The age of information (AoI) has been widely used to quantify the information freshness in real-time status update systems. As the AoI is independent of the inherent property of the source data and the context, we introduce a mutual information-based value of information (VoI) framework for hidden Markov models. In this paper, we investigate the VoI and its relationship to the AoI for a noisy Ornstein–Uhlenbeck (OU) process. We explore the effects of correlation and noise on their relationship, and find logarithmic, exponential and linear dependencies between the two in three different regimes. This gives the formal justification for the selection of non-linear AoI functions previously reported in other works. Moreover, we study the statistical properties of the VoI in the example of a queue model, deriving its distribution functions and moments. The lower and upper bounds of the average VoI are also analysed, which can be used for the design and optimisation of freshness-aware networks. Numerical results are presented and further show that, compared with the traditional linear age and some basic non-linear age functions, the proposed VoI framework is more general and suitable for various contexts.