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TiVo cuts the cable TV cord with the $49 Stream 4K box

It's not a DVR, it's a streamer running Android TV and designed to partner with the Sling TV service.

This story is part of CES 2020, our complete coverage of the showroom floor and the hottest new tech gadgets around.

TiVo made its name in DVRs in the early 2000s, and in recent years its boxes have attempted to straddle both streaming and recording TV. But the company's latest product, the Stream 4K announced at CES 2020, ditches TV recording altogether. Instead the Stream 4K integrates with the Sling TV streaming service and uses a customized version of Android TV to aggregate your streamed content.

The cloud is capable of storing an effectively infinite amount of content, and live TV streaming services in particular have made it unnecessary to record things in advance. TiVo has seen people migrate to streaming services and says it wants to meet that demand head-on with the TiVo Stream 4K. The Stream is an inexpensive piece of equipment. It'll cost $49 (about £40 or AU$70) at launch for the boxy dongle and TiVo-branded remote, and then $69 after that. That's especially affordable when judged against other Android TV boxes such as the $200 Nvidia Shield.

This 4K HDMI add-on will support Android TV apps such as Hulu and YouTube in addition to supporting both Dolby Atmos sound and Dolby Vision HDR.  

TiVo wants to become known as a content aggregator, putting all of your streaming "bundles" in a single, easy-to-browse place. To do this it's partnered with Google and integrated the company's search and metadata technology over the top of the Android TV operating system. The latest versions of Android TV surface content first and TiVo's taken this further by serving up a "now watching" column independent of any individual service you're using. The aim is to make the OS look and feel like a program guide.

TiVo Stream 4K will launch with Sling TV as its preferred source for subscription TV. A TiVo spokesperson told me that the Stream won't be compatible with the existing TiVo hardware at launch as it was "designed from the ground up," but that integration is on the roadmap.


Meanwhile, Sling subscribers will be able to search for TV content via the interface -- or via the Voice Remote. They'll see a variety of shows offered by Sling TV alongside the free channels offered through TiVo Plus. The Stream will include the TiVo+ service as the preferred source of free, ad-sponsored television and movies.

The TiVo Stream 4K will be available in April 2020.