NAGRA Helping Cable, Telecom Operators Deploy Android TV

Android TV, first unveiled in 2014 and updated by Google in 2017, is making a splash, and NAGRA is one of a handful of companies enabling mid-sized cable and telecom operators to add the offering. According to the company’s senior director of product marketing Simon Trudelle, NAGRA is currently helping to deploy eight active 4K Android TV projects, the most recent being the United Group, a telecom/media operator in South East Europe. NAGRA provides advanced content protection technology for its hybrid TV platform.

Trudelle points out that NAGRA addresses, “the full integration of user experience and user interface and the services on the Android TV platform” as well as security. “In the past two years Google has made it easier for pay-TV providers to launch Android TV,” he said. “They’ve listened to market needs, removed difficulties and accelerated time to market.”

Android TV has been doing especially well among mid-tier operators, which Trudelle defines as anywhere from 100,000 to 1.5 million subscribers. “In emerging and advanced markets, people want to be able to cast content from their phones to the TV, or TV to another device,” he explains. “Android TV enables that, and NAGRA provides the core foundations on the security side and a complete platform with our OpenTV Signature Edition.”

“We always have had security solutions,” he added. “We’ve added relevant anti-piracy security to Android. When the new Android TV operator-tier came to market, it triggered the take-up of the product. This year, we integrated an operator STB with our application and security, which means we have pre-integrated STBs with an app designed to perform with the same set of features you find on other devices.”

The current market for Android TV is estimated at roughly 30 million deployed set-top boxes, said Trudelle. By Q3 2017, according to analyst Dataxis, 40 worldwide pay-TV operators had deployed Android STBs, “in general used by operators wishing to create more ‘OTT friendly’ pay TV offers as well as pure OTT services.”

In CSI Magazine, U.K.-based Rethink Research predicts “almost 11 percent of pay-TV homes globally [excluding China] will have an Android TV platform by 2022,” accounting for “almost 100 million Android TV boxes.”

United Group is an example of a successful deployment, the first-ever 4K Android TV project in South East Europe. “Overall, it’s a great example of a service provider that has been able to leverage our offerings and expertise to provision Android TV and bring to market a really rich TV experience that really addresses the needs of consumers,” said Trudelle.

The introduction of Google’s operator-tier for Android TV has created “a transformation of a market segment that was often somehow trying to find its way.” Very large operators have their own resources to create customized solutions and the smallest operators resort to turnkey solutions, he noted. “Android TV fixes that need for that middle market,” he said, adding that NAGRA can and most likely will support the entire range of operators as Android TV gains market share.