Platforms

TiVo Finds Its Voice With New ‘Vox’ Products

DVR maker fills audio search gap, spruces up its user interface 10/30/2017 8:00 AM Eastern

Filling an important hole in its video platform, TiVo has expanded its retail lineup with new Vox-branded products that support voice search and navigation, while also extending that capability to a sizable portion of its legacy products.

Leading the way is a new flagship 4K-capable DVR, called the Bolt Vox, and a client device called the Mini Vox that can be used in whole-home setups. Both products work with TiVo’s first voice-powered remote, which also carries the Vox brand.

The product launch comes more than three years after Rovi (which closed its merger with TiVo last fall) acquired Veveo, the startup behind a voice-based video personalized search platform, for $62 million.

TiVo’s new voice play, which spans live TV, recorded DVR content, video- on-demand libraries and integrated over-the-top services, essentially allows the company to play catch-up with several other platforms and services that already support that feature. Among pay TV operators, Comcast allows voice control on its X1 platform, and Dish Network has also introduced voice-based interface and remote that, in fact, uses technology from Rovi/TiVo.

Meanwhile, several OTT and streaming platforms also integrate voice search, including those from Roku, Amazon (Fire TV), Apple TV and various devices that are powered by Android TV.

Still, the product launch signals that TiVo is staying in the retail sector, as it marks its first major product refresh since TiVo and Rovi combined. TiVo confirmed it is also extending its new voice search functionality to devices distributed by its cable operator partners.

Interface Freshened Up

In addition to the new lineup of Vox devices, TiVo has also refreshed its interface with features that deliver personalized recommendations (what TiVo calls a “SmartBar”) and “intelligent predictions” based on prior viewing behavior. Also new is QuickView, an element that lets viewers see shows playing on different tuners built into the DVR, and a one-line channel guide.

In addition to enabling conversational-style voice searching (i.e. “Show me movies with Tom Cruise”), the new voice component is also tied to other TiVo features such as SkipMode and OnePass (i.e. “Create a OnePass for Modern Family”).

The baseline TiVo Bolt Vox includes four tuners and 500 Gigabytes of storage, works with digital cable systems (using a CableCard) or programming that is delivered over the air, and starts at $199.99. A beefier version of the Bolt Vox, for use only with digital cable systems, comes with 1 Terabyte of storage and six tuners. The TiVo Mini Vox goes for $179.99.

And TiVo isn’t abandoning its older products. Existing TiVo Bolt, TiVo Roamio and first-generation TiVo Mini customers can upgrade to voice control by purchasing a separate TiVo Vox Remote.

The Vox Remote for the Bolt (in black or white) sells for $39.99, while the Vox Remote for Roamio products and the first-generation TiVo Mini is available only in black, includes a separate Bluetooth adapter, and is priced at $44.99. The new product set became available on Sunday (Oct. 29) via TiVo’s website, Amazon.com, and at Best Buy stores nationwide.

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