Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Using TiVo Stream

I mentioned recently that I would be testing the TiVo Stream device. Well, I did that. And I'm a little disappointed.

The TiVo Stream is an Android TV device. The interface is fine. It's not quite the same as the Google TV interface of the Chromecast with Google TV. As I mentioned earlier, I like the new Chromecast/GTV device. The interface of the TiVo Stream is definitely TiVo flavored, and that's fine.

Anyone who has used a TiVo DVR will be familiar with the remote and the interface. You know you're using a TiVo. And that's a good thing. 

I've used TiVo DVRs, starting in 2006 and continued until just a couple of years ago. As a DVR, it's top notch. As a streaming device, it lacks something: reliability.

I took about a week to use the TiVo Stream as my primary streaming device, and it worked great -- most of the time. I had the occasional hiccup with YouTube, but that's not unheard of with any device. I had connection issues with Hulu, and that was frustrating.

I'm not currently using Hulu + Live TV, but instead the standard Hulu service. The cheap plan with commercials. I mention that because it seems to me that overall, Hulu + Live TV has more issues than Hulu standard service. Of course, every service does, but it seems that Hulu's live service has more issues than its on-demand service. In other words, I use the more reliable Hulu. Unless my impression is wrong.

Hulu would have connection issues and while it didn't crash the device, it was frustrating to have to restart the video, or even restart the app, from time to time.

After the first few times it did that, I would then grab my Roku remote and try the service. No connection issues. Never once did I experience a connection issue with Roku during that week, but I did at least once a day, sometimes more.

Of course, it could be that the Android TV app for Hulu is simply a poorly designed or written app, and the TiVo Stream works otherwise great.

The only complaint I have with the remote is the TiVo button. However, it is where a TiVo user would expect it to be, so it's not a major complaint.

The integration of the TiVo style interface was well done, and a TiVo user would feel right at home. And any new user would get used to it really quickly. Someone who is more familiar with other devices might have a little adjustment with the TiVo button and the OK button located where they are, but as I said, it's not hard to get used to it.

If the Hulu app issue didn't exist, I'd be writing more positive things. But my purpose isn't to give positive reviews of devices. It's to share my thoughts and tips as a long-time streamer. And if you're looking at the TiVo Stream as a choice, it's pretty good one. It's moved in to the number five slot, behind, in no particular order, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast with Google TV, and Roku.

I'll go back and use the device from time to time, so I'm not packing it in a box and putting it on a shelf. I'm keeping it hooked up, at least for now. If you get one, I expect you'll be happy with it. It's generally responsive and mostly works.

If you are thinking of getting one, I'll suggest Chromecast with Google TV as a better Android style device. If you already have one, don't beat yourself up. Use it and enjoy it. You may find it gives you the experience you want, and your Streaming Life will be a happy one.

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