TiVo has a huge library of licenses and patents that device owners such as Roku need to pay for. Now Roku has struck a new deal to use a collection of some 6,000 patents owned by TiVo and, more importantly, for access to data from TiVo’s entertainment metadata and other TiVo products “to further power intuitive search and navigation.”
Although we don’t know exactly what Roku plans to do with these new rights it describes this deal as a “net new deal.” That likely means Roku is hoping to use this deal to grow its platform in some way or form.
Yet I wouldn’t expect this to be a Roku DVR. These deals seem to have more to do with content discovery and maybe/possibly the user interface.
Roku is not the only one paying up for this. Recently TiVo signed similar deals with Netflix and HBO. TiVo even has licensing deals for some of its patents with 9 of the top 10 US TV providers such as Comcast.
What does this mean?
First Roku now has the rights to sell boxes that use patented innovations from TiVo. Though the real news part of this contract is Roku getting new access to the data TiVo owns. TiVo has a long history of improving search and user interface for set-top boxes. Now it seems Roku will get to tap into that to help improve the Roku experience.
Don’t expect any quick changes. It takes some time to program and test out new features like these; however, it is a good sign for Roku fans.
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