REVIEW: TiVo Stream 4K, the alternative to Chromecast Google TV


TiVo Stream 4K is an interesting Android TV-Stick of which we present today on our review. This Tivo TV-Stick has Android TV 9, Google certification and all the permissions to watch streaming services in high quality.

The small TiVo Stream 4K integrates the Amlogic S905Y2 SoC that we have known for some time but now seems to take off in the international market. This TV-Stick with Android TV 9 system as has a fairly complete bluetooth remote control and microphone for the Google Assistant with which we can control this device. It also has Chromecast to send content from our mobile and all permissions for streaming apps approved. Let’s see in our review how this TiVo Stream 4K behaves and what it offers.

  • TiVo Stream 4K is available on Amazon.com only for $37.98 (€31).
  • It can be imported worldwide via Shipito and will cost us about 12€ extra, you have to order using USPS to avoid taxes.

PRODUCT DETAILS

TiVo Stream 4K
SoC: Amlogic S905Y2 Quad Core 4x ARM-A53 @ 2GHz (64bit) / GPU Mali-G31 MP2 / 12nm.
System: Android TV 9 (32bit).
RAM, Storage and network: 2GB RAM / 8GB eMMC / Wifi ac + Bluetooth.
Ports: HDMI 2.1 / USB 3.0 OTG.
Extras: BT + IR Controller / Manual / Adapter DC 5V 1A (5W).
Materials and dimensions: Plastic / Without LED / 80 x 55 x 18 mm / 55 gr.

Unboxing

The small Android TV-Stick TiVo Stream 4K comes in a cardboard box with a image of the device in the top, inside we found the TV-Stick, Bluetooth + IR  remote, Manual, HDMI cable and a DC 5V 1A adapter.

Description

As we can see the TiVo Stream 4K has a fairly simple design and designed to hang behind our TV as the body of the Stick has a cable with HDMI 2.1 connector. On the back we have the micro USB for charging and on one side the USB 3.0 OTG connector. The remote control is Bluetooth + IR has a microphone for Google Assistant, we also have buttons for use the remote with our TV and thus to change channel or video output, an extra option that we can configured in the first boot.

This small TV-Stick has a Wifi ac + Bluetooth chip with internal wifi antennas. The cooling system fulfills its function well because it hardly heats up. We discovered the pairing button on one of the sides in case the connection with the remote control fails.

  • Remote Control: Basic BT +IR Remote with mic / Compatible with keyboard and mouse / App control for Android TV.
  • USB port: It allows us to connect a USB 3.0 HUB, for peripherals or to add Ethernet.

SYSTEM AND PERFORMANCE

Environment and Android system

We connect the TiVo Stream 4K to the power and it starts automatically. The first thing we are shown in a code to activate the device and an activation website, we just have to go to this address and fill in the data.

  • Go to the site: www.tivo.com/activate/stream4k/
  • If you are in US fill in the data and the device will be activated
  • If you are outside US fillthe form and use a US ZIP CODE such as: 07001 – 08989

Once we go through the simple activation process we get to the configuration wizard where we can adjust the Wi-Fi, define which apps will be installed by default and select the type of content we want to see on the main screen. Once the configuration is finished we get to the new Android TV launcher based on rows with tabs of the contents or shortcuts to the installed apps. By default the system comes with some rows that can be disabled, we will not be able to disable the TiVo recommended row. The overall performance is very good, we can move smoothly and quickly between menus.

  • Launcher: We can change de the launcher / Android UI rendering at 1080p.
  • Multitasking and access: Multitasking NOT available / Notifications the upper  icon.
  • Languages and Google Play: All the international Android languajes / Google Play for Android TV installed.
  • Check our Android TV User Manual to install classic Android Apps, prevent screen rotation and much more.

The TiVo Stream 4K is designed for the US market services and offers us Sling compatibility and the TiVo app where we have a compilation of all streaming options, something we can opt to ignore because the Android TV launcher itself already offers us these functions.

System

We check the system data and the options it includes as far as root is concerned, we also observe what ignition systems this device allows us. This TV-Box will have updates via OTA to correct possible failures.

  • On/Off Controls: Sleep mode / Shutdown settings available.
  • System version and root: Android TV 9 (32 bit) / NO rooted / NO root menu / CPU r0p4 (S905Y2) / Model SEI400TV.
  • Support:  OTA support / IMG firmware NOT available, only OTA update.

Network, storage, RAM and ports

The TiVo Stream 4K TV-Stick has 2 GB of RAM DDR and for storage we have in this version 8 GB eMMC that we can expand with a USB memory. It has a USB 3.0 Type-C OTG port to connect external drives (read only), peripherals or Ethernet output thanks to a USB 3.0 Type-C hub. In the network section it has a Wifi ac + Bluetooth wireless adapter that as we can see in the test results are good and the USB Ethernet adapter also behaves normally reaching good figures. The internal storage is fast and helps the system run smoothly.

7

  • Storage: Total 8GB  – Free 4GB / Expandable with a USB external memory.
  • RAM: Total 2GB – Free 1GB / DDR.
  • Network: Good speed with internal wifi antenna / Range 40dBm, good. / Bluetooth YES.
  • Read/Write Ports: USB 3.0 / On external USB drives it is only possible to read data.
  • We recommend reading our Tutorial SAMBA on Android networks if we are going to use files from our network PC.

Power and performance

Regarding performance the TiVo Stream 4K has the new Amlogic S905Y2 Quad Core SoC with ARM Cortex-A53 processors and in the graphics section a Mali-G31 MP2 GPU which is in the mid-range. This SoC is a variant of the S905X2 which is somewhat inferior to the S905X3 or the recent S905X4, but nothing important. As we can see in the results we only have a small improvement in single-core performance, it is well positioned to match the  Fire TV-Stick 4K and the new Googlecast TV and far exceeds the Xiaomi Mi TV-Stick.

As for games we can run PUBG in medium/low quality and also cloud gaming services like NVIDIA GForce Now or Google Stadia using the APK to install it. In the emulators section we can get at most run some Wii titles, but we will not have problems with 2D games of classic consoles with emulators like Retroarch or using KODI, the full OS EmuELEC is not compatible.

This SoC is manufactured in 12nm, has a fairly low power consumption and the cooling system maintains low temperatures in normal use. The processor manages the speeds correctly so as not to heat up excessively.

  • Thermals: Min. 40ºC / Working 42 ºC / Max. 60ºC / Maintains performance up to 87% / Heat zone on the top / Noise 0db
  • Consumption: Off 0.9W / Min 3W / Working 3.2W / Max. 4.5W

VIDEO AND AUDIO TEST

Video playback test

In the video playback section the TiVo Stream 4K is compatible with most modern video formats such as h.265, VP9 with native resolution support 4K@60fps HDR, although it does not support the recent AV1 codec that for now has a testimonial use. It does not have a video quality settings app and no automatic refresh rate change. We have official Dolby Vision support to get the most out of streaming services.

It is possible to use players like KODI or PLEX without the slightest problem by installing them directly from the Android TV store. In terms of audio we can play DD sound up to 7.1 Atmos and DTS up to 5.1 through its HDMI port. The Chromecast system works perfectly with all compatible services.

Video and audio results

FormatsResult
h.264 / 1080i / 8bitOK
h.264 / 1080p / 4K / 8bitOK
h.264 / 1080p / 10bit (anime)Frameskip (SW)
h.265 / 1080p / 8bitOK
h.265 / 1080p / 10bit (anime)OK
h.265 / 4K@24fps / 8bitOK
h.265 / 4K@60fps / 10bit HDROK
VP9 P1 / 4K@24fps / 8bitOK
VP9 P2 / 4K@60fps / 10bit HDROK
VP9 P2 / 8K@60fps / 10bit HDRFrameskip (SW)
AV1 / 4K@24fps / 10bitFrameskip (SW)
Max. Bitrate100 Mbps = 12,5 MB/s.
  • The maximum bitrate depends on the port used to connect or the limitations of SAMBA Networks.
  • SW = does not have hardware acceleration and may have have some frameskip in very heavy files.
Audio FormatsResult
Dolby5.1 / Plus / True HD/ Atmos = OK
DTS5.1 = OK | MA / HR / X = Core
  • PCM – Stereo only doing downmix from DD or DTS
  • Core – Only the core of the format is played back with what we passed to the Dolby or DTS base system / More info

Streaming services

We performed several tests on streaming services to check how the most popular services work. The TiVo Stream 4K offers maximum compatibility with all the most popular streaming services. We can watch in 4K HDR quality content from Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and in maximum quality others like HBO.

Streaming serviceCalidad / Audio
Youtube4K (2060p) / 5.1
Google Play Movies4K (2060p) / 5.1
Netflix4K (2060p) / 7.1 / Modified app + mouse / Netflix Guide
HBOFullHD (1080p) / Stereo / HBO Guide
Disney+4K (2060p) / 5.1 / Disney+ Guide
Amazon Prime Video4K (2060p) / 7.1 / Install APK manually / Prime Video Guide
DAZNHD (720p) / Stereo
IPTVFullHD (1080i) / Stereo

CONCLUSIONS AND BUY LINKS

Score

TiVo Stream 4K

0.00
7.7

Design

7.0/10

Hardware

8.0/10

Conectivity

7.0/10

Support

8.0/10

Price

8.5/10

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Compact and powerful
  • Android TV 9
  • All streaming certifications
  • Good BT+IR remote

Opinion

Once we have tested the TiVo Stream 4K it is possible to ensure that we are facing one of the most interesting TV-Stick on the market. In terms of power the Amlogic S905Y2 SoC is in very good place compared to its rivals Fire TV-Stick 4K or Google Chromecast TV, also leaves far behind the Xiaomi Mi TV-Stick. The included Bluetooth + IR remote control also offers us control of TV functions, without complications and we can also use it with Google Assistant.

In terms of connectivity the TiVo Stream 4K integrates a Wifi ac adapter with good speed, we can also connect a USB 3.0 HUB with Ethernet for good stability. It does not heat up excessively playing video, in normal use or playing games. The system has Android TV 9 is very stable and only has a minimal customization of TiVo.

We have all the certificates for streaming apps allowing us to play these channels in 4K HDR quality. We can also use other apps such as IPTV players, PLEX or KODI to watch local content, we have the classic limitations of this type of TV-Stick without quality control and image or automatic refresh rate change.

In short, the new TiVo Stream 4K is a TV-Stick with good performance and all the necessary certificates, a really good option if we are looking for a cheap and flexible device for streaming.

Where to buy

  • TiVo Stream 4K is available on Amazon.com only for $37.98 (€31).
  • It can be imported worldwide via Shipito and will cost us about 12€ extra, you have to order using USPS to avoid taxes.

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