CES 2020: TiVo Joins Streaming Wars with HDMI Dongle

At CES this week, TiVo announced a new device described by CEO Dave Shull as a “tiny little HDMI puck” that will bring the company “full on into the streaming wars.” The $50 TiVo Stream 4K, hitting shelves in April as a competitor to Roku and Amazon devices, is designed to expand the company’s current user base by offering streaming and live television for today’s cord cutters and cord shavers. While TiVo plans to continue offering its signature cable-ready DVRs, the new 4K dongle could be a glimpse into the company’s future. In December, TiVo announced its $3 billion merger with licensing firm Xperi. “This transformation for TiVo enabled the merger,” said Shull.

TiVo plans to sell the new dongle “via providers who want something to offer their Internet-only customers, and don’t have the ability to build a custom unit like Comcast’s streaming box,” reports Engadget. “While the TiVo Stream 4K keeps some of the grid-based UI that you’d expect from a DVR, the Android-powered unit focuses on TiVo’s ability to present and sort information from multiple sources.”

“We believe for users that see value in live TV, which is the majority of American households, they want something to unify and marry the worlds of live TV and streaming, instead of having separate set-top boxes or separate apps,” explained TiVo VP of product Chris Thun. 

According to TechCrunch, streaming content will come from “services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO and others, and will also include content from TiVo+, the free, ad-supported movie and TV service that the company launched last fall.”

At CES, TiVo announced 23 new channels coming to TiVo+, including Bon Appetit, The Chive, Funny or Die, Newsy, Revery, USA Today and Wired — bringing the total to 49. The device will offer live TV and cloud DVR features through its integration with Sling TV.

“The Stream 4K box isn’t an early participant in this new era of Internet video competition,” notes Engadget, “but when it goes on sale on April, if it supports enough services to be a reasonable option — Disney+ and Apple TV+ are rapidly becoming must-haves — then it will definitely be worth a look next to the competition.”

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