You may actually want a TiVo TV someday

By Microsoft 4 Min Read
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Of all the companies showcasing smart TVs at CES, the most intriguing comes from an unlikely source: Xperi.

If you’re not familiar with Xperi, you surely know the TiVo brand it owns. Last year, Xperi announced it was building its own TiVo OS smart TV platform and will start appearing on TVs in Europe in the first half of 2023. The company demonstrated them in the US for the first time at CES.

If you can shake any associations with TiVo’s DVR products—Xperi itself rarely talks about it anymore—TiVo’s TV software seems surprisingly useful.

Content on app

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Jared Newman / Foundry

TiVo’s smart TV home screen is largely focused on helping users figure out what to watch. It includes recommendations from different streaming sources and users can add movies or shows to a watchlist for later viewing. For a particular movie or show, you can see which streaming services offer it and jump straight to the corresponding app to start watching.

TiVo also lets you control which sources appear on the home screen first. This means you can hide recommendations from Disney+ or Amazon Prime, for example, if you don’t subscribe to those services.

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Jared Newman / Foundry

For voice search, TiVo can handle detailed genre searches like “90s animated movies.” You can also narrow your searches with follow-ups like “only those with Tom Hanks.”

Overall, the interface looks a lot like that of the TiVo Stream 4K, a cheap streaming dongle that Xperi launched a few years ago. While other platforms including Google TV and Apple TV have their own streaming guide features, TiVo it feels more like a neutral partywith simple control over recommendation sources and no aggressive overselling of your own content.

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Jared Newman / Foundry

Unlike Stream 4K, however, the TiVo operating system is based on Linux. This should make it more attractive to TV makers, as Xperi will allow them to share the platform’s ad revenue and use their own branding on the home screen. Xperi says it has no plans to make its TVs under the TiVo brand.

The only big question mark is app support. Unlike other major streaming platforms, TiVo smart TVs won’t offer an app store and instead come preloaded with major streaming sources. While Xperi leans on his Vewd acquisition to bring more apps to the platform, the selection will likely be lacking compared to Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, and Android TV.

Will TiVo TVs Launch in the US?

While TiVo hasn’t announced plans to bring its smart TV software to the United States, the company does want to eventually.

To that end, Xperi is working with Amlogic to integrate the TiVo OS into chipsets for the US and European markets; for now, though, the company is focusing on Europe, with TVs from Vestel, Daewoo, Regal, Hitachi, Telefunken, and JVC, among others.

All of which means that it may be some time before you can actually buy a TV with TiVo’s software. But the idea that you might want to one day doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

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