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Android TV to ship 99.2m devices by 2022 – helping or hindering vendors?

Video technology vendors are winning contracts galore since Google came out with its Android TV operator tier platform, despite some being booted out of traditional set top environments, and the future is about to get a lot more lucrative for these emerging Android TV experts. Android TV will explode from reaching 0.9% of all pay TV homes globally in 2017 to 10.9% by the end of 2022, while accounting for over 25% of all new device shipments during this time frame, according to the new ‘How Android TV Finally Won the Set Top War’ report, from our research arm Rethink TV.

The report also looks beyond 2022, projecting it will take operators around 10 or 11 years to fully replace their set top footprints with a service based on Android TV, with around 70% of operators by then embracing a serious Android TV strategy.

By 2022, Android TV will surge to 99.2 million device shipments through pay TV operators. Importantly, this figure encompasses pay TV operators only, not the FTA broadcasters who may well embrace Android TV in the near future and the non-operator tier devices shipped by CPE manufacturers via retail – suggesting 99.2 million devices is just the tip of the iceberg.

The popularity of Android TV operator tier boils down to a simple combination of the Play Store, providing access to apps from all corners of the content ecosystem, plus a flexible UI and Google Assistant for voice control – a component which may well become Android TV’s crown jewel.

This success has been built on a renewed plan of action from its predecessor Google TV, handing over more control to operators – in which they can draft in set top and software firms of choice to write a tailor-made UI. This is critical to the future of pay TV, and by introducing voice control to unify OTT services in a single interface, it effectively becomes less attractive for consumers to cut the cord.

However, the report believes the major operators will be reluctant to partner with Google, instead plowing ahead with their own offerings powered by in-house technologies, while pay TV operators with under 2 million set tops deployed in the field will view Android TV as a no-brainer. The rise of Android TV has also been aided by operators the world over realizing it is far better to embrace Netflix than to engage it in combat.

Regionally, the results are interesting. Asia Pacific will dominate Android TV operator deployments by 2022, accounting for 36% of the forecast 99.2 million base of devices, closely followed by Europe with 34%. Surprisingly, North America only comes in at 17%, just ahead of Latin America at 13%, largely due to none of the tier 1 North American operators adopting Android TV earlier than 2019, while smaller pay TV operators, with under 50,000 subscribers, will be the early adopters.

In Asia Pacific, the reports finds Android TV will be most prevalent in India, with DTH operator Bharti Airtel offering a device today and Reliance Jio preparing to launch a new DTH service built around an Android TV hybrid device.

France jumps out as a surprise mass adopter of Android TV operator tier, with Bouygues, Free and Numericable-SFR all adopting the platform as early as 2015. Also in Europe, Telecom Italia was ahead of the curve in 2016, while the Nordic operators have more recently embraced Android TV this year.

Conclusively and most importantly from the Faultline Online Reporter perspective, the companies interviewed for this report largely agreed on Android TV’s rapid rise – so adapting their offerings accordingly has proved a worthwhile investment.

‘How Android TV Finally Won the Set Top War’ was constructed following conversations with a number of operators and vendors with specialist offerings around Android TV, including Technicolor, Verimatrix, Accedo, 3 Screen Solutions, TiVo, Amino and a few which do not wish to be mentioned.

Click here to see a free executive summary of the report or for further information contact Simon Thompson at [email protected] 

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