Along with TiVo’s own TiVo+ channels.
If you’re a cord-cutter because you hate bundles…well…SLING TV may not be for you. SLINGin’ is all about BUNDLin’. You start by picking your base bundle, then you pick which (of 15 different) bundles you want to add. Plus premiums. There’s even a bundle of bundles. It’s probably cheaper than cable, but no less frustrating.
It’s also worth noting that as far as “locals” go, SLING only offers FOX and CBS. In some markets. ABC, NBC? You’ll need to rely on Hulu. SLING’s web site is largely unnavigable, so just Google what you’re looking for to better understand SLING’s offerings.
When purchasing a TiVo Stream, new subscribers will get a glaringly unremarkable 7-day free trial of SLING TV to give it a spin.
Streaming for the Majors
What really differentiates TiVo Stream 4K isn’t the Atmos, 4K HDR, and every other checkbox it needs to satisfy. It’s TiVo’s ability to aggregate content between services and surface what’s relevant to you. How many times have you sat at your TV, remote in hand, flipping between services looking for something to watch? Sure, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and others try to solve this problem, but do they? Amazon is shamelessly pimping its own content above all else. Apple TV comes close, but see our last sentence. Roku is…well…Roku. Even with its aggregated search, Roku still feels like little more than an app platform.
TiVo is striving for more. TiVo is looking to be your aggregator. Your recommendation engine. Your one-stop-shop for the top streaming services and cable channels. This aggregation includes Netflix, which the incumbent (Apple) has not yet secured. These services will all be integrated into the TiVo experience:
- Sling TV
- Amazon Prime Video
- HBO Now
- Google Play
- Tubi TV
TiVo customers rave about the TiVo experience. Sure, it’s lost some luster (and high-profile customers) with the somewhat blundered, then backpedaled, Hydra experience and the clunky out-of-context pre-roll ads they’re now asserting before your own recordings. But largely, TiVo customers value the TiVo experience. That’s what the company is attempting to repackage and deliver here, and that is what will make or break this new product.
Now How Much Would You Pay?
If you buy the TiVo Stream 4K now from TiVo, it will cost you about $50. This reduced price is only available through May 27, 2020. After the intitial launch, the Stream will cost just under $70—still a bargain, considering the hardware. You’re getting an Android TV “dongle” and the iconic TiVo remote, complete with the Google Assistant built in for voice search.
Additional costs? That depends on what services you subscribe to. Hulu, Netflix, CBS All Access…yeah, they all add up. Add SLING into the mix, and you’re getting close to cable bill territory. But the good news is there’s no additional fee for TiVo. No monthly subscription—no lifetime fee. $49.99 ($69.99 after the initial offering) and you’re done.
You can get the TiVo Stream 4k today at TiVo.com.
Updated 6 May 2020: Clarified timeframe on introductory pricing and integrated video services.