When Xperi Corp. bought TiVo in 2019 for $3 billion, one of the more exciting elements of the transaction that was pitched to investors was the synergy around smart TV.
TiVo‘s streaming OS, TiVo Stream, would leverage Xperi's already established inroads into the smart TV original equipment maker (OEM) market. Xperi, for example, provides the technology for IMAX Enhanced in smart TVs, which is being used by Disney Plus to show 13 Disney and Marvel movies in IMAX format.
TiVo, which was already late to the streaming game, would catch up by accelerated adoption of TiVo Stream through enabled smart TVs.
Nearly two years after the merger was announced, Xperi still doesn't have a smart TV integration deal for TiVo Stream.
“We increased the footprint and available content for the TiVo Stream and advanced discussions toward delivering Stream OS on connected TVs,” Xperi CEO Jon Kirchner told equity analysts Monday, during his company's third-quarter earnings call.
Beyond that, Kirchner provided little to no update about TiVo Stream — or the HDMI gadget that currently houses the OS, the TiVo Stream 4K. (Eighteen months after the product's introduction, we still have no idea as to how many consumers are using this thing.)
Xperi‘s continued dithering over Stream comes amid two recent impactful developments in the North American smart TV market, the most notable being Amazon's introduction of its own branded, Fire TV-powered smart TVs on its mighty e-commerce platform.
According to Roku, the leading distributor of smart TV operating systems in North America, smart TV prices have increased 42% this year amid the global electronics supply chain shortage, with sales declining 31%.
Amazon, of course, has the power to put price pressure on the entire market by selling well below costs.
Meanwhile, other streaming operating systems are crowding into the market--notably, Comcast‘s new XClass OS, which powers new Hisense smart TVs sold at Walmart and — starting this week — Walmart.com.
For its part, Xperi continues to tout development of TiVo+, the ad-supported streaming service riding on the back of TiVo Stream.
During Monday's Q3 presentation, Kirchner mentioned TiVo+ channel acquisitions QVC, Hallmark Movies & More, Magnolia Pictures and Kevin Hart's Laugh Out Loud.
“We also expanded our relationship with Pluto TV to integrate 33 new channels, including Showtime Selects, Pluto TV 007, the Paramount Movie Channel, and more. Lastly, we added AcornTV to our SVOD lineup,” Kirchner noted.
The streaming machinations come as TiVo's long profitable pay TV business begins to erode. Xperi‘s revenue from that sector came in at $54.2 million in Q3, down 2% year over year.
The better news: Xperi‘s patent troll business was up 27% year over year to $101.6 million, the news coming a year after Xperi settled a long-running IP dispute with Comcast.
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