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Get ready for TiVo in the cloud, DVR box optional

The DVR pioneer bows a software platform aimed at bridging content providers and devices like Apple TV, Fire TV and Android TV.

TiVo's voice search and interface could make their way to streaming platforms in app form soon.
Josh Goldman/CNET

The TiVo you know as an alternative to your cable company's DVR is still around, but the company is betting on the cloud for the future.

On Thursday TiVo announced its next-gen platform, a catch-all product for "providers" like cable companies. It's available for multiple TV devices, including not only Linux- and Android TV-based set-top boxes and traditional DVRs, but also DVR-free streaming devices like Apple TV and Amazon's Fire TV, as well as phones, tablets and PCs. The platform allows providers to take advantage of TiVo's user interface, voice control, personalization and recommendations.

The idea is to help traditional providers compete against, or survive next to, services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Video in a world where cord-cutting is increasingly popular. TiVo's well-regarded interface could provide a leg up.

"User experience defines the operator's video services for consumers," said Brett Sappington, senior director of research at Parks Associates in a statement. "Every pay-TV service and streaming video service is working to capture and maintain consumer attention in order to drive ongoing use and monetization. As a result, operators need a flexible platform that allows them to innovate rapidly and meet or surpass connected experiences offered elsewhere."

Of course TiVo still sells its own DVRs like the new 4K voice-operated TiVo Bolt Vox, and supports its legacy devices as well. It also has a history of powering third-party set-top boxes from providers like DirecTV. But with the introduction of this platform it takes another step away from physical hardware and into the cloud.

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