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. Unfortunately, the answer is not definitive and it does depend on a few factors. If speed is a motivator, there are some shortcuts you should know.

OTT in three months

Many operators we’ve spoken to have already deployed or planned to deploy pure OTT Android TV set-top boxes as a start. Adding such devices to their portfolio is often a no-brainer because operators are keen to reach young consumers or their competitors’ subscribers with an attractive OTT service. Android TV is ideal for this – with 4K-ready DRM security, a full-featured user interface and access to thousands of apps in the Google Play Store.

Launching an OTT Android TV box can take as little as 3 months, because operators only have to pick a device partner, add their app and branding, and get the box certified by Google.

In contrast, launching a hybrid Android TV box can take much longer if you are not careful.

Hybrid in… three to 12 months (or more)

While Google has included just about everything needed for OTT on Android TV, the opposite is true for broadcast. Operators must literally BYOB – “Bring Your Own Broadcast”. What this means is that you must have a clear understanding of the work required, find technology partners who have ready-to-go broadcast solutions on Android TV, and assign an experienced integration team to get the device certified by Google.

If you do all that, you can potentially launch a hybrid Android TV box in three to six months.

Otherwise, you may be in for a nasty surprise. Piecemealing Android TV together can easily take 12 months or longer, and it won’t be fun.

Shortcuts to speed up hybrid deployments

There are seven main areas of integration for broadcast services on Android TV. You can cut out at least six months of launch time if you use a pre-integrated solution that has taken care of the first five stages:

  • Secure chipset integration (chips certified for hybrid use on Android TV)
  • DVB TV input to manage the proprietary service plan of pay TV operators
  • Conditional access integration and custom, advanced CA features
  • Secure implementation of the boot or loader of the STB
  • Over the air update functionality (using Google’s mechanism or otherwise)

With a pre-integrated solution, you only need to complete the last two stages:

  • Operator Tier user experience customization
  • System integration and Google certification (some time-saving prep work is possible)

Then in three to six months, voila!

To learn more about Android TV, check out our ebook, “5 facts to help you decide if Android TV is for you”.