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TiVo Stream 4K vs. Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K

TiVo Stream 4K

TiVo Stream 4K

TiVo Stream 4K is a sub-$50 Android TV dongle that ticks all the specs boxes you want. It's got 4K resolution, Dolby Vision and HDR10. It's got Dolby Atmos. And it has all the Android TV stuff you want. Plus it has some special TiVo sauce baked in, with special integration for Sling TV.

TiVo Stream 4K

Ticks all the spec boxes
Has a full build of Android TV
Puts all of your shows in one place
Hardware can be a tad sluggish
Android TV OS is still confusing

Fire TV Stick 4K

Fire TV Stick 4K

The Fire TV Stick 4K is the perfect marriage of price and performance in Amazon's lineup. It's got all the specs you want — including 4K resolution, Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision — and has the full power or Alexa inside it.

Fire TV Stick 4K

Ticks all the specs boxes
Has easy access to all things Amazon
Has most every app you'll need
Hardware can be a tad sluggish
Amazon's home screens are busy

Here we have two $49 streaming dongles with very similar specs. For most part the bigger question is what ecosystem you prefer to have living in your living room. Android TV? Or Amazon?

Fire TV Stick 4K? Or the new TiVo Stream 4K?

It's not easy recommending a streaming dongle these days. Particularly when you're dealing with hardware that's just so similar. Have a peek at the specs table below and you'll very quickly see what I mean. It's almost 1:1.

Processor matters, of course. Neither the Fire TV Stick 4K nor the TiVo Stream 4K can keep up with, say, NVIDIA Shield or Apple TV 4K. But then again they're also more than $100 cheaper. And benchmark tests actually put them on a pretty level playing field. There's a half-gig difference in RAM — but chances are you couldn't tell which was with if you were using them side by side.

Fire TV Stick 4K TiVo Stream 4K
Price $49 $49
Operating system Fire OS 6 Android 9
Processor MTK8695+MT7668 Amlogic S905Y2
Storage 8GB 8GB
Wifi 802.11ac 802.11ac
Dolby Vision Yes Yes
Dolby Atmos Yes Yes
HDR10 Yes Yes
Voice remote Yes Yes
App Store Amazon Appstore Google Play
Chromecast No Yes
AirPlay No No

More: TiVo Stream 4K review

No, where you'll really see a difference is in ecosystem. For most folks — as in people who don't really care about specs so much, they just want things to work — that'll be the deciding factor. If you're all in on Amazon and Alexa, then the Fire TV Stick 4K probably its the way you want to go.

But if you're all in on Google and Android and Google Assistant, then the TiVo Stream 4K probably is the better option, since it's basically just an Android TV dongle with some extra TiVo features built into it.k

The one other thing that's worth mentioning, though, is something that popped up in our full review of the TiVo Stream 4K. And that is that some of the features were a little bit wonky at this early stage of the device's life. That is, 4K playback wasn't supported in all apps (Vudu was an early culprit here), and Dolby Atmos audio was a bit broken on other. (Namely on the Amazon Prime Video app.)

This is that annoying part of tech where just because a device supports a spec or feature doesn't necessarily mean the the third-party apps can handle things, and updates may be required. That's probably not a deal-breaker for most folks, but it's something worth knowing going into things.

Otherwise, these are two very capable streaming dongles that won't cost you all that much money.

More: Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K review