Xperi/TiVo Edges Closer to Smart TV OS with $109M Vewd Purchase

(Image credit: Vewd)

Xperi's Paleolithically slow entry into the smart TV OS business edged forward Monday, with the company announcing a $109 million purchase of Oslo, Norway-based Vewd Software.

Xperi, which had already worked with Vewd as a client, will absorb Vewd’s 275 employees into its ranks. 

“Xperi’s TiVo product offerings, when integrated with Vewd’s suite of streaming platform solutions, will help accelerate and scale the deployment of TiVo OS for connected TVs and expand our video-over-broadband offerings,” Xperi CEO Jon Kirchner said.

Technology company Xperi announced its $3 billion purchase of TiVo back in December 2019, with the aim of pairing TiVo's video UX know-how with its own inroads into the global smart-TV original equipment manufacturer (OEM) market. The aim is to compete with Amazon, Google, Roku — and now other entries, including Comcast — for “gatekeeper” status to the global connected TV living room. 

But the plan is taking a while to unfold. 

In April 2020, the combined company launched its own Android TV-based TVOS, TiVo Stream, in its own connected TV gadget, the TiVo Stream 4K, with plans to expand that software to the smart TV market. 

A year later, Xperi said it would break away from Android TV, with Google using its new Google TV to steer into the TVOS business as a competitor. And in its Q1 earnings report in May, Kirchner said that Xperi is now targeting a late-2023/early-2024 entry into the smart TV OS business. 

“Vewd’s global reach and expertise in providing support to content owners, TV OEMs, and SoC partners as they deploy middleware and OS solutions across various devices is tremendously valuable and further paves the way for additional monetization opportunities as we expand our global footprint of streaming devices,” Kirchner added. 

Xperi also announced plans earlier this year to split off its IP licensing business from its products operation. Vewd also fits into that strategy, Xperi claims. 

“The acquisition of Vewd also strengthens the growth outlook of our product business as we prepare to separate our IP and product businesses this fall. We expect incremental revenue of $10 million in the second half of this year, followed by substantially higher revenue and a positive EBITDA contribution in 2023,” added Kirchner.

As for Vewd, it’s coming off a Chapter 11 restructuring back in December, in which it traded $118 million in equity for debt relief. 

Notably, Vewd in October announced a partnership with smart-TV maker Vestel to make pay TV operator-ready TVs designed to replace set-top boxes and compete against Comcast’s Sky Glass initiative in Europe. ▪️

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!