If you try to watch a live show when all the tuners are in use, you'll see the same conflict resolution screen as on other TiVo products -- the same one that's optimized for a dual tuner DVR, even if you have the four-tuner XL4. Of course, if you try to watch something that was previously recorded, it just works as expected and we have to say on this count that the picture quality and responsiveness of the playback controls are both excellent. If you watch half of a show on the big screen and want to finish on the iPad, or the other way around, resume works as expected.
The TiVo Stream works as advertised, but seems more like a feature that should be built into the DVR.
Streaming shows from the TiVo is the device's primary function, but that's not its only trick: you can also transfer shows (marked Copy Freely) to your phone or tablet to watch on the go. What can we say? It's pretty straightforward: just select a recording and then hit "Download." You can choose between standard and high quality, which works out to 600MB or 1GB for a one-hour show, respectively. Transferring a 30-minute show in standard quality took about 10 minutes and a high-quality recording clocked in at around 13 minutes. Good thing too, as the app won't download while in the background, but it does keep the device from turning off automatically.
As you'd expect, the difference in quality between the two is noticeable, with high looking like real HD and standard showing visible compression artifacts. Of course, considering the limited available space on many devices, the quality is a small price to pay if it means having room for your favorite show. Downloading a show instead of streaming it means the transport controls are much more responsive, but the downside is that you can't resume on the TV where you left off on the iPad. Just another small price to pay to catch up on your favorite shows when you aren't home. The download feature is especially necessary since the TiVo Stream will only work with devices connected to your home network, which means it doesn't completely replace something like a Slingbox. Then again, a Slingbox isn't very useful if you don't have a decent internet connection -- say, in a plane or at a hotel.
The TiVo Stream works as advertised, but seems more like a feature that should be built into the DVR, as opposed to a standalone $129 accessory. If you're a TiVo Premiere owner and just want to be able to stream your favorite shows on your phone or tablet while around the house or transfer the occasional show to help you keep up with your novellas on the road, then we can't think of a better fit. On the other hand, this seems like a steep price to pay when you consider all the other ways to stream and download shows to your devices -- after all, $129 will buy you plenty of shows through iTunes or Google Play.