In the streaming market, Android TV is still far from the largest platform out there, and in comparison to the powerful Roku. But it is obviously growing with the recent disclosure that "tens of millions" of users are on the platform. Half come from pay-TV operators, but why? That's why paid TV operators seem to love Google's Android TV so much.
The best gifts for Android users
In recent months, we have heard a lot about pay-TV operators using Android TV for their devices. AT & T is working actively to create an Android TV box as both TiVo and Windstream. The three companies, by the way, are all examples of a pay-TV operator. All of these devices utilize Android TV's operator level, which first made the debut a few years ago. In this week, WeTek (a developer for distribution solutions specializing on Android TV) presented an overview of what the operator level means for businesses, and it gives a lot of insight into why we see much more of Android TV.
What is the "operator level"? In short, it is a certification level for an Android TV that enables businesses such as pay-TV operators to customize the platform to meet their individual needs. When Android TV was originally announced, Google was aware that, unlike Android itself, the TV platform could not be significantly modified on third-party hardware. However, with the operator level, it is possible in several areas of the operating system.
Customized Android TV user interface with operator level – Image Credit: WeTek
As we have seen with the AT&T DirecTV box, using the operator level makes almost complete control of the platform appearance. Businesses can customize startup screens and even setup experience. This allows users to sign in with their pay-TV accounts in addition to a Google Account. It can also simplify the setup of a remote or Internet connection.
For UI / UX, WeTek explains how this tier allows customization of the standard Android TV launch. Businesses can use this to highlight their own apps, and increase the chances of users viewing the content.
… because we can customize the launch program, we can get what would be the TV operator's main app options for the operating system home menu. Whenever the user terminates an app, supports the device or opens only the Android TV menu, he will be exposed to the operator offer, which may increase the chances of identifying a relevant content to be seen, especially if the TV operator provides a personalized area of profile relevance contents.
Detailed in another post, companies can set fixed locations for the first two apps in the top row, as well as squeeze a "Watch later" route somewhere on the home screen. The end user cannot remove or modify these if the operator chooses to use it.
Customized appliance in Android TV operator tier – Image Credit: WeTek
Profiles are another benefit of Android TV, as users can share the same device with individual accounts. This provides better personalized recommendations and settings for the end user, but also better data collection for the company using Firebase. Furthermore, pay-TV operators can easily integrate things like DVR and video-on-demand content on Android TV without blocking access to third-party apps such as Netflix and YouTube.
All this throws down, it is, thanks to the Android TV operator level, companies no longer need to build their systems from scratch. WeTek notes that using Android TV, new devices see development cycles that are up to 60% shorter. Much that can be attributed to the fact that so much is already built into Android TV. For example, businesses do not need to build a partnership to rent / purchase digital movies, as Google Play Movies allows users to do so while providing a refund to the operator.
If you are at all interested in what goes on behind the scenes with Android TV's operator level, I strongly recommend giving WeTek's two posts a reading on Medium. What I have summarized above only scrapes the surface. Even though Android TV has a bright future, thanks to the operator level.
Personally, I have always hated the set-top boxes offered by such as cable networks because of a slow, locked ecosystem. While I love Android TV in its pure form, the operator level looks like a powerful tool for businesses to improve their offerings as the world moves to streaming.
As a sidebar, this is also a potentially great source of growth for Google Assistant. The assistant is baked into all Android TV releases and even used as the sole voice search for some of these operators. It kicks the door open for users to adopt additional adjoining hardware such as Google Home. Look up Alexa.
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