AirTV Mini and Tivo Stream 4K (1 Viewer)

GaryPen

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Has anybody used either of these two devices? I'm looking to replace my FireTV devices with Android TV devices that are a little more customizable and open, less locked into an ecosystem like Amazon. These two dongles look pretty good.

From just looking online, the Tivo's UI looks better, as you can choose to boot into the standard Android TV Launcher, and never even open the Tivo app. The AirTV Mini seems to open into the Sling Launcher, which I do not want. So, I'm wondering if there's a way to disable the Sling Launcher, and use Google's Launcher as the default Home screen?
I definitely like the look of the AirTV Mini's remote better than the Tivo's, as it has standard playback controls. Plus, it is shaped like a normal remote. I've never liked the Tivo peanut shape.
So, if the AirTV Mini's Home screen can be set to the generic Google Android TV launcher or even a 3rd party launcher, rather than the Sling TV Home, I'd prefer it over the Tivo just for the remote, even though it's $20 more expensive.
Any info would be appreciated. TIA.

(FYI- I'm not interested in the myriad of cheap Chinese boxes that are running Android phone/tablet OS, not true Android TV OS. Nor, do I want to spend $150+ for an nVidia Shield. Nor, Roku because it can't run a VPN. And, definitely not AppleTV.)
 

GaryPen

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Have you checked out the latest Chromecast w/Google TV?
Thanks. I forgot to include that one in my post It's definitely something to consider. But, I really don't like that remote. How much extra would it have cost to include normal playback controls?
I may not like the Fire TV UI and ecosystem. But, the remote is almost perfect. I wish all ATV devices had something similar.
 

GaryPen

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After further research, I did find out that I can pair a Fire TV remote to the new Chromecast w/Google TV. (Google has the worst naming conventions.) The only thing that doesn't work is the voice search, which is a bit of a pain, as I use it a occasionally with my Fire TV's.
I would imagine this would be the case with the AirTV Mini and Tivo Stream 4K devices, as well, as they all use the Android TV OS. So, it appears I have a 3-way choice for new streaming devices.
 

Scott Greczkowski

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Both the Air TV Mini and Tivo Stream 4K basically use the same hardware. In fact I believe the hardware is exactly the same, only difference is the software that is loaded on them.

I like my AirTV Mini.
 

GaryPen

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Both the Air TV Mini and Tivo Stream 4K basically use the same hardware. In fact I believe the hardware is exactly the same, only difference is the software that is loaded on them.

I like my AirTV Mini.
The remotes are quite different, too. That remote looks like the best of the bunch, including Fire TV and even nVidia Shield.

BTW, can you bypass the Sling UI, and use the Google Launcher as the default Home app?
 

Scott Greczkowski

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The remotes are quite different, too. That remote looks like the best of the bunch, including Fire TV and even nVidia Shield.

BTW, can you bypass the Sling UI, and use the Google Launcher as the default Home app?
Got to be honest, I haven't tried since I am a tester for it. I need to keep things stock. But I am sure it is possible.
 

GaryPen

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Have you checked out the latest Chromecast w/Google TV?

This would be hands down my pick for the type of devices he is looking at.
I think I'm just gonna go ahead and get two of these. I might get used to the remote in time. I hope.
The Google Store has a special offer with 6 months of Netflix for only $30, when you buy two Google TVs. (I'm not gonna call them the full stupid name because it's stupid.) The offer can be applied to existing subscriptions. With tax, it comes to $140. Here in Japan, they're around $70 each, so $140 with no Netflix. But, I'll have to pay around $20 to forward them here.

So now, I just have to decide where to buy them. I may go with the local option, even without the Netflix deal, just in case I need to return them if the VPN app doesn't work. (Doubtful, as it works on Fire TV. And, one would assume the Google product is less restrictive than Amazon's.)
 

Scott Greczkowski

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For all of mine (I have AirTV, AirTV Mini, Nvidia Shield, Fire TV 4K etc..). I use apps on my phone to control them. My wife seems to have a habit of losing remotes. So now I always have them with me.

For VPN I use SurfShark, and it works with all of them without issue.
 

GaryPen

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For all of mine (I have AirTV, AirTV Mini, Nvidia Shield, Fire TV 4K etc..). I use apps on my phone to control them. My wife seems to have a habit of losing remotes. So now I always have them with me.

For VPN I use SurfShark, and it works with all of them without issue.
I never liked the way the FireTV phone app worked. It often takes time to connect. I will try the Google app, of course. But, using a remote is much easier than unlocking a phone, opening the app, and waiting to connect, when all I want to do is pause or rewind or something simple like that.
I have a VPN Unlimited lifetime subscription. And, their app works fine with my various Fire TV devices. So, I assume it will work okay with the GTV. But, the GTV runs a much newer version of the AndroidTV OS. So, we'll see. :)
It'll be nice to get rid of that cluttered mess of a UI in the Fire TVs. And, the stupid Amazon App Store. Although, I hear that Amazon is rolling out an "improved" UI.
 
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msmith198025

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I think I'm just gonna go ahead and get two of these. I might get used to the remote in time. I hope.
The Google Store has a special offer with 6 months of Netflix for only $30, when you buy two Google TVs. (I'm not gonna call them the full stupid name because it's stupid.) The offer can be applied to existing subscriptions. With tax, it comes to $140. Here in Japan, they're around $70 each, so $140 with no Netflix. But, I'll have to pay around $20 to forward them here.

So now, I just have to decide where to buy them. I may go with the local option, even without the Netflix deal, just in case I need to return them if the VPN app doesn't work. (Doubtful, as it works on Fire TV. And, one would assume the Google product is less restrictive than Amazon's.)
I dont think you will have a problem with a VPN. I use express VPN on them with no issue.
 
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NashGuy

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After further research, I did find out that I can pair a Fire TV remote to the new Chromecast w/Google TV. (Google has the worst naming conventions.) The only thing that doesn't work is the voice search, which is a bit of a pain, as I use it a occasionally with my Fire TV's.
I would imagine this would be the case with the AirTV Mini and Tivo Stream 4K devices, as well, as they all use the Android TV OS. So, it appears I have a 3-way choice for new streaming devices.
The remote for the Chromecast with Google TV is fine although, as you note, it does not have dedicate transport control (FF, rewind, etc.) buttons. But then Google doesn't expect Android TV devices to have those buttons. They expect Android TV apps to be controlled through the 4-way directional pad plus the center button (OK/enter/play/pause).

The bad thing about Android TV apps is that there isn't a lot of uniformity in terms of how they response to those controls. So for some apps, pressing the center button will simply bring up the on-screen controls and you'll need to press the center button again to pause. On other apps, pressing the center button once will pause. In either case, usually pressing that button again (without pressing anything else first) will resume play.

Invoking rewind or FF or skip back or skip forward is even less consistent between apps, though. You'll just have to figure it out on each. The worst are apps like Peacock (last time I used it anyhow) that expect you to navigate to the on-screen buttons for FF or rewind and then click the center button to start and stop the command.

Google should just issue guidelines of how all this is supposed to work and get all the major apps to follow suit. This is the biggest reason why I use my Apple TV 4K instead of switching to an Android TV device.
 
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GaryPen

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Google should just issue guidelines of how all this is supposed to work and get all the major apps to follow suit. This is the biggest reason why I use my Apple TV 4K instead of switching to an Android TV device.
Orrrrrrrrr, Android TV remotes should have playback controls. Boom. Problem solved.
 
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ncted

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You're assuming, of course, that the apps would respond uniformly to those controls. Which isn't necessarily the case.
They do a pretty good job on my 2019 NVIDIA Shields. Much more consistent than AppleTV with IR remote.
 

NashGuy

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They do a pretty good job on my 2019 NVIDIA Shields. Much more consistent than AppleTV with IR remote.
I've found just about all the apps I use to be very consistent with the Apple TV 4K remote. Biggest exception is probably YouTube, where you must click the center of the trackpad twice to pause. (On just about all other apps, doing so once pauses.) Clicking once in YouTube just brings up the UI.

My biggest thing is being able to click once to jump backward or forward by several seconds (typically 10) during video playback. And that's easy to do across apps on Apple TV, just click the left or right edges of the track pad. I can't think of any app I use where that doesn't reliably work (even YouTube). I haven't found that to be the case with Android TV apps and even the Nvidia Shield TV's remote doesn't appear to have dedicated jump back/forward buttons, just rewind and FF.
 

ncted

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I've found just about all the apps I use to be very consistent with the Apple TV 4K remote. Biggest exception is probably YouTube, where you must click the center of the trackpad twice to pause. (On just about all other apps, doing so once pauses.) Clicking once in YouTube just brings up the UI.

My biggest thing is being able to click once to jump backward or forward by several seconds (typically 10) during video playback. And that's easy to do across apps on Apple TV, just click the left or right edges of the track pad. I can't think of any app I use where that doesn't reliably work (even YouTube). I haven't found that to be the case with Android TV apps and even the Nvidia Shield TV's remote doesn't appear to have dedicated jump back/forward buttons, just rewind and FF.
I specified IR remote for a reason. Not the Siri remote, which is more consistent. (consistently bad IMHO, but some like it)
 

NashGuy

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I specified IR remote for a reason. Not the Siri remote, which is more consistent. (consistently bad IMHO, but some like it)
What's the Apple TV IR remote? The one that came with the older versions of the Apple TV before it had an app store? It wouldn't even cross my mind to use that remote with an ATV4K.

Overall, I really like the Siri remote. Sometimes I make an errant swipe but you can scrub through menus and video timelines so quickly with it, there's a high degree of consistency of controls between apps (as I mentioned before), and I use Siri often. In addition to doing content searches, I often ask "What did (s)he say?" when I don't understand a bit of dialog and it jumps back 15 seconds or so and turns on CC for just that bit during the replay. Super, super handy.
 

ncted

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What's the Apple TV IR remote? The one that came with the older versions of the Apple TV before it had an app store? It wouldn't even cross my mind to use that remote with an ATV4K.

Overall, I really like the Siri remote. Sometimes I make an errant swipe but you can scrub through menus and video timelines so quickly with it, there's a high degree of consistency of controls between apps (as I mentioned before), and I use Siri often. In addition to doing content searches, I often ask "What did (s)he say?" when I don't understand a bit of dialog and it jumps back 15 seconds or so and turns on CC for just that bit during the replay. Super, super handy.
I was referring to third party IR remotes like the OneforAll and Function101 or TV IR remotes.
 

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