TiVo: We’re Still In The Hardware Biz

TiVo continues to rely more heavily on cloud-based services and the porting of its interface and app platform to third-party devices, but the DVR pioneer company denies that a reported layoff of its industrial design team means it’s abandoning the hardware business.

TiVo laid off most of its industrial designers, a team of five employees so far, Wired reported Wednesday, citing unnamed sources within TiVo. Wired added that two engineers are staying on to “handle support for current and upcoming third-party devices.”

TiVo wouldn’t confirm the report of layoffs, but a spokesman said the company, which launched its family of “Roamio” DVRs last August, remains capable of delivering on all its current and future hardware needs.

“We continue to balance appropriate levels of staffing and expertise necessary to support our existing hardware business and continue our innovation in hardware platforms and accessories with the need to allocate resources where strategic growth opportunities exist – and there is no doubt that we expect growth in the cloud-based delivery aspects of TiVo’s business.

In fact, TiVo has some new features on the way for its own hardware as well as the software platform it ports to set-tops distributed by MSO partners. At the International CES conference this month, Jeff Klugman, TiVo’s EVP of product and revenue, said TiVo expects to add native 4K video support later this year to Roamio retail products as well as the software that runs on MSO-leased boxes.

Although TiVo is sticking in the hardware business, its current strategic direction requires much less reliance on TiVo-made equipment. 

Of recent note, the company has developed a network DVR that’s already being tested by U.K.-based operator Virgin Media and other international cable operators.

While several of TiVo’s pay-TV partners continue to lease TiVo-made boxes (Atlantic Broadband, for example, distributes the T6, an MSO-optimized device modeled after the hardware used for the Roamio Plus model sold by TiVo at retail),  the trend is toward porting TiVo’s software platform to boxes and gateways made by vendors such as Pace and Samsung. Cisco Systems and Technicolor have also signed licenses for TiVo’s Hardware Porting Kit.