Among the slew of new video products and service announcements at CES 2020 was word that DVR-pioneer TiVo was getting into the affordably priced streaming media player game by introducing the TiVo Stream 4K, an Android TV-powered dongle that easily connects to a TV’s HDMI port.

Like streamers from Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV and others, the dongle will access many of the leading streaming service apps and will deliver programs in up to 4K resolution with Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR) and Dolby Atmos object-based audio surround sound support. On launch, the dongle will provide support for popular streaming entertainment apps including: Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, YouTube, Sling TV, and more.

Unlike the traditional TiVo DVR products, the TiVo Stream 4K will not have television tuners or a hard drive. TiVo will instead provide program recording and storage from live TV streaming service partners, like launch partner Sling TV, which will be available to subscribe to on the device at launch. But TiVo assures, these services, features and programs will be presented in more unified and convenient way than traditional dongles and set-tops from the competition.

The TiVo Stream 4K will be available in April for a $49.99 retail ($69.99 suggested retail) and will be available at many consumer electronics stores and web sites.

TiVo Stream 4K includes a shrunken version of the company’s iconic peanut-shaped remote control that long has been included with its DVRs, to control a simple-to-navigate on-screen user interface. In addition, users will have the option to use voice commands to have TiVo conduct program searches and other tasks.

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The TiVo Stream 4K is designed to present viewers with program selections that should be most relevant to their interests. Upon startup, the service asks users a series of questions that will help it identify programs to recommend. These programs are then added to selection bars on the home screen ostensibly with shows viewers will want to watch.

During the setup process, the dongle will also give potential new cord-cutters or cord-nevers the chance to sign up for the Sling TV live OTA streaming service that starts at about $30 per month and provides the option for cloud storage of up to 10 hours of recorded programs. More hours can be added on as needed.

TiVo promises to offer an extensive list of streaming service partners including, also including HBO, Hulu and others, but no Disney+ app is available immediately. The company said it will continue to add apps and content in the future.

Because the TiVo Stream 4K dongle is Android-based it will present that platform’s familiar feel embellished with some of TiVo’s flash to keep users engaged and satiated with personalized accoutrements that keep everything simple and program recommendations aggregated and prominently presented from across multiple apps right up front.

Of course, TiVo plans to add its own previously announced ad-supported TiVo+ streaming service, offering free streamed movies and programs from 49 channels. That is expected to arrive by the end of the first quarter, and will be free with the purchase of the TiVo Stream 4K.

By Greg Tarr

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