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TiVo 'Needs to Get Over' Its DVR Past and Focus on Streaming, CEO Says

TiVo CEO Dave Shull wants his company to stop focusing on its DVR past and move into the streaming age. (Image credit: TiVo)

TiVo’s surprising late entry into the OTT device game simplifies its product offering and puts the company in position to do what it does best, offer search and recommendation, TiVo’s CEO, Dave Shull told investors Tuesday.

The former Dish Network and Weather Channel CEO said it’s important for Tivo to “get over its history” and “stop using the term ‘DVR.”

“We’re only talking about streaming now,” he told attendees of the Needham Growth Conference in New York.

Last week at CES, TiVo introduced a $50 streaming box, meant to compete head on with the established likes of Roku and Amazon. 

“We’re going to bet on the streaming wars,” Shull said. “We have a really easy solution to them.”

The ease, he said, starts with simplifying a TiVo product line that has been scattered across metadata, voice and several other technological areas. 

But the real incentive for TiVo to get into the increasingly mature OTT market is the proliferation of apps, which has swelled to seven, Shull said, for the average household, going on “eight or nine in a couple of years.

“It’s taking people around 11 minutes from the time they turn on their TV to figure out what to watch,” he added. “Because of our history with guides, and search and recommendation, we have the ability to put everything under one place.”

On the Xperi merger

TiVo surprised the investor community late last year, when it pivoted on plans to split its products and IP business units and instead entered into a merger with another technology company, Xperi.

The merger makes sense on a product level, Shull said, with Xperi being “very good at making the embedded technology found inside TVs.” This will come in handy as TiVo looks to embed its streaming ecosystem inside smart TVs the way Roku and Amazon do. 

In terms of the IP side of the business, he described patent litigation as a “shared know-how,” noting that the combining the two strong patent portfolios strengthens both operations. 

Third, Shull said Xperi gets TiVo further into new businesses like automotive. TiVo, which supplies music metadata to Pandora and Spotify, among other online music supplies, has already entered into a deal to supply a UI into the interface of an unnamed electronic auto manufacturer’s in-vehicle entertainment system. 

TiVo, Shull said, sold its business to Xperi at a 21% premium.