Google has begun offering select users of its YouTube TV live-streaming service a free TiVo Stream 4K.
“To ensure our loyal YouTube TV members have a great watch experience (including the ability to watch 4K content on our optional new add-on service coming soon!), we want to offer you a free TiVo Stream 4K device,” reads an email intercepted by 9to5 Google and The Streamable.
There is a little intrigue behind the promotion, which arms users with a free promotion code and directs them to TiVo’s online store to cash it in by July 2. (TiVo is selling its Android TV-powered streaming device for $39.99, but you can get it on Walmart and Amazon right now for $29.)
Is the TiVo Stream 4K being used as a wedge against Roku in a distribution battle that saw the YouTube TV app removed from the Roku Channel Store in April? Perhaps, but Google sort of solved that distribution issue be integrating YouTube TV access into its flagship YouTube app, which is still available in the Roku Channel Store, at least until the end of the year.
And why is Google offering the TiVo Stream 4K, when its has its own streaming device (Chromecast with Google TV), and after TiVo recently said that it’s migrating its Stream 4K platform away from Google’s Android TV OS?
Notably, tech blog Zatz Not Funny pointed out several weeks ago that TiVo has a new brand logo and packaging. And while it doesn’t seem to be done with its Stream 4K retail effort—based on a new distribution agreement with Target—it does seem to be liquidating the older Stream 4K inventory, much of which was sold through Walmart.
In theory, this would enable Google to prop up “select” YouTube TV subscriber relationships with Roku users who suddenly stopped engaging with the virtual MVPD right around the time the Roku impasse started in late-April, offering them a cheaply obtained connected TV dongle that uses a Google OS.
Just a theory.
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