TiVo celebrates its 25th birthday with a brand new smart TV operating system

TiVo OS running on a 55-inch TV sitting on a table with a white tablecloth
(Image credit: Future)

TiVo has just celebrated its 25th anniversary, and it has chosen to coincide this special occasion with the launch of its new smart TV platform. It's called TiVo OS (not the most imaginative title) and it's set to power a handful of affordable TVs here in the UK, across Europe and, in the near future, the US.

We had a quick demo of the new operating system at a TiVo event this week, in which we got to see the new platform in action. It's not a wild departure from the other smart platforms such as Google TV or Fire OS, with square app icons and rectangular rotating carousels with suggested content; however, there are a few key aspects that set it apart form the rest.

The first is deep integration with Freely, the new free terrestrial television platform that allows you to watch live TV over wi-fi without requiring an aerial. We've already seen Freely in action; however, the TiVo OS features deep integration with the platform, which means you'll see live content from Freely at the very top of this system's home page. On the Bush 4K TV that was running this demo (picture above), there was also a dedicated Freely shortcut button on the remote – therefore, we expect this new service to play a key role in the upcoming "powered by TiVo OS" sets.

Secondly, TiVo OS is touting a personalised, yet unbiased content recommendation system, which will show you content that pertains to your interest without pushing certain services in your face. In fact, you can customise the home screen to only show you specific apps. App compatibility seems to be solid so far; we spotted Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, Channel 4, ITV X and more in our demo.

Each content suggestion on the home page features an icon with the streaming service it's on, with a direct link to the app to watch the content (providing you have a subscription), alongside a rich selection of content information, genre details and the ability to thumbs up, thumbs down or flag content. TiVo's parent organisation Xperi boasts the fact that it is one of the largest metadata providers for content information in the world, which has allowed TiVo OS to feature a healthy amount of content information, which should make browsing that bit easier. 

Finally, TiVo showed off its impressive voice search function, which supports "nested queries". The example we were given was the voice command "show me action movies", to which the OS obliged. Then it was asked "only show me movies from the ’90s", to which the system remembered we were after action movies but added the context that we wanted films from the 1990s. Finally, it was asked, "show me movies with Bruce Willis", to which the system once again remembered we were looking for action movies from the 1990s, but it then showed us films that fit that criteria that also starred Bruce Willis. 

Speaking to TiVo OS' Senior Vice President and General Manager of Smart TV Media Platform, Ben Maughan, he provided context as to what TiVo OS is all about. He says that the goal was to design a "simple and intuitive UI" and he went on to explain how constant tweaks and updates were being made to the platform to enhance usability. He also suggested that the platform was very open to suggestions, stating that comments from friends and family about what they want from a smart TV platform have helped to shape TiVo OS thus far. 

TiVo OS is set to launch across various brands of TVs. A partnership with Vestel will spur this on; for reference, Vestel manufactures a large proportion of retailer own-brand televisions, as well as notable affordable models for established TV brands like Panasonic, JVC and Toshiba. The first model to include the TiVo OS with Freely integration will be the Bush 55UT24SB, which is set to go on sale in Argos soon.


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Lewis Empson
Staff Writer

Lewis Empson is a Staff Writer on What Hi-Fi?. He was previously Gaming and Digital editor for Cardiff University's 'Quench Magazine', Lewis graduated in 2021 and has since worked on a selection of lifestyle magazines and regional newspapers. Outside of work, he enjoys gaming, gigs and regular cinema trips.