Are you looking for the best streaming device, then our comparison and review of Tivo and Roku, should help you towards the right decision that fits your wants.
Trying to choose which streaming device you should go for in 2021 can be a daunting task, especially if this is the first try.
The American Market is overflooding with streaming devices, including the top best, which are Roku, Fire TV sticks, Apple TV, TiVo, and Google streaming 4K devices.
All these devices offer different features and specifications that might leave you feeling like you need first-class in IT to discern.
Choosing the best Streaming Device from TiVo and Roku is not actually as complicated as many people think. This guide will provide all the information you need, enlighten you on all the confusing acronyms and tech specs you need to choose the suitable device for you.
TiVo vs. Roku: Product overview
Any person new in the streaming world cannot go wrong with the Roku Streaming device and service. It has one of the most accessible streaming platforms that is user-friendly and at the same time supports the best streaming apps compared to most of its competitors. Roku offers a variety of Streaming Devices and DVRs priced to fit any budget.
Furthermore, the Roku user interface is very intuitive and has a simple layout. It has uniform rows of app tiles on the home screen that are self-explanatory.
The makers choose this type of action to make the Roku streaming service one of the easiest in the markets. It doesn’t matter whether you want to search for your favorite movie or TV show; the process is seamless.
The shining star of the Roku streaming service is the Featured Free Section. This makes tuning on to News and Live sports as easy as a cinch.
It’s also easy to access all Free channels in one place; you can also find kid-friendly content any time of the day or play and resume series or movies where you last left.
You’ve got a Free Latest News Category on the Main Menu. This is where you can tune in live to Free local news such as Catch Up and NewsON.
However, some notable features are missing from the Roku brand. Some of these outstanding features that you will not find on Roku are web browsing, Dolby Vision Support, and Bluetooth.
But if neither of these features is a deal-breaker to you, then this device and service are excellent choices for you.
Which Roku model should I pick?
As stated earlier, Roku makes a couple of streaming devices. Choosing a suitable model for your needs is easier than it looks.
The choice primarily comes down to how much you want to spend and the features you prefer for your utility. You can pick low-profile devices that are cheap and very affordable.
The Remote and its features should also inspire your decision. The Remote should have the power to control TV Power and Volume.
If you want to spend more on a Streaming Device, then you can go with high performance for an optimal 4K viewing experience.
My best suggestions are Roku Ultra which has the best Voice remote, Ethernet, and USB. You can as well choose Roku Premiere which brings the best value for an HDR.
This device is also easy to use and a high performer, making it great for first-time streamers. Roku Streaming Stick + is a cheap alternative for people looking for great 4K HDR portability and high performance.
Lastly, pick Roku Express for the best price for HD Streaming. The device is easy to use and has a simple setup.
Roku Pros and Cons
- Roku provides access to an expansive library of movies, TV shows, and streaming services
- You can use Roku Free instead of the paid channels
- Roku service is very affordable
- Roku devices are cheaper alternatives
- It has a simple and a user-friendly interface
- You have everything in a single unit
- You need software updates
- Non-compatibility with some TVs
TiVo was introduced in the streaming world in 1997. The company greatly changed the way people watched TV and promise its customers not to worry about TV schedules. It operates as a Product and as a service.
TiVo is a maker of TiVo Stream 4K, which is a popular DVR. This streaming device was the first piece of hardware that doesn’t have anything to do with recording shows and Movies.
The device was specifically designed to fit in the TV through the HDMI and hang at the back of the TV. The device was ultimately made to help with streaming videos and Movies from popular streaming services such as YouTube TV, HBO Max, Disney+, and Netflix.
TiVo streaming 4K was first announced in January 2020 and is available today for less than $50. The device uses Google’s Android TV system to access familiar streaming apps such as YouTube TV, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Today, this dongle boosts a 4K resolution and competes well with Roku Ultra, Roku streaming stick+, and several other Roku devices.
TiVo as a product uses OS based on Linux. The First TiVo series was manufactured by a third party. The Series 1 Devices were easy to hack, and there were many websites teaching people how to modify TiVo to increase Functionality and Hard Drive. TiVo recently phased out Series 1 DVRs.
From Series 2, TiVo started manufacturing their DVRs. This means that customers with Series2 DVRs can integrate their TiVo into the home network.
With the series 2 Dual tuner, you can record more than one movie or TV show simultaneously.
The latest generation in TiVo is Series 3 HD DVR which is known to record HD Channels. Like the previous series, it can record more than one movie and TV show simultaneously. It also easily hooks into your Home Network.
TiVo as a service requires every user to subscribe to start using their sets. If you cannot subscribe, you will only have a Box cluttering up the entertainment center.
The company offers two types of subscriptions. This means that you can either pick the monthly subscription or the yearly subscriptions.
Previously, TiVo offered a Lifetime subscription deal. However, this was recently phased off, but the company honors this with the previous customers.
It’s important to note that TiVo doesn’t provide the cable and Satellite signal, and for that reason, users must get a cable or a satellite subscription from a third party and connect to TiVo service.
TiVo Pros and Cons
- Responsive remote
- The remote has Google Assistant
- It can aggregate content from various services
- Chromecast functionality
- Can record movies and TV shows simultaneously
- It has six tuners
- Integrated Wi-Fi and MoCA
- It supports streaming and downloading
- You get access to a lot of online content from Pandora, YouTube, Hulu Plus, Amazon, etc.
- Must log in with Google account
- The price point is a bit high
- Lacks YouTube TV Compatibility
What’s the difference between TiVo and Roku?
Besides the fact that these two services and device providers are serving the same market, they all have unique features and specifications.
As a matter of fact, TiVo has few other services such as YouTube, Hulu Plus, Amazon Video, and Netflix. It also has a unified search which allows people to search for content access to all services.
The paid TiVo services have great video and audio quality. Moving on to Roku, the service also has unified search, which makes it easy to search for content across platforms.
Even though the TiVo+ app offers a couple of additional channels, it’s as good as what the Roku channel provides.
Checking the reviews available in the market for these services, most people like that Roku Channels offers a wide selection of TV shows and high-quality Movies. This is clear that Roku is better than TiVo when it comes to channels.
To determine further differences between Roku and TiVo, I have simplified everything in the table below.
|Remote options||Few options||More options|
|Channels||High Volume of channels||Fewer Volumes of channels|
|Weight||0.8 ounces||10 ounces|
|Price||Currently $42.95 on Amazon||Currently $35.54 on Amazon|
Service and Subscription
Both Roku and TiVo service requires a subscription if you want to receive all the premium features. TiVo as a service offers three service plans: Monthly service plan, annual service plan, and All-In service plan.
The yearly plan costs $149.99 every year, while the Monthly subscription is offered at $14.99 every month. The annual service plan is only available for TiVo Bolt and TiVo Edge.
With the premium subscriptions on the Roku channel, you will have an exclusive opportunity to watch content before signing up.
Luckily, there are no costs associated with creating a Roku account. The Roku channel offers thousands of Free TV shows and Movies.
It has more than 150 live streaming TV channels such as ABC News and dedicated kids and Family content. All of these are available with fewer ads than traditional broadcast TV.
You are not required to pay monthly for the equipment rental fees. But still, you might be charged by Roku for different purchases.
The pricing of Roku channels varies, but to help you understand, we will go through the basics. You can actually choose to pick the Free Roku channels. But for the paid Roku Channels come in the form of one-off payment or subscription. You can subscribe to a service like Hulu or FuboTV, or even Sling TV, which all costs different prices.
Winner: Roku has minimal service fees.
Regardless of which device and model you pick, you will be issued with remote controls. Besides, you need to control the TV and search for channels and video content at the comfort of your seat.
But there are significant differences between the remote features for Roku and TiVo. TiVo Remote has more buttons than the Roku remote. This means that TiVo remote offers more controls and options.
The TiVo remote also offers change and Volume Control functionalities and numerals and a guide button. Paying closer attention to TiVo remote, you will realize that TiVo Inc. takes a minimalist approach.
On the other hand, the Roku remote is very easy to use and comes with some intelligent functionalities. However, it doesn’t have much to compare to TiVo remote.
The testers’ feedback made TiVo Inc designers reduce the time lapse between pressing a button and seeing the command on the screen. This is what helped the designers to fine-tune the dimensions and minimize the comfort level.
TiVo has a compact remote control with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. It uses Bluetooth wireless and eliminates the time it takes from pressing the command and seeing the command on the screen.
TiVo has a Voice-activated remote with Google assistant. This was the case with the old TiVo, which is very vital for the users. But still, you should note that this technology is not as smart as Alexa.
Alexa is smarter and understands a lot of things. As a matter of fact, it understands that ‘Load Netflix’ and ‘Open Netflix’ mean the same thing.
Winner: TiVo remote is better in all dimensions.
TiVo and Roku channels vary in Volume. If you go with Roku, you might miss out on some of the channels compared to choosing Roku.
But still, the TiVo+ app offers different channels, which means it’s as good as Roku Channel. Many users are very impressed with the Roku Channel selection because of its wide assortment of movies and TV shows. The movies and TV shows are high in quality.
I know you are already wondering what channels you get with TiVo. Immediately after subscribing, you will get local programming with Locast.
You can watch NBC, FOX, ABC News, CBS, and National Networks with Tubi and Pluto TV. This means that you will immediately get access to the best National TV programming that is available today. You also get Fubo Sports Network, CBS Sports HQ, and many others.
If you are currently wondering what channels you can get with the Roku streaming service, here I’m with the list. Roku refers to streaming services as channels.
This is an indication that you will get channels such as HBO Max, Hulu, Disney Plus, Prime Video, Netflix, YouTube TV, Tubi, and several others.
Winner: Roku is better than TiVo regarding Channels.
TiVo vs. Roku: Pricing
Pricing is a critical consideration for everyone shopping for a streaming device and streaming service. Roku and Tivo vary greatly in terms of prices.
But still, you should be able to differentiate between price and value. Roku is the best value for your money. It’s not only loaded with thousands of channels but also has the best streaming experience. The price for TiVo is a bit high compared to Roku.
The setup process
The setup process for these two devices is pretty painless. Given that TiVo uses Android TV OS, you will just need a Gmail account to complete the setup process.
For people already using Chromebook, Tablet, and Android phones, you have already established a Google account, and for that reason, you will need to use it when setting up the setup process.
Immediately after signing up using the Google Account, you will be prompted to sync the apps from other Google Devices to the TiVo device.
The final step is to answer a series of questions to help learn your content preferences. This is very important because the system will automatically give you suggestions.
The setup process for Roku is a little complicated. For the on-screen setup and activation on Roku, you should start by choosing the language and eventually connect the Roku device to the network.
You will have to wait for the Roku device to download all the latest software and eventually set the Roku enhanced remote to control your TV volume and power. After that, create a Roku account which is easy through the use of a mail account, and eventually confirm.
The three areas where TiVo beats Roku
With the above information, I can now give you a list of all the areas where TiVo beats the Roku device. It actually has some strengths over its main competitor.
Tivo remote is relatively better
It’s easy to notice that the TiVo remote is smart and has a sleek design that fits in your hand seamlessly. Through the comparisons, you can easily search for a movie or content through Voice.
The TiVo remote has Integrated Google Assistant meaning that you can control many functions of the device by easily pressing the voice button and speaking the commands into the TV.
On the other hand, Roku offers voice-activated remotes, but you will be forced to upgrade to Roku Ultra or Roku streaming Stick+ for this property.
Moving on, you will easily notice that many buttons mean more choices. The TiVo remote has volume and change controls and a power button and numerals. On the other hand, Roku adopts a minimalist approach in this case.
TiVo can aggregate all the streaming content
If you are easily annoyed by the Roku OS, then you will find Tivo a real step up in how you can search the content. The latest Roku generations have equal capabilities, but you will have to navigate from one app to the other, searching for available content.
The main selling point for TiVo is the fact that you can aggregate both the Live TV and on-demand content across all the streaming subscriptions. This is what is known as the ‘Unified Guide experience’.
You can run screencast from your phone to your TV
Another major area where TiVo beats Roku is the fact that it comes equipped with Google Chromecast technology. Chromecast also comes as a stand-alone device that retails at $35 and also services as a direct streaming competitor to Roku.
Roku has similar screen mirroring capabilities, but the Chromecast functionality that offers a better User experience is missing.
When users are logged in to their Google Account on the Tablet or a Phone, it can be very easy to click a button to connect the phone screen to the TV direct through this functionality. This automatically lets you share music, Photos, and Videos from your phone to the bigger screen.
The Three areas where Roku Express beats TiVo
Besides the fact that there are many areas where TiVo beats Roku, here are three of the main areas where TiVo falls short of Roku devices. In this case, we are directly comparing Roku Express and TiVo stream 4K devices.
It’s easy to notice that YouTube TV is left behind by TiVo. TiVo has partnered with Sling TV for live streaming integration.
This means that you cannot use the aggregation capabilities that are mentioned with the YouTube TV subscription. It’s important to note that you can still download the YouTube TV app from Google Play Store and access the subscription.
However, it’s impossible to integrate YouTube TV with the TiVo channel guide or even the content search. This is embarrassing and a major drawback of using TiVo streaming devices. Given the current growth in the Popularity of YouTube TV, this is not appealing at all.
We will be remiss if we don’t address the differences in prices and subscription costs between Roku and TiVo streaming devices and services.
TiVo stream 4K can cost more than twice what Roku Premiere and Roku express costs. It currently has a promotional price of $49 and a purported regular price of $69.
At the time of writing this brief, Roku featured promotional prices for their main devices as follows. The Roku Premiere costs $29 from the regular $39, Roku Express costs $24 from the normal regular price of $29.
But still, I have to clearly mention that the price is not the same as the value. TiVo Streaming device has some nice features, which is why most users claim it’s a great value for their money. If pricing is not a big concern to you, Roku will definitely be a good companion for your streaming and recording needs.
Lastly, TiVo+ is not as good as Roku in terms of the Volume of channels. TiVo has a free streaming channel plan and content on its own TiVo app.
But still, its content doesn’t come close yet in terms of volume and quality to what is offered by the Roku Channel list. Roku channel stands as one of the best free streaming guides mainly because of the high and strong selection of TV shows and on-demand movies.
Recap: which is better, Roku or TiVo?
Given the information shared above, it’s easy to realize that these two devices compete quite well. Roku and Tivo are the top picks in the market for different reasons.
Roku lays some of the best options when it comes to channels while TiVo beats Roku on Remote. However, if price and the number of channels are your top considerations, Roku streaming devices will be the best alternatives to TiVo.
Look at these two devices, and few things will stand out. But to make the best conclusion, we have to compare the Roku streaming Stick+ to TiVo stream 4K.
The price is almost the same, but TiVo streaming 4K is relatively expensive. The processors for these two devices are the same but Roku doesn’t list the manufacturer anywhere, but they both have ARM Cortex A53.
Immediately after this, things start to diverge. Roku also doesn’t list the onboard storage, which is very important for people seeking a device that can save content for watching later. On the other hand, TiVo doesn’t treat its apps as channels, which is the case with Roku.
Furthermore, Roku doesn’t support Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, which are very important for video and audio quality.
There are some concerns about the power cords. The TiVo stream 4K is powered through the USB-C and the MicroUSB.
But you are required to use an included power cable when using Roku streaming stick+. The power code also has a Wi-Fi antenna. But this is not a deal-breaker because the two devices have comparably the same value for your money.
Lastly, the ecosystem is also different, which comes down to the matter of preferences and needs. I have to state that TiVo uses the Android-powered OS, which is more powerful and easy to customize.
Using the Android power means that you have all the Google Play Store available, which includes the streaming apps, screensavers, music, games, and utilities.
Roku has a lot of this, too, but you will quickly find yourself with apps that look as spam than anything useful. I will now conclude by saying that the biggest difference between these two devices is the ease. Roku is easier to use than TiVo.
You just have to take fewer clicks to get to what you want. The decision of what’s the best streaming device from this list will come down to your preferences, Budget, and exactly what you want for your streaming needs.
TiVo vs. Roku: Competitors
Tivo and Roku streaming devices face stiff competition from other streaming manufacturers. To ensure you have enough information before you head to the market, we have listed three of the best and the closest competitors to Roku and TiVo.
Chromecast with Google TV
The newest streaming device from Google is an excellent alternative to Roku and TiVo. It has a remote with all the features needed in the current market. The interface is nicer than Roku’s interface, and you can browse and search across different platforms.
Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
Amazon has recently improved the Fire TV Stick 4K to include an Alexa enabled remote and menus that are highly geared towards showing the content you need from Amazon Prime Video and rented Videos. It also comes with many competitor apps such as Hulu, Fubo TV, and Netflix.
Apple TV 4K generation
If you are an iPhone user that is currently buying movies, shows, and music from Apple’s library, this is the best alternative. This device has all the major streaming apps such as Amazon Video stream, Apple TV app, Hulu, and FuboTV.
Can you use Roku with TiVo?
Roku only connects to the internet, meaning that it will not connect to linear TV services. But it gives you the same services as TiVo and several other services.
The two services and devices seem the same, which is the reason why you don’t have to worry about the channels and contents.
Which streaming device is better than Roku?
Roku is one of the best streaming devices that you will find out there. Although the device faces stiff competition from Chromecast with Google TV, TiVo, Apple TV 4K, and Amazon Fire TV stick 4K, it remains at the top of the list.
What is the best streaming device to replace cable?
There are many streaming devices that you can use to replace Cable TV. Start by considering TiVo, Roku, Apple TV 4k, and Chromecast with Google TV. There are many streaming services, including FuboTV, YouTube TV, Sling TV, Hulu, and many others.
What is the best device to turn my TV into a Smart TV?
Do you want to turn your digital TV into a Smart TV but don’t know how to go about it? If yes, start by considering Streaming devices and Sticks such as Roku Ultra, Roku Express, and TiVo Stream 4K devices. These are the best in the market, but there are some other competitors such as Apple TV, Chromecast with Google TV, etc.
Roku and TiVo are two close competitors, especially when streaming devices and streaming services are discussed.
Besides the fact that Roku Streaming Stick+ and TiVo stream 4K use the same processor and have comparably the same prices, there are some huge differences you have to know.
They vary in many categories, as discussed above. However, deciding on which of the two to settle for will come down to your preferences, needs, and Budget.