Study: Android ‘pivotal’ to future TV distribution

Findings from a global survey carried out by digital platform security specialist Irdeto and research and consultancy firm Ovum reveal that a majority of video service providers have either Android TV or Android Open Source Project (AOSP) on their technology road-maps.

Conducted in February 2017, the study, Is Android the future of the set-top box?, found that 72 per cent of respondents are considering Android implementations as a part of their set-top box (STB) strategies. In addition, 50 per cent of respondents see Android as being important for their goals within the next five years. The 300 TV industry professionals surveyed also identified a variety of benefits they perceive Android TV to offer, including the availability of new features and services, faster time-to-market, an attractive user interface and cost efficiencies. However, while a majority of respondents indicated a commitment to Android, only 54 per cent of video service providers are willing to pay more for Android chipsets than traditional chipsets with embedded middleware.

Features, specifically the ability for users to download additional apps, are the driving force leading Android implementations. Video service providers with more than one million subscribers (43 per cent) and those with less than one million subscribers (34 per cent) both said that this was the number one driver for adoption. However, despite service providers’ confidence in the benefits of Android TV, there remain significant concerns around piracy and cyberthreats. By allowing easy installations of other applications onto the STB, 43 per cent of respondents believe there will be an increased attack surface, while 41 per cent 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,” said 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 in regard to 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-degree security approach to ensure their premium content is protected while optimizing flexibility and time to market.”

While many expect Android to dominate the TV landscape in the near future, the survey revealed that more education on the differences between Android platforms may be needed. Only 52 per cent 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,” said Ed Barton, Practice Leader, TV, Ovum. “These types of insights identified in our survey with Irdeto are key to help pay TV operators, broadcasters and OTT streaming providers better anticipate the opportunities and challenges ahead. We were pleased to work with Irdeto on this survey of C-Level executives as well as professionals across multiple disciplines to identify Android strategies that will shape the pay TV market in the years ahead.”

As platforms such as Android TV become the new norm in the TV landscape, it will be important for operators to employ a holistic, 360-degree security approach to secure these next-generation devices, suggests Irdeto. Danish cable TV and broadband Internet services supplier Stofa recently selected Irdeto Cloaked CA to deliver content securely through its upcoming new Android set-top box. Not only will subscribers have the full range of Stofa services on the STB, they will also have direct access to the Google Play app store and to streaming services such as YouTube. Stofa intends to revolutionise the user experience with its new Android STB and with Irdeto’s latest renewable and cardless software security, any form of content delivered to customers will be robustly protected.

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