Jan 7, 2020

TiVo unveils its (tiny) new video streaming device at CES

Photo: TiVo

TiVo at this year's CES show in Las Vegas unveiled a new low-cost device that would compete directly against the likes of Roku and Apple TV, marking a pivot to what the company says is its future.

Why it matters: When TiVo debuted its iconic digital video recorder 21 years ago at this very same gadget trade show, recording video and skipping commercials marked a revolution in consumer control over how and when to watch TV. But things have greatly changed since then.

How it works: TiVo's new Stream 4K device is a little dongle, a la Google's Chromecast or the Amazon Fire TV Stick, that plugs into a TV's HDMI port. It will cost $49.99 at launch and eventually be priced at $69.99.

  • Customers will be able to use the device for streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO and Tivo's own ad-supported video network, TiVo+, as well as for watching live TV and cable via Dish Network's Sling TV.
  • There are no monthly fees other than those for streaming services customers have to pay anyway.

Yes, but: TiVo's Stream 4K device will have to compete with established players like Roku, Apple TV, and Android TV.

  • TiVo says its algorithm-based customization of the content it displays and suggests to a viewer will be its edge over other products. But it's unclear if that'll be enough to get consumers to switch over if they're already content with their existing setup.

The big picture: TiVo's new CEO, Dave Shull, who joined last May, knows the company has to make a bold move, and he wants to kill off its set-top boxes, he told Axios in an interview in Las Vegas. This is the first step on the way to a fully software-based future, he said.

Go deeper

TV battles spill into streaming

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The spats between TV distributors and networks that grew out of the cable and satellite era are beginning to spill over into the streaming world.

Why it matters: Consumers that cut the cord to avoid paying for expensive TV packages are going to be susceptible to some of the same problems, like programming blackouts, that they had with traditional television.

What's happened so far at CES 2020

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

There will be a ton of tech news coming out of Las Vegas this week, and Axios has you covered with all the big news in one place.

The big picture: The biggest products of the year tend to be announced elsewhere, but in terms of sheer volume of consumer tech news, CES is still unmatched. For more on what to expect, check out this preview story. And check back all week for the latest from the Axios tech team.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 8, 2020

NBCU's new streaming service Peacock goes all in on ads

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

NBCUniversal unveiled parts of its new streaming service, Peacock, to investors in New York Thursday, promising a consumer-friendly advertising experience that would set it apart from its many competitors.

Why it matters: Unlike some of its entertainment rivals, NBCU plans to make its service mostly free to consumers, supporting it through advertising instead. Netflix and Disney, who are considered the two streaming titans to beat, are ad-free.

Go deeperArrowJan 16, 2020