Xperi, the company behind DTS sound and IMAX Enhanced for the home, has announced that it is launching its first smart TV OS in Tivo OS. You might question whether this is a “smart” move given the number of TV interfaces floating around, but its addition really marks a shift in what TVs offer viewers.

We usually talk a lot on this site about TV technology like Dolby Vision IQ, variable refresh rate and different picture modes, but the average person is likely to be confused or confused by all these technical terms. You walk into Currys, Best Buy, Media Markt and you just want a TV that can access the content you watch to watch.

In the course of the pandemic, content has become king. I’ve often seen people buy a TV and then find out it doesn’t have their favorite app – for example, Panasonic didn’t include Disney+ when the app was introduced – and then get annoyed that they have to buy a streaming stick to add to the price . It’s the equivalent of booking a flight on board and going all-inclusive – you don’t want to do all the hard work and don’t care how it got there, you just want your favorite apps to be accessible with just a few clicks of the remote.

Where TiVo OS is coming to market is in competition with the likes of Google/Android TV and Roku (which also announced a partnership with Metz during IFA). Like these smart TV options, TiVo OS seems to make the experience of using a TV easy, not awkward. In the short demo I was given, it looks similar to Google TV in the way it arranges its various icons, and you can customize what’s shown by subscribing to click through which apps you want to filter content.

It definitely seemed easy to use with the emphasis on discovery. Do a voice search and the interface might not find what you’re looking for, but it will type in a specific keyword (like an actor) and suggest alternatives so the discovery process doesn’t stop, but it might end up in a place you’re not considered.

TiVo OS has partnered with Vestel TVs in Europe to bring the interface to its range of TVs, which includes Toshiba in the UK. It would give Toshiba TVs a boost in that regard, the Linux-based smart system has always felt behind the others in terms of the apps it can support (no Disney+ and no Apple TV, for example). A new interface can give a new coat of paint to a slightly tired TV to make it more attractive than before.

If the pandemic has revealed anything about the nature of how we engage with televisions, it’s that the experiences we have with them drive the interaction. We consume content at an enormous speed and are always looking for something new, and anything that points us in the direction of what we want with minimal effort will be a leader in the new “smart TV wars”.

Tivo OS proves smart interfaces can be more important than fancy AV tech

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