As TiVo’s Director of Product Management for IPTV, I was recently privileged to be invited to speak about how TiVo fits into the Android TV ecosystem at the Google Android TV Summit in Amsterdam. Here are my key takeaways from the event.
Google is providing scale, flexibility and quick Time to Market
The perception for pay-TV for many, is it is slow to innovate – it doesn’t move at ‘internet speed’. Deployments are measured in years and not weeks.
New cloud-based service platforms mean that companies can take advantage of many standardized functions and regular functional and security updates that Android TV offers to improve their innovation speed.
The Android TV ecosystem gives operators access to:
- Apps and Games:A huge library of content is available; simple development tools are available
- Flexibility to Differentiate:Operator Tier, Custom Launcher; free choice of technology stack; built on common code base
- Leverage Android’s Innovation Engine:Via Google Assistant on TV; IoT integration; cast content from 1000+ Android & iOS apps
Innovations abound – from software to hardware
Interest in Android TV from around the globe is phenomenal.
Companies are being innovative and stepping outside of the traditional “box.”
Good example would be JBL’s Link Bar that combines a high-end soundbar with Android TV and Google Assistant to give the consumer an all-in-one sound and video device.
Google is aiming for scale and as a result, we are seeing many partners, multiple OEMs and good quality hardware products both to operators and direct to the consumer.
Software isn’t being left behind either. Android TV is rapidly innovating, delivering quick cadence of releases, providing substantial changes to Google Assistant for Operators, including innovations in areas such as direct carrier billing.
Security has improved greatly with many more vendors supporting native Android TV capabilities
Content security has always been at the forefront of the pay-TV industry. With an increasing number of vendors supporting native Android TV capabilities such as mediaCodec, mediaDRM and mediaCAS, we are seeing huge improvements in security.
Significant Operator Momentum
Android TV is highly attractive to operators for a number of reasons – scalability, flexibility and quick time to market.
Furthermore, in addition to being able to address a wide range of devices that consumers can access content on, the OTT ecosystem available through Google Play brings together thousands of apps that operators can instantly tie into.
As such, there have been many operator deployments of Android TV this year.
It was clear from the summit that Android TV is a real viable option for operators and many are seriously evaluating how it can fit into their overall strategy.
When deploying Android TV, the back end is critical
The initial thought process for many operators when thinking of Android TV, naturally focuses on the front end and in many cases a set-top box.
However, one of the top considerations for operators is maintaining control via a common back-end service.
A back end that powers and interconnects the service to other systems is the key critical component for operators looking to introduce Android TV.
Careful evaluation of companies, like TiVo, that can provide a unified back end powered by an agile, flexible, scalable, cloud-based service – one that offers a standardized set of APIs that connect Android TV and other end-points to their billing, subscriber management, play-out and security systems should be a key part of the deployment planning for any operator.
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