Android set for ‘pivotal’ role in TV distribution | Media Analysis | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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A new global survey by content protection firm Irdeto and Ovum has revealed that nearly three-quarters of video service providers have Android TV or Android Open Source Project (AOSP) on their technology roadmaps.

The survey, Is Android the Future of the Set-Top Box?, was conducted in February 2017 and took the views of 301 TV industry professionals spread across six regional groupings, including APAC, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Latin America, Middle East & Africa and North America.

In addition to 72% of respondents considering Android implementations as a part of their set-top box (STB) strategies, half of all respondents saw Android as being important for their goals within the next five years. The industry professionals identified several benefits they perceive Android TV offering, including the availability of new features and services, faster time-to-market, an attractive user interface and cost efficiencies. However, only 54% of video service providers were willing to pay more for Android chipsets than traditional chipsets with embedded middleware.

The ability for users to download additional apps was the driving force leading Android implementations. Video service providers with more than one million subscribers (43%) and those with less than one million subscribers (34%) both said that this was the No 1 driver for adoption. However, despite service providers’ confidence in the benefits of Android TV, there remain significant concerns around piracy and cyber threats. By allowing easy installations of other applications onto the STB, 43% of respondents believe there will be an increased attack surface, while 41% are concerned that their subscribers could install apps for illegal streaming.

“Video service providers are feeling pressure to continue to innovate their offerings to satisfy consumer demand for an optimal user experience,” explained Frank Poppelsdorf, director of product management, Irdeto. “These results indicate that Android TV is not only on pace to play a critical role in the future of TV distribution, but are essential for the industry to meet growing consumer demand for new and innovative services. However, the open nature of the technology brings up several security concerns, especially regarding piracy. As the industry continues to shift toward more open platforms for the set-top box, it will be critical for video service providers to implement a robust 360° security approach to ensure their premium content is protected while optimising flexibility and time to market.”

While many expect Android to dominate the TV landscape in the near future, the Is Android the Future of the Set-Top Box? survey  revealed that more education on the differences between Android platforms may be needed. Only 52% of those surveyed understand the difference between Android TV and AOSP.

“Education on Android platforms is critical for video service providers to understand the capabilities, benefits and drawbacks of each technology in order to make the best strategic decision concerning their technology roadmap,” added Ovum practice leader Ed Barton.