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This TiVo Stream 4K Review was written by Troy from TROYPOINT after using the Android TV Box on a regular basis for three days.
This streaming device was purchased directly from the TiVo Website and this is not a sponsored post.
In this review I will provide you with my true feelings regarding the TiVo Stream 4K.
TiVo Stream 4K Initial Thoughts
These are my thoughts prior to unboxing the TiVo Stream 4K.
I’ve been looking forward to the release of the TiVo Stream 4K as I’m excited to see something challenge the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K.
I would guess that the Fire TV Stick 4K is currently the most popular streaming device on the market today. Most of that popularity comes from the sub $50 price tag and ability to stream 4K content. Plus, the Fire TV Stick 4K allows for sideloading so cord-cutters can install their favorite free APKs.
As of this review, the TiVo Stream 4K is selling for $49.99 which is the same price as the Fire TV Stick 4K. TiVo has advertised that this is their introductory rate and that the price will climb to $69.99 after that. In my opinion, TiVo would make a mistake raising their price as that extra 20 bucks will make a difference and the Fire TV Stick 4K won’t lose its coveted status.
I like the fact that this unit includes a USB C port which should allow for connecting external devices such as thumb drives, Ethernet adapter, keyboards, etc.
In my opinion, the biggest shortcoming of the Fire TV Stick 4K is the lack of expandable storage. Yes, we can achieve expanding storage on a Fire TV Stick 4K by using a hack but the process is less than ideal.
Expanding storage allows us to plug in an external hard drive and then format that drive as internal storage. This allows for more space when installing applications and storing app specific data as well.
Both the TiVo Stream 4K and Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K only come with 8GB of internal storage and this fills up rather quickly. If you like playing games on these devices, you can easily max out the internal storage by installing a couple of games.
One other feature that I like seeing is the use of Android TV as the operating system on this new streaming device.
The most popular systems running Android TV are currently the NVIDIA Shield models and maybe this new media player can give them a run for their money. It’s important to note that this device does not sport the same power that has made the Shield king for the past few years. You won’t see too many complaints from those who use the Shield.
There are generic Android TV Boxes running the true Android TV operating system but most of them don’t allow for the playback of Netflix and Amazon Prime in HD quality. The TiVo Stream 4K does allow for this.
Yes, the Fire TV models are all running Fire OS which is based on the Android Operating system but it is still more closed than Android TV. I personally prefer Android TV over Fire OS due to its more open nature.
Unboxing & Setup
The TiVo Stream 4K comes with everything that you need to get started using the device.
The box includes the TiVo Stream 4K, power cord, remote control, 2 triple A batteries for remote, and a user manual.
Immediately I noticed the USB C port which should allow for connecting external storage, USB hub, Ethernet adapter, external keyboards, etc.
Setting up the device was a simple process.
After powering on the device, I was asked to pair the remote control which only took a few seconds.
Once the remote control was paired, I was greeted with additional screens to complete the setup process.
One feature that was different from most setup routines were the questions inquiring about the types of movies and TV shows that I prefer. TiVo does this so they can provide the end-user with better suggestions through their TiVo Stream app which is available once you have logged in.
During the setup process I was prompted to sign in with both my Google and TiVo account. This wasn’t a problem as I had already created my TiVo account when I placed the order for the media player.
Once the setup process was finished I started testing all of the apps.
Streaming Services & Applications
I started by testing the “verified services and apps” such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and YouTube application.
4K playback through YouTube worked without a hitch and streamed crisp video with no lag or buffering whatsoever.
Netflix and Amazon Prime also worked as expected and served up HD video quality as well.
The device comes with TiVo’s app called TiVo Stream which aggregates all of your streaming services into one area.
The application also includes some free live channels as well though the TiVo+ section of the app.
TiVo refers to this app as, “One place for all your entertainment.”
This is a cool app for those who have subscriptions to multiple premium services such as Sling, Netflix, HBO Now, Prime Membership, Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, and Google Play Movies & TV.
If you don’t use those premium services, you probably won’t spend much time in the app unless some of the live channels appeal to you.
I’ve seen quite a few comments on the Internet where people are complaining that the device doesn’t come with a certain app. These people need to understand that most popular applications can be installed directly through the Google Play Store.
Now for the most popular question.
Can I install 3rd party apps or sideload apps onto the TiVo Stream 4K? The answer is yes.
I installed our Downloader application onto the device through Google Play and then proceeded to install the TROYPOINT App with Rapid App Installer.
Each of the applications worked flawlessly during the short time-frame that I tested them.
The one thing that I notice while going through the various menus and shortcuts is how responsive everything is. The TiVo Stream 4K is very snappy.
TiVo Stream 4K Remote
TiVo did an excellent job with their remote control.
The remote feels very durable and fits comfortably in the hand.
Below you will find a description of what each button on the remote does.
This remote does allow for controlling a television but I have not been successful at pairing. TiVo needs to release instructions on how to pair the remote properly with televisions. There is currently no way to do this through the settings menu on the TiVo Stream 4K.
Expanding Storage & Adding Peripheral Devices Through USB C or OTG
The USB C port was not compatible with some external devices that I tried connecting. I also encountered some that would work sometimes but not others. I would suggest not putting a lot of trust into this USB C port for now. Hopefully TiVo will release a firmware update that will make this more reliable.
You need a USB C adapter if you would like to plug in regular USB devices. Luckily, I had one laying around from my Samsung Phone where it came included.
I was excited to see the USB C port on the TiVo Stream 4K as this opens quite a few possibilities for us.
Yes, the port does work for connecting most external devices.
I connected a USB hub, Ethernet adapter, USB drive, and wireless keyboard and they all worked fine.
My USB drive was recognized by the system and I was able to expand the internal storage per the video below.
I tried expanding internal storage with multiple USB flash drives. Some of them showed as working and others didn’t It seemed that the smaller drives worked better than the larger ones.
The system would hang on the “Formatting USB Drive…” screen. Or it would simply kick me back to the home screen of the TiVo Stream 4K or completely restart.
I then tried connecting an OTG cable to the box and this seemed more reliable than the USB C port. An OTG cable is popular on Fire TV Sticks because it allows for the connection of external devices via USB port.
I was successful connecting a UGREEN USB 3.0 Hub Ethernet Adapter 10/100/1000 to the OTG Cable and I then plugged in a 256GB Sandisk 3.0 USB drive. Everything was recognized and I was able to expand the storage on the device.
I then tried a different configuration, came back to the above method and it didn’t work. This tells me that there may be something going on with the power on the device and when it has been in use for awhile, it can’t handle these additional connections. I don’t know but maybe a future firmware release will fix this problem.
Nonetheless I got it working again by continually disconnecting and connecting the external devices.
Special thanks to one of our subscribers JC who sent me instructions on how to enable external storage on this device.
See video for details below.
How to Expand Storage on TiVo Stream 4K Video
Download/Upload Speed Tests
I used the Analiti Speed Test app for the following tests.
I have 400 Mpbs download speed plan through my Internet Service Provider.
During these tests, I am connected to the 5Ghz band on my Asus AC3100 Router. This router resides in the same room as my TiVo Stream 4K (approximately 20 feet away from wireless router).
I’m using IPVanish VPN as my VPN on Chicago Server 04 (chi-a04).
It’s possible connecting a USB Ethernet adapter through the USB C port or OTG Cable. I am not testing those speeds due to the fact that this extra component doesn’t come with the device.
TiVo Stream 4K Download/Upload Speed with VPN Off
Download Speed: 317 Mbps (very strong wireless network card to get speeds like this)
Upload Speed: 126 Mbps
TiVo Stream 4K Download/Upload Speed with VPN On
Download Speed: 64 Mbps (plenty of speed to stream 4K content)
Upload Speed: 38 Mbps
I paired my NVIDIA Shield game controller with the TiVo Stream 4K and tested out a few games that I installed through Google Play Store.
As expected, everything was extremely smooth and I experienced no lag whatsoever.
Google Play has some great games that are available for install and unfortunately this is an area often overlooked by many cord-cutters.
TiVo Stream 4K Specs
- Processor: Amlogic S905Y2
- RAM Memory: 2GB DDR4
- Internal Flash Storage: eMMC 8GB
- Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n/ac 2.45/5G MIMO 2T2R Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth: 4.2
- Video Decoding: H.265 HEVC [email protected] up to 10bits HDR 4K*[email protected], H.264 AVC [email protected] up to 10bits HDR 4K*[email protected], MPEG-4 [email protected] up to [email protected], AVS Jizhun Profile up to [email protected], MPEG-2 [email protected] up to [email protected], MPEG-1 [email protected] up to [email protected], RealVideo 8/9/10 up to [email protected], WebM up to VGA, HDR; Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG, Video Codec; VP9 Profile 2(up to 4K x [email protected]
- Video File Format: Support *.mkv, *.wmv,*.mpg,* .mpeg,*.dat, * avi,* .mov,* .iso,* .mp4,* .rm,* ,jpg,* .bmp,* gif etc…
- Video Output: HDMI 2.0a, HDCP2.2
- Aspect Ratio: Auto, Full screen
- Video Resolution: [email protected], 1080p/i, 720p
- Audio Decoding: MEPG, AAC, HE-ACC, OGG, OGA, FLAC, ALAC, Ape, M4A, RM, MPEG-1 layer1/2, MPEG-2 Layer II, Dolby Digital/Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos, DTS, WMA, WMA Pro (WMV optional)
- Audio Mode: Mono/Stereo/Left/Right
- DC Input Range: 5V/1.0A
- Power Consumption: 5 W
- Interface: HDMI 2.0a, Micro USB2.0, USB-C
- Certifications: FCC, UL/ETL, HDMI, HDCP2.2, MPEG LA (MPEG2, H.264, H.265), HEAAC, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Play Ready, Google, Netflix
What I Like
- No problems playing 4K media files
- Snappy interface
- Android TV operating system
- Netflix & Amazon Prime work in HD
- USB C port works for most external devices that I tested
- OTG cable works properly
- Allows for sideloading apps not available in Google Play Store
- TiVo Stream App works well for those with premium services
- Fast download speeds with VPN on and off
What I Dislike
- Expanding storage requires changing settings in developer options – would be nice if it worked without doing that like the NVIDIA Shield does
- Instructions needed for pairing remote with television
- Low internal storage at only 8GB
- No Gigabit Ethernet port
- Regular price of $69.99 will be $20 higher than Fire TV Stick 4K
Final Thoughts on the TiVo Stream 4K
I really like the TiVo Stream 4K and those who need extra storage will enjoy the opportunity to expand that with an external drive.
As of this post they are selling the TiVo Stream 4K for $49.99 which is $20 off regular price according to their Website. TiVo indicates on their Website that this offer will end on 5/27/20. If they do increase their price by $20, I feel that most cord cutters will opt for the Fire TV Stick 4K. I’m not sure the average consumer will find the benefits of owning a TiVo Stream 4K worth the extra twenty dollars.
It’s great to see a new device like this hit the market that contends with the Fire TV models and allows for sideloading to boot.
As of now, for me it is a toss-up on whether to buy the TiVo Stream 4K or the Fire TV Stick 4K.
If you need more than 8GB of internal storage for apps, games, and app data, I would suggest going with the TiVo Stream 4K. But, if you know you won’t be installing a lot of apps and games, I would then stick with the Fire TV Stick 4K.
I hope that you enjoyed my TiVo Stream 4K review.
Let us know your thoughts or questions in the comment section below.
This article and overall rating will be updated if and when TiVo releases updates with feature enhancements.
4.5 out of 5 Stars