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    The TiVo Stream 4K is an unexpectedly exciting media streamer

    The previous few years have introduced us a lot of bold streaming gamers, from Amazon’s voice-controlled Fire TV Cube to Nvidia’s high-powered Shield TV tube. None of them, nonetheless, clear up the longstanding and basic situation of getting to flick through a lot of completely different streaming apps, every with its personal menus, watchlists, and proposals.

    TiVo may lastly have the answer with the TiVo Stream 4K, a $50 streaming dongle that’s launching in April. Unlike almost each different streaming participant available on the market, TiVo has give you a single, cohesive menu for searching throughout streaming companies, beginning with Sling TV and really seemingly together with Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and Amazon Prime at launch.

    This is strictly the type of expertise I’ve needed streaming gadget makers to construct for years, however I by no means anticipated TiVo to crack the code first.

    Jared Newman / IDG

    The TiVo Stream 4K presents a common information for streaming content material.

    Android TV with a twist

    To be clear, the TiVo Stream 4K has nothing to do with the corporate’s DVR merchandise. Instead, it’s a palm-sized streaming dongle that plugs into any HDTV over HDMI, and it comes with a little bit peanut-shaped distant that appears adorably like a miniature model of TiVo’s DVR remotes. The {hardware} helps Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos for height-based encompass sound, and it appeared to run fairly easily in my temporary hands-on time.

    tivostream4kremote Jared Newman / IDG

    The TiVo Stream 4K distant seems like a little bit model of the traditional DVR peanut distant.

    On the software program aspect, the TiVo Stream runs Android TV, so it has entry to thousands of streaming apps. Hit the round house button on the distant, and also you’ll see a menu that appears identical to that of different Android TV gadgets, such because the Shield TV and the Xiaomi Mi Box S.

    What separates the Stream from different Android TV gadgets is a separate TiVo menu that helps you search for issues to look at throughout a lot of completely different apps. Press the large silver TiVo button on the distant, and you’ll see suggestions as to what to look at; compensate for reveals you’re already watching; view a grid-based stay TV information; or browse particularly for films, reveals, and sports activities. When you choose a program, TiVo reveals the place you may stream it, and it might take you instantly into the suitable app to start out enjoying the video. Think of it as a common information for streaming TV.

    tivostream4kwheretowatch Jared Newman / IDG

    TiVo’s information tells you the place to look at films and reveals, then takes you straight to them within the acceptable app.

    Most streaming gadgets aren’t trying something like this. Roku’s streaming software program stays focused on apps over content, and Amazon’s Fire TV house display screen is a chaotic mishmash of recommendations with an outsized emphasis on Prime Video. Apple TV comes shut with its confusingly named TV app, nevertheless it doesn’t combine with Netflix and doesn’t present its personal grid information for stay TV.

    tivostreamguide Jared Newman / IDG

    TiVo will supply a grid information for Sling TV, the TiVo+ streaming service, and presumably different stay sources sooner or later.

    The caveat right here is that TiVo isn’t but offering an official listing of companies that may seem within the Stream 4K information. While the corporate has demonstrated tie-ins with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and HBO, proper now Sling TV is the one official companion. Still, if the precise product matches what TiVo is exhibiting at CES, it’ll go a good distance towards fixing streaming complications. If it might add different fashionable streaming sources resembling Disney+ and YouTube TV, it’ll be a real breakthrough.

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