TiVo Stream 4K launched with problems, but a fix is coming

TiVo is due to update its $50 Android TV streamer soon to fix random restarts and dropouts like ones we experienced in testing.

Ty Pendlebury Editor
Ty Pendlebury is a journalism graduate of RMIT Melbourne, and has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
Expertise Ty has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He majored in Cinema Studies when studying at RMIT. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast. Credentials
  • Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
David Katzmaier Editorial Director -- Personal Tech
David reviews TVs and leads the Personal Tech team at CNET, covering mobile, software, computing, streaming and home entertainment. We provide helpful, expert reviews, advice and videos on what gadget or service to buy and how to get the most out of it.
Expertise A 20-year CNET veteran, David has been reviewing TVs since the days of CRT, rear-projection and plasma. Prior to CNET he worked at Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as the Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics. Credentials
  • Although still awaiting his Oscar for Best Picture Reviewer, David does hold certifications from the Imaging Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology on display calibration and evaluation.
Ty Pendlebury
David Katzmaier
2 min read
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When we received the TiVo Stream 4K video streamer for review we ran into some issues. The device, a $50 streamer similar to a Roku or Fire TV but based on Google's Android TV system, would repeatedly lock up and restart after playing video from Netflix and Disney Plus on an LG CX OLED TV. Audio dropouts occurred on a Sony X950G TV whether we were using HDMI ARC or connecting the TiVo unit directly to an  AV receiver . We even had trouble pairing the included remote at startup. The problems occurred with multiple Stream 4K units, both purchased by CNET and sent by TiVo.

And we're not the only ones. Reddit users have reported similar audio dropouts and ZatzNotFunny reported about a number of problems including a power issue where the TV would randomly turn back on

We asked TiVo about the problems as part of our usual review process. A representative said in a phone interview that the black-screen issue is caused by a 4K TV and streamer together negotiating the incorrect HDR mode (Dolby Vision versus HDR10). The company expects to release the update at the end of June. The update will automatically select the HDR version as well as enable users to turn off the "always on" HDR effect. 

TiVo's rep suggested that as a temporary fix users should choose HDR10 by default from the Stream's settings menu (Settings> Device Preferences>More> Screen Resolution> HDR10). TiVo also suggested users install Google's latest  Android TV  updates in the Play Store. We applied the HDR10 fix and found it worked on the Sony X950G, but not on the LG CX.

TiVo's late June update is not the first major fix the company is applying to the device. On the night of June 5 an update rolled out to address two more issues: a black screen that appeared when switching between the Stream app and the home screen (we experienced this only once) and something TiVo called Ghost TV, where the HDMI CEC function on would randomly power on or switch inputs on a connected TV.

The Stream 4K has performed well on other TVs in the review process, including an older HD plasma model. Look for a full CNET review once the latest update becomes available.

Watch this: TiVo Stream 4K streamer offers Android TV for cheaper