TiVo’s Roamio Platform Gets Opera SDK Support, Bringing HTML5 Web Apps To TiVo DVRs

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TiVo’s brand new Roamio platform is about to get a whole lot “appier” thanks to the introduction of Opera’s Devices SDK, and the addition of the Opera TV Store, a means through which developers can offer HTML5 web apps to TiVo device owners. The new partnership will also give developers an SDK to build TiVo-specific apps for an app store the over-the-top services provider plans to launch later this year.

TiVo’s Roamio platform launched just last week, via a new family of DVR hardware devices that improve considerably on the amount of content that can be recorded, and there’s a new feature coming that allows live and recorded content streaming, even out-of-home, thanks to an upcoming feature that’s going to be introduced via an update (hence the “roam” pun).

While most of the update was focused around the hardware — adding more tuners and more storage to improve the core DVR experience — TiVo also improved several of the onboard apps, making them faster and more responsive. According to TiVo VP of Product Marketing Jim Denney, some of that improvement comes from switching to the Opera Browser for those apps. The Netflix and YouTube apps in particular, both of which are built on Opera, are a lot faster to open and use.

Already, Roamio devices offer up access to some pre-installed apps including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, Spotify and more, and it consolidates content from all of the above in addition to cable services when you’re searching for shows. The introduction of the Opera TV store, which TiVo is aiming to deploy early next year, will bring a whole catalogue of new HTML5-based apps to the service, broadening the type of app-based content users have access to exponentially.

Opera’s TV Store is already available on millions of shipping devices, and the Opera Devices SDK made its way onto over 25 million connected TVs in 2012 alone. That means that TiVo customers will be getting access to a platform that’s already mature when the Opera Store goes live on its devices; there won’t be any waiting while a new store is set up and curate the way there would be if TiVo had started from scratch.

TiVo also contends that the partnership will help it more quickly introduce new and improved pre-loaded software to its set-top DVRs, since Opera has become a key partner for big brands and service providers that are making the switch to HTML5 in order to gain more presence on connected home entertainment platforms.

Access to Opera TV Store content is a big value-add that should help TiVo’s Roamio price tags look more attractive to users who might otherwise feel like a Roku or Apple TV device could fit their needs. And if TiVo and others suspect that Apple is preparing to make a fresh foray into the living room, as has been recently rumored by none other than our own contributor MG Siegler, building as full-featured an offering as possible definitely explains the push to build a software ecosystem.