You might remember TiVo from the early days of DVR boxes, but the company is still around today. TiVo now sells streaming boxes alongside DVR and OTA hardware, and your next smart TV might have a TiVo-made operating system.
TiVo parent company Xperi revealed its “independent media platform” today, called TiVo OS. The new software aims to be a “first-of-its-kind neutral platform,” giving TV and streaming box manufacterors the ability to control much of the software’s appearance and functionality. The operating system will compete with existing TV software experiences like Android TV/Google TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV OS.
So, why does TiVo want to build its own TV software? Well, all the current TV software providers now push their products and services over competing options — for example, all TVs with Fire OS heavily promote Prime Video. Full customization for TV makers was mostly limited to Android TV, which TiVo used for its Stream 4K stick, but Google started to limit that with the introduction of Google TV. TiVo is now building a white-label operating system for TV devices, allowing TV makers to more fully control the software experience while still maintaining access to popular apps and streaming services.
It remains to be seen if TVs running TiVo’s software will be more convenient and easy to use for buyers, or if they will have the same amount of clutter and advertisements — just from other companies. TiVo says the software has “easy set-up and natural voice navigation,” but it’s not clear which streaming services will be available.
The first “Powered by TiVo” smart TVs will arrive in 2023, starting with models from Vestel, one of the top three European TV manufacturers.