Skip to main content

For TiVo, Better Late Than Never?

(Image credit: TiVo)

TiVo said on May 6 that its new HDMI-connected streaming dongle, the TiVo Stream 4K, is finally available for purchase at an early-bird price of $49.99.

The debut of the product came at least six days late: TiVo had introduced its big entry into the streaming wars, and its big departure from the technology it pioneered, the digital video recorder, back in January at CES. And it said at the time that the device would be available in “April.”

If TiVo’s transformational new product, based on Android TV streaming tech, was delayed relative to its own schedule, it also seems very late in the broader scheme of the somewhat mature OTT device market, now dominated by Roku and Amazon.

Beyond initial price parity with 4K streaming dongles marketed by TiVo’s two bigger rivals, the TiVo Stream 4K seems to check all the prerequisites: it has all the OTT apps anyone else has via Android TV access to the Google Play Store; ditto with voice control via Google Assistant; it also supports Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision; and its peanut-shaped remote control will bring back warm fuzzy feelings for anyone who ever used one of TiVo’s pioneering DVRs.

To really catch up in the streaming device business, though, TiVo is counting on its advanced search and recommendation technology. With consumers taking, on average, 11 minutes to find something they want to watch, TiVo chief revenue officer Matt Milne thinks the company’s new dongle has an advantage over Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast, Apple TV and other devices.

“We’re investing well over $100 million a year at a foundational level to help people with discovery,” Milne said, speaking at a virtual keynote event produced by B+C parent Future on April 28. “This is a product built for the streaming wars. It’s built to bring all that content together.”

The TiVo Stream 4K is available for order directly from TiVo online. It’s promotional price gets bumped up to $70 in late May.