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.

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