TiVo Stream review: TiVo Stream

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.7
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 8.0

Average User Rating

4 stars 11 user reviews
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The TiVo Stream lets you easily stream and download programs wirelessly from your TiVo DVR to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. Setup and operation are simple.

The Bad The Stream currently only works with iOS devices, and the app functionality could be more robust. It has TiVo Premiere support only and requires a wired Internet connection for the DVR and Stream.

The Bottom Line For TiVo Premiere owners with iOS devices, the TiVo Stream is a cool addition to your AV setup and mobile life.

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The TiVo Stream is another step in the company's continued push to make its DVRs more of a whole-home solution.

The Stream, a tiny box that measures 4 inches wide by 4 inches deep by 1 inch high and weighs just 4.8 ounces, lets you stream recorded and live TV from your TiVo DVR to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch via TiVo's iOS app. It can also be used to wirelessly download programs straight to your iOS devices. (An updated Android app to work with the Stream is in the works.) And this is all done without interrupting what's playing on your TV.

It works with TiVo Premiere, TiVo Premiere XL, TiVo Premiere 4 , and TiVo Premiere XL4 (previously Premiere Elite) models, perhaps giving owners of older TiVo DVRs a reason to upgrade. Then again, at about $130, it's not quite an impulse buy or an inexpensive add-on.

Setup
If you've already got a TiVo Premiere set up, then getting the TiVo Stream up and running won't take long at all. About the biggest hiccup you might have is if your TiVo doesn't have a wired network connection either to your router or via a MoCA adapter (the Premiere 4 and XL4 have built-in MoCA support). Both the DVR and Stream need to have a wired connection.

The only jacks you'll find on the device are an Ethernet port and power input on back. Connect an Ethernet cable (one's included) to your router or MoCA adapter and the other end to the Stream, plug it in, and you're all connected. A small white light on back starts blinking, and once it finds your TiVo, it turns solid.

Screenshot by Joshua Goldman/CNET

Next, you open the TiVo for iOS app (it'll need to be up-to-date) and it should start the process of connecting the Stream to your iOS device (running iOS 5.1 or later). You do have to activate the Stream through your TiVo account before it can be linked, and you may need to enter the TiVo service number for the Stream and the media access key for your TiVo. It runs through a series of checks, and if all's well, that's it, you're done.

Streaming
The TiVo Stream's primary feature is streaming recorded programming from your TiVo DVR to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. This is done wirelessly, of course, so you need to have a decent signal to stream smoothly.

Tapping Watch Now in the upper right gives you the option of where you'd like to view. Screenshot by Joshua Goldman/CNET

From the My Shows section of the TiVo app, you can see everything recorded on your TiVo Premiere DVR. Pick a show that is already recorded or one that's in the process of recording, and tap Watch Now. You'll then be given a choice of watching on TV or your device (in my case, a first-gen iPad).

Screenshot by Joshua Goldman/CNET

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    4 stars

    The Apple TV is an indispensable living room companion for people invested in iTunes content...

  • Roku 2

    4 stars

    The Roku 2 offers tons of content sources and an innovative remote with built-in headphone...

  • Roku 1

    4 stars

    The Roku 1 has a budget price and adds 1080p video output over the similar Roku LT, but...

  • Google Chromecast

    3.5 stars

    Google's new streaming stick is designed to let you push video content to your TV from...

 

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Where to Buy

TiVo Stream

Part Number: TCDA94000
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Regional specs shown for US. AU specs are unavailable.

  • Functions digital multimedia broadcaster
  • Sound Output Mode stereo