Best Android Based Client

I am switching from Microsoft WMC with my HDHomeRun Prime to Channels DVR and I will be running Channels Servers on a x86 linux machine.

I am trying to determine what is the best 4k capable streaming device. With WMC it ran on a computer so it was very snappy, and would like a similar experience with the Android TV client. I heard AppleTV is the best way to go, but my house is full Google ecosystem so prefer to stick with Android TV if possible.

I was eyeing the new Google TV stick to replace my chromecast, but wasn't sure if this was powerful enough. Any insight would be appreciated.

The new Chromecast works well as a client, but its limited memory is a bit of a let down. Also, its remote isn't the greatest. Because memory is lacking, you'll find the live TV buffer will barely give you 30 minutes of pause. (You can augment the buffer by using an extra flash drive, but it involves extra hardware.)

Honestly, the best Channels experience will be with an Apple TV 4K. In my experience, any Android-based device will involve more compromises than you'd have with the Apple device. (Also, Channels is developed first for the Apple TV, then iOS/iPadOS devices, and finally the features are brought over to Android. That doesn't mean the Android clients are bad, just that the Apple ones are better, and get new features first.)

having used both the fire tv and tivo stream, i vote for the tivo. hands down.

direct button access to the guide and dvr from anywhere in the device, and the ability to enter channel numbers's the closest resemblance to a true cable / satellite tv experience.


The tivo stream 4k with a cheep usb c thumb drive plugged into the USB c port makes a very good client. A 16gb USB stick will give you about a 3hr buffer for pausing live tv and the remote that comes with the device is far better than any other. I also have 2 atv4k at home and use them with 3rd party remotes from sofabaton they are great products but tivo $60 (device + usb stick) vs apple $230 (device+ remote). I use the tivo more my wife uses the apple more because the apple has the sleep timer and that has not been ported to android yet. When android gets the sleep timer she will go back to the tivo 4k because she likes the remote better. This is not a technology review just sharing my household experience.

1 Like

how long is the buffer on the tivo without adding a usb stick?

It depends upon the bitrate of the stream. ~10–30 minutes OTA, ~30–90 minutes TVE. Also, it depends upon the amount of free space on your device. If you have a lot of apps installed, the free space available for Channels' live buffer will be reduced, too.


Bought one. Going to try this out.

Hang on. Does the guide go to the channels dvr guide? Reason I ask is because the youtube video I watched takes you to the tivo stream guide..

Yes. Also, the TiVo button takes you to the Library.

(Edit: Also, the Live button takes you to the last played channel. If nothing is currently playing, it starts the last played channel; if you're currently watching live TV it functions as a last channel/previous button. Be warned though because of the way the TiVo device handles the Live button, it takes a bit longer for Channels to respond to the press; it's not Channels' fault, but rather because of how TiVo did their firmware:)

You have to enable the "Channels Button Detector", and I believe you may need to disable the TiVo apps, too.


To simple Answer the question. 2019 NVIDIA Shield Pro.
It the most highly rated and best reviewed Android TV client, period.

If you can stand the Apple ecosystem, and the terrible remote, the Apple TV is the next "best". It does have the advantage that Channels DVR primary focus is for that Apple device.
(Android client is secondary in development.)

I’ve canceled the order to think more about this.

My current device is Apple TV 4K.

Really, I’m after a remote that will work better. Something as described like the tivo remote where channel surfing, number inputtting and guide buttons work.

1 Like

The apple tv 4k will do all the tivo stream 4k will do as far as guid, dvr, direct channel input with a 3rd party remote like harmony or sofabaton. Note that apples 14.2 update broke the channel up/down function from the remote used for next/previous channel and page up/down in the guide. I'm sure this will be fixed as apple is the client to get most attention. All that being said i have 2 atv4k with sofabaton remotes and I usually use the tivo stream 4k instead because the remote is a better overall experience.

Get a harmony remote. Or the sofabaton. The Apple TV 4K will give you the best channels experience, but the remote is terrible.

If you hurry - woot has a harmony refurb today only:

I hate that button layout, but it may work for you. Their other remote is also available refurb, and adds some very useful features:

1 Like

I have an old harmony remote. Way to big for my liking...

The other issue is that I use the HomeKit cameras from the slide out menu.

The difference between the old harmony remotes, and the hub-based one, is night and day. I've probably owned 4 or 5 of them over decades. The old ones were waaaaay too fragile, and always lost buttons within a couple of years. I'm probably on year 4 with this hub one, and it hasn't shown any signs of age at all. Better button presses, the hub manages bluetooth for you, etc.

Agreed about the Nvidia Shield Pro, but it also costs 4 times more than a TiVo Stream 4k. Plus the TS4K already has the type of remote @niter3 is looking for. For $50, I'd suggest you try the TS4K and return it within 30 days if you don't like it. Not much to lose there.

If you do try out the TS4K, I'd suggest you remove/disable the TiVo apps for a better Channels experience.

That's my thoughts to. Maybe I will consider purchasing again.

Only issue I have at this point is the homekit cameras I use. So, I guess we will see. Need to think about this more.

Uh, I bought it again. :slight_smile:

Going to give it a try and see how it performs.

Would this work well for extra storage? Any recommendations?

Not sure - I thought I read that people were having problems with drives 64GB and larger. I just bought some USB-C to USB adapters to try adding some 16GB USB drives I have in a drawer to both my TS4Ks just to try adding some storage. Although after a couple of months and several apps installed, I still have 1+GB free on each device.

You might find some helpful info at TiVo Community Forums: