Bottom line, consumers love streaming video. The proof is the number of streaming video subscriptions consumers are willing to pay for and manage (the average is 3, with that number climbing in the U.S.). Consumers are attracted to the range of content available and the convenience of watching that content whenever they want. This attraction to streaming content has influenced pay TV operator interest in Google’s Android TV.
Google’s TV Solution called Android TV simplifies the the search for relevant content by aggregating streaming services in the Play Store and then implementing a federated search that can look for content in any of the subscriber’s streaming video subscriptions. Google has taken this a few steps further by combining this solution with their Chromecast devices and YouTube streaming video service, which is installed by default on all Android TV devices. With this solution, Google has joined the ranks of other retail streaming solutions from Amazon, Roku, Apple and Samsung. All of these solutions then connect to the open internet and become conduits for consumption of streaming video on our home TVs.
Pay TV operators have long been the provider of video to the consumer home and are now facing the stiff competition from service providers offering lower cost alternatives in the form of flexible subscriptions and low-cost retail devices. Recognizing consumer demand for streaming content is basis for operator interest in Google’s Operator Tier Android TV. It offers operators a path to delivering streaming apps alongside local and live programming. Operators retain a branded experience on the subscriber’s TV, while also providing a modern user interface, apps via the Google Play Store, voice control and federated search of live, recorded and app content.
The missing piece in most streaming services and Android TV is device management. Why does management matter? The device is the final component in a video delivery supply chain. It can impact the subscriber’s experience in consuming video. In DTVE’s annual industry survey released earlier this year, 91.3% of survey respondents indicated a poor user experience was a very relevant or moderately relevant factor in terminating a streaming service subscription. Who does the consumer call when their video service is not working as expected?
Set-top boxes have been managed devices for many years. Pay TV operators provide linear TV services over managed networks which guarantee high quality video delivery. The introduction of video streaming services delivered over the open internet and consumed on retail devices has introduced new challenges in assuring video quality. Streaming service subscribers can call their broadband provider who can confirm that the network is functioning. But they cannot identify any issues within retail devices used by the consumer.
Pay TV is not going away any time soon. Despite the reported decline in subscribers, operators must still provide the quality of service (QoS) their subscribers have come to expect. And as mentioned the set-top box is a key component to ensuring QoS. Their subscriber base reflects a wide variety of demographics and a proportion of these are not willing to give up the familiar remote control, EPG, local news and sports and channel surfing. These combined capabilities are only possible with a managed set- top box.
Amino’s managed devices enable operators to capture and review key data about device performance. It is possible to manage and schedule firmware and software updates, not only making sure the device functions as expected but extending the lifetime value of the device. Today’s Smart TVs do incorporate a software operating system, but TV vendors are not updating this software, which means that over time, Smart TVs become less smart. This limits the capabilities of the TV as exemplified by the Disney+ launch last fall that was only available on Smart TVs less than 3 years old.
their own streaming apps. With updates provided as needed, even set-top’s attached to older TVs maintain the capability to deliver modern user interfaces, apps stores and streaming apps.
AminoSM Engage also provides operator customer service reps with enhanced capabilities to address support calls. CSRs remotely access the managed device and see the TV screen, as the subscriber sees it, side by side with key metrics about the device itself. They can quickly review and resolve subscriber concerns.
The pressure is on for streaming service providers to provide a managed end-to-end experience. The consumer home will certainly own a variety of devices. At least one of these devices should be a managed set-top box that allows the operator to validate network, device and service performance into the consumer home.
Director of Product Management