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Sony will incorporate some TiVo technology in Google TV sets

Xperi, the parent company of TiVo, says the plan is connected to its acquisition of Vewd in 2022.

Xperi, the parent company of TiVo, says the plan is connected to its acquisition of Vewd in 2022.

A Sony Bravia smart television set. (Courtesy image)
A Sony Bravia smart television set. (Courtesy image)

Users of Sony Bravia TV sets are about to get a nice upgrade courtesy of a familiar brand: TiVo.

This week, executives at Xperi announced Sony will soon incorporate TiVo’s content and search discovery technology into their lineup of Google TV-powered television sets.

The deal builds on a long-standing partnership between Sony and TiVo, which includes the licensing of certain intellectual property between the two companies.

On a conference call with investors this week, Xperi CEO Jon Kirchner said the integration of TiVo technology into Sony TV sets is connected to Xperi’s acquisition of Vewd, a developer of middle-man technology that is primarily intended for Android TV devices. That technology includes a custom Android TV launcher, electronic program guide and data collection and analytics software.

“I think it just is one more example of, let’s call it, some of the value that we were able to gain through the Vewd acquisition,” Kirchner said.

Sony’s Bravia TVs include a handful of custom-made apps that are tailored to specific features, including a live TV app that collates broadcast channels (including NextGen TV, on some newer models) alongside live channels from Pluto TV and Xumo Play, as well as an app with exclusive offers targeted to Bravia TV users.

It wasn’t clear if the pact between Sony and TiVo will improve on any of those features, or if the technology is intended for other features of the TV sets. Most newer-model Sony TVs are powered by Google TV, a variant of Android TV that includes its own content and discovery technology through the home screen.

Xperi has been focused on licensing its TiVo technology to more electronic makers, to include its own streaming operating system called TiVo OS. Earlier this year, Xperi announced Vestel is making a line-up of TiVo TVs that will be sold in Europe; on Wednesday, Kirchner revealed Sharp will also begin making TVs powered by TiVo OS.

TiVo TVs are also coming to the United States, with the first sets expected to hit store shelves in 2024, Kirchner affirmed. Xperi hasn’t said who will make TiVo-powered TV sets in the domestic market.

As TiVo TVs hit the market, Kirschner said the company is hoping to convince more electronic makers to license their operating system, while also tapping into revenue opportunities through the TiVo OS home screen and a collective of free, ad-supported streaming channeled offered under the TiVo Plus brand name.

“Each of these markets is expected to expand rapidly over the next several years as Internet connectivity, streaming and consumer expectations cause entertainment to be more ubiquitous and advertising dollars shift to new delivery methods,” Kirschner said.