Android TV is an open ecosystem with a lot of moving pieces, and that means sometimes bugs show up in unexpected places. Recently, some TiVo customers received startling security warnings about a company called SEI Robotics being granted full access to their Google accounts. Worse, revoking that access (as the notification recommended customers to do) could fully wipe out your smart home setup, removing smart speakers, Nest devices, and other Assistant-compatible hardware and services from your account. Google has since resolved the security warnings, but it sounds like customers that had their smart home setups wiped clean will need to rebuild them.
Android TV has existed for years, but there's been a distinct lack of devices running the software. TiVo, which made its name with one of the first DVRs, has just launched the Android TV dongle it showed off at CES. The TiVo Strem 4K is small but runs the full version of Android TV with apps (including Netflix), live TV integration, and a voice remote.
Just like any year, this year's CES has focused quite a bit on television sets. And just like any (recent) year, this year brings us a whole slew of new Android TV products. To make it easier to sift through them, we've compiled this article combining all the announcements from the show, sorted alphabetically by manufacturer.
TiVo first made a name for itself in the late 90's when the company introduced a revolutionary digital video recording device that automatically saved TV shows for viewing later. Since then, TiVo has steadily dipped its toes into various products and services, like live TV via TiVo Online, TiVo Cast for streaming videos, and more. This decade, TiVo is branching out with a Sling-connected content streaming device powered by Android TV.
TiVo's fallen a long way since the heady days of the early 2000s, when its DVRs were cutting-edge technology in the early era of digital TV. With its stock now trading for under a tenth of what it did at the company's height, TiVo's new CEO hopes to pin the company's future on... a $50 Android TV dongle. Given that a slew of such dongles are likely on the way (including Dish Network's AirTV Mini) and cheap Android TV boxes are already available, TiVo's play to stand out seems to be its own branded and customized version of the Android TV interface bundled with access to its DVR service.
Given the popularity of TiVo DVR boxes, smart home integration makes a lot of sense. This is something the company addressed nearly a year ago when it announced an IFTTT channel that would enable Google Assistant and Alexa support. With CES 2019 just around the corner, there's evidence to suggest TiVo is going to launch its own Android TV hardware.
A few weeks back we reported that TiVo support for automation service IFTTT was inbound, and enthusiasts would be able to integrate a whole new set of applets into their workflow. Well, that day has arrived, and the new applets even include limited Alexa and Google Home integration. Wiser heating systems have also received IFTTT integration.
Given the thousands of press releases coming out of CES, we almost missed the news that your TiVo DVR/Set-top box will soon integrate in your smart home setup, almost regardless of which platform you've decided to delve into.
Over the next few months, TiVo will have an IFTTT channel with multiple applets to let you automate your TV watching based on other happenings around your house, such as turn on ESPN when you get home, pause when the doorbell rings, and so on. It will also have an Amazon Alexa skill as well as a Google Assistant app. The video below shows a few demos of features, but to be honest, I was left a little confused by the Google Home part of it.
You don't have to know what DVR is to recognize the name TiVo, the company that became synonymous with the word. The company's products have allowed users to return to previous shows and watch them on their own schedule since long before Netflix and Hulu came around to help people cut the cord.
The TiVo Android app has grown a little dated over the years, but the company has invested some time rebuilding the software from the ground up. It's not material—it actually looks more like something from the Honeycomb era—but it's a nice sign of life after years of growing stagnant.
TiVo customers are accustomed to convenience. That's the fundamental premise behind recording TV shows for later, after all. Sure, it sucks to miss a show because it came on during a time when you were busy, but that's more of an annoyance than a problem. The latest version of the Android app addresses a similar annoyance--being restricted to whichever room the big screen is in. After quite a wait, customers are now free to stream TiVo content and live TV directly to their mobile devices.
The app lets users switch back and forth between the TV and a phone with a single button press.