Updating set-top box software is something operators do infrequently and only when they need new features or security functions. With Android TV, this practice must change because Google mandates a software update policy. Is keeping Android TV updated going to be a pain for operators?
Android TV is an attractive option for operators because they can cut the time and effort of launching a set-top box from 18 months (or more), with traditional middleware, down to a fraction of that. However, the question many will be asking is how quickly can you REALLY launch your own brand of Android TV box?
Android TV is an open environment that could make operators love it, or hate it. There are many reasons for loving it. But there is only one main reason for potentially hating it… the security risk associated with it being open.
Threats are a reality in any environment.
Android TV is a hot topic in the industry. Many operators appreciate the benefits it offers. Some of these are described in my blog comparing Android TV to middleware. But a major concern remains: “how much control will I give up to Google?” Probably less than you think!
You have full control of the STB, not Google.
Yes, it’s true.
Google’s Android operating system took just a few years to go from upstart newcomer to dominating the global mobile market. Can it do the same for TV?
In my last blog, a primer on Android for STBs, I described the options available to operators: the “plug-and-play” Android TV service, and the more customizable self-build route based on AOSP. Is this combination enough to kill-off the market in proprietary middleware?
Launching a pay TV platform typically requires 2-3 years’ development to create a customized user experience based on proprietary middleware with continuous updates throughout the STB lifetime. It’s slow, expensive and requires specialist developers, but operators get the UX they choose.
Google’s AOSP and Android TV are shaking up this status quo. Android rose from zero to global dominance of mobile markets in under seven years, so it’s little wonder this disruptor is being taken seriously.
Imagine a world where Pay-TV operators are able to beat the OTT providers at their own game. Offering great content, better device reach and at a reduced operating cost. Making this reality isn’t that far away. The key is a new type of media streaming dongle.
Not all dongles are created equal
The popular HDMI dongle, e.g. Google’s ChromeCast, only allows the consumer to stream OTT content to a TV set using their smartphone, tablet or computer as a remote control. The CI Plus dongle, on the other hand, is more like a STB.