The TiVo Stream 4K is now available for $49

(Image credit: TiVo)

TiVo — which once upon a time ruled the digital recording market — has finally made available the TiVo Stream 4K. It's a $49 streaming dongle that it says is "the market's first unifying streamer." The gist, it continues, is that it's "the ultimate streaming device that brings together shows and movies from your favorite platforms, like or streaming, on one screen."

If that sounds a good bit like every other piece of streaming hardware, from Android TV to Apple TV to Roku and Amazon Fire TV, well, that's because at the end of the day it does the same thing as all fo them. But TiVo is banking on its user interface and a direct integration with Sling TV to make a difference with customers.

"At a time when viewers are streaming more than ever across a sea of platforms, TiVo Stream 4K integrates that content with recommendation and search features to make it easier to find, watch and enjoy the best news, entertainment and sports from today's most popular services," Dave Shull, president and CEO, TiVo said in a press release. "After an incredibly positive reception from media and the wider industry at CES, we are delivering on our promise to launch TiVo Stream 4K, which is symbolic of our company's transformation from a well-loved DVR provider to a pioneer in the streaming market."

TiVo Stream 4K is running a custom build of Android TV, but it still has access to the full Google Play Store, which means it theoretically has access to all the video services you could possibly want. But TiVo very much is in bed with Sling TV — which has fallen from the No. 1 live streaming service in the United States to either second or third place, depending on where it lands against YouTube TV. In fact, if you buy a TiVo Stream 4K you'll get a free week's trial of Sling TV. (Never mind new Sling customers get a free week even without a TiVo Stream 4K.)

As the name implies, the TiVo Stream 4K also supports 4K resolution, as well as Dolby Vision for HDR, and Dolby Atmos for audio. Here's a full specs rundown.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
PlatformAndroid TV
Resolution4K max
Voice remoteYes
Voice assistantGoogle Assistant
HDRDolby Vision, HDR10, HLG
Dolby AtmosYes
ProcessorAmlogic S905Y2
BluetoothBT 4.2

But it's the experience, not the specs, that TiVo is really hoping stands out in a market that's plenty crowded with affordable streaming hardware. In fact, it's calling it an "app-free environment," which it says will make everything easier to watch.

We've got one on the way and will judge for ourselves in due time.

Phil Nickinson