January 15, 2020
TiVo, famous for its DVR devices that capture and record TV programs in real-time, is wading into the streaming wars with a new one-stop entertainment platform, says CEO Dave Shull.
The company, which in recent years has survived through its patent licensing business, is set to launch TiVo Stream 4K, an HDMI attachment that will combine multiple streaming apps and digital video services into one interface.
“We’re not using the word ‘DVR’ anymore. We’re not using the word ‘guide’ anymore,” Shull told Cheddar. “We’re all-in on the streaming wars.”
While platforms like Roku or Amazon Fire TV Stick combine streaming apps into a single plug-in hub, Shull says TiVo Stream will emphasize easier access to shows, movies, and other content over switching between apps.
“What’s unique about TiVo Stream 4K is that it’s all about the shows,” Shull said. “Most of the competition out there right now, they force people to go from app to app to app.”
In effect, this would erase the barriers between services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, creating a single catalog of searchable content. Shull said that the time is ripe for this kind of innovation, as your average consumer now subscribes to seven different streaming services, up from four in 2016.
The device will cost $69.99 but will launch at a discounted price of $49.99 for a limited time.
For live programming, TiVo has partnered with Sling TV and will also aggregate 49 different channels of digital-first content. Shull says TiVo’s long history of offering convenience in entertainment has prepared it for the chaotic world of streaming.
As TiVo’s stock dipped two percent during the morning, Shull made the case that TiVo is uniquely situated to capitalize on the latest technology trends. Since Shull took over as CEO back in May, the company has considered a number of possibilities for its future, including splitting into two entities: a consumer-focused brand and a licensing business.
The plan was scrapped in December when TiVo announced a deal to merge with Xperi, a licensing firm specializing in semiconductor technology. Shull says the combined company will explore new back-end technology solutions for homes and automobiles.
“We have an amazing opportunity here, because we do power more than 20 million households around the world and have a very tight partnership with cable companies.”