For operators to get viewers’ attention via new-age TV is not an easy task, which is one of the results that video, in fact, became more dependent on no one other but them – viewers. This is why Android TV is growing in popularity as it leaves more space for free watching. Are changing customs and preferences, however, the only reason this OTT platform appeared on our living-rooms' black screens?

Date of publication: 11.06.2019

Funny it is where the true portent of the upcoming change really can be found. Brits call it clicker. Surely it comes from the time when we were lying on a couch with a constantly changing idea what to watch. We were clicking forever. Nowadays, the choice we make before sitting in front of the TV set is rather conscious and dependent on us, so we click less... So fascinating that the remote itself reflects how we soon started watching video. Anyone finds these well-known logotypes between volume and channel buttons? Exactly. Netflix, YouTube or Hulu are on your remote control! The companies bypassed the whole path we had needed to totter through to find them among other functionalities of middleware platforms. One thing was missed – the battle for buttons has been watched by the brainy guys known for making timely upheavals. As usual, they looked at the problem from the other side.

Android TV – customize your video experience

Of course, following the current logic will lead us to having all the buttons on remotes replaced by brands… No! We like keeping our sweet futility simple. Android TV nudges its way through where countless number of hardware providers cram in search for another software developer who will make practically the same with a refreshed layout and some never-used features. Participating in this rough and tumble does not make much sense, especially when no one gets any interest in excelling what is really important – user experience. Android TV splits that into two systems: Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and Operator Tier. While the first resembles something known from our old STBs (a fixed interface), the second steps into the new and this is the future.

Unified interface with a possibility to add what you want is what we got used to. In a system like Operator Tier, the user can customize the launcher menu, record live TV or have quick access to third-party apps – and all of it with one player layout. No wonder it works. As its omnipresent brother, Android operating system, this is also Google’s initiative so the whole system is based on adroit data management. However, it has nothing to do with the fussiness of its namesake known from mobile. Android TV is a totally different story where the UX, UI, suggestions and functionalities are appropriated for following the viewer's behavior - to make it as comfy as the couch they are sitting on. In other words, pushing your offer to Android TV is like buying a parcel where you set the content (not necessarily video) while you have been already provided with all the utility infrastructure. The system which is very well-known from Google Maps where all you have to do is to only put the pin in the right place.

DRM convenience

Forget about remote control. Imagine yourself watching the last episode of your TV series after which you think it would be nice to start another one… so you take your phone and change to another show. Yes! – using Bluetooth! This is the UX which is designed for the viewers. It goes beyond only pushing the offer out for them. Android TV’s device works in accordance to DRM which resolves quite everything in terms of access to the desired content. No one should be worried about it. It is already there. Let us think of making it easy now and how to facilitate choosing from among many.

Because what about choosing from among what finds itself in opposition to Google’s policy? Depending on the country, the policy changes so the problem might multiply. It could if it were not for the fact that it is not placing video, music or the rest in Google’s storage. What providers actually do by appearing on such a platform, they connect their offer and it is up to viewer what they will pick. In this case, the explicit content warning is enough.

Moreover, the system is going to be refurbished as often as Google used to innovate their web tools. When you compare it with the speed of development of legacy middleware platforms, which takes about 12 months to run, you may be at peace with DRM system. It allows not only for keeping the system updated and your content quality living up to current expectations, but it reduces maintenance costs also. The whole work is, thus, to let those who watch feel lazy as the OTT platform’s UI they use stays always intuitive and efficient.

Clicking outdated?

It is not only the customs and preferences, thus, what reshaped the market. A powerful input that brought a lot to the cramming competition was technology which entailed opportunities. Was not it a matter of time when web roaming for the shows we wanted to watch or endless waiting for them on TV finally moved to the grown-up form of convenient entertainment? Opportunities and business let us dream about watching free.

It all may seem pretty revolutionizing however, so what with those who just do not feel like entering the smart way of watching with so many options of customization? Could it be overwhelming? Maybe… But then again, intuitive user experience leaves viewers, if they desire so, to click, click and click – to turn over (another British term but this time for switching) to another channel until they stop. Why not in the end? Is not it what being competitive is about? To stay inclusive, flexible, intuitive and innovative?

VECTOR X LABS in its competences manages to introduce providers to the smart way of watching (providing?) – to let their viewers cushion comfortably into the puffy couch and watch what they love and how they like.


Szymon Karbowski

President and CEO at VECTOR X LABS