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Android future of TV, but many unwilling to pay

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NEW DELHI: Around 72% of respondents in a recent survey are considering Android implementations as a part of their set-top box (STB) strategies. In addition, 50% of respondents in a global survey see Android as being important for their goals within the next five years.

These are among the findings of a research done by digital security platform Irdeto and OvumConsulting indicating that a majority of video service providers have either Android TV or Android Open Source Project (AOSP) on their technology roadmaps.

Conducted in February 2017, the study “Is Android the future of the set-top box?” covered 300 TV industry professionals.

Around 106 respondents were from APAC, segregated by Ovum into two categories: Developed which had 58 respondents and developing which had 48 respondents. India figures in the latter category.

It 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% 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%) and those with less than one million subscribers (34%) both said that this was the number one driver for adoption.

However, despite service providers’ confidence in the benefits of Android TV, there are significant concerns around piracy and cyberthreats. 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,” said Irdeto director of Product Management Frank Poppelsdorf. “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% of those surveyed understand the differences 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,” saidOvum Practioce Leader TV Ed Barton. “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 like 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. Stofa, Denmark’s most innovative supplier of cable TV and broadband internet services, recently selected Irdeto Cloaked CA to securely deliver content through its upcoming new Android set-top box (STB). 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 revolutionize 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.

The survey was commissioned by Irdeto and conducted in February 2017 by Ovum. 301 TV industry professionals spread across six regional groupings, including APAC, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Latin America, Middle East & Africa and North America participated in the survey. All respondent companies provide video services as part of their business and the service provider types were Internet service providers, OTT video providers, pay TV operators (cable, DTT and satellite) and telecoms providers. The survey targeted an informed audience with a representative proportion of C-level respondents alongside technology, content, marketing and network security.

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