Cable Tech

TiVo scores broadband bundling deals for new Android TV streamer

The TiVo Stream 4K has opened its second act.

After launching the Android TV-powered device at retail in May for $49.99, TiVo has begun to bundle its latest product – the TiVo Stream 4K – with broadband services from cable operator partners.

Three long-time TiVo partners – RCN, Grande Communications and Wave Broadband – have all introduced bundles for broadband-only customers that feature the TiVo Stream 4K. This device is an Android TV streaming dongle that supports TiVo's general user experience along with 4K video, Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos and voice control (using Google Assistant technology) and cloud DVR capabilities.

With the TiVo Stream 4K, RCN, Wave and Grande are offering a new video streaming option to broadband-only customers.
With the TiVo Stream 4K, RCN, Wave and Grande are offering a new video streaming option to broadband-only customers.

Those bundles are also touting a $10 per month discount for four months for new subscribers to Sling TV, the Dish Network-owned OTT-TV service. TiVo's new streaming device also supports a range of other apps from OTT-TV and subscription VoD service providers, including Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Netflix, fuboTV, Disney+ and even HBO Max, along with TiVo+, a free ad-supported streaming service.

Promo sets up TiVo's streaming dongle as a leased set-top alternative

The TiVo 4K Stream bundles with this trio of cable operators come with a few catches. According to the fine print, customers must subscribe to a broadband service delivering at least 100 Mbit/s.

The promotional details also indicate that RCN, Wave and Grande intend to use the TiVo Stream 4K as a device that can later be leased – they are bundling in the TiVo Stream 4K for no added cost for 12 months from the installation date, but the price increases to $1.49 per month in months 13 through 24.

The cable op is also offering additional TiVo Stream 4K devices for 99 cents each per month for 12 months, and up to five total devices per home. That per device price rises to $1.49 per month (each) in months 13-24.

The bundling offer feeds into a broader trend in which cable operators are starting to develop new streaming options for higher-margin, broadband-only customers and inching away from their legacy pay-TV products.

Among recent examples, WideOpenWest, which now bills itself as a "broadband first" service provider, has been de-emphasizing its own pay-TV service and instead steering broadband customers to OTT options, which include reselling partnerships with YouTube TV, fuboTV, Philo and Sling TV. WOW also has a new Android TV-powered, contract-based IPTV offering, called WOW!tv+, that features traditionally sized TV channel bundles, but the operator does not promote it very heavily.

Comcast is also in this mix to a degree with Xfinity Flex, a streaming/smart home product tailored for broadband-only customers that integrated its first virtual multichannel video programming distributor, Sling TV, in July.

For TiVo, the operator bundles could spur distribution of its new device in a streaming platform market currently dominated by Roku and Amazon, which, by the way, is getting more aggressive with a service provider strategy focused on its Fire TV platform. Google, which is already successful in the service operator market with Android TV, is also applying more competitive heat at retail with its new, more powerful Chromecast with Google TV product. Comcast, meanwhile, is knocking on the door with a plan to deploy its X1 video tech stack to smart TVs on a global basis.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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