There is an interesting interview Ten Questions with TiVo’s Director of User Experience, Margret Schmidt that talks about how TiVo designed what I consider one of the best and most intuitive UIs ever.
I have looked at the interfaces on several PVR and Set top boxes of late and even though these devices were designed 8 years after the first TiVo, they are as a whole hugely inferior to the TiVo in regards to the UI.
Part of the problem is that most of the current players in the market are ignorant ( deliberately or otherwise ) of their competition and so miss the opportunity to profit from their mistakes.
In the case of TiVo as it is only a US or UK product, the competition ( mostly out of Korea or India ) can’t typically acquire or use one well enough to get a feel for the interface design.
TiVo have certainly shown interest in licencing their technology to hardware manufacturers, it would nice if they could develop their software into a platform in a similar way to the Symbian Series 60 platform used by most of the major mobile phone manufacturers in the world.
I’ll keep my fingers crossed ….