Expertise Zone

8/10 operators agree: single operating system for STBs would make their day

Pelle Rosell,  Head of Marketing and Brand, Zenterio

Pelle Rosell,
Head of Marketing and Brand, Zenterio

Guest post by Pelle Rosell, Head of Marketing and Brand, Zenterio

The fact is, TV viewers really don’t care how content is delivered. They want a seamless experience of different content formats regardless of distribution technology. To make that happen, operators need to up their game to deliver interactive TV services.

Right now there’s a fragmentation epidemic happening around the world with set-top-boxes that prevents operators from offering their TV services faster.  And the numbers don’t lie. In a recent survey of 200 global operators and industry professionals, eight out of 10 operators said they would like one independent operating system because it would simplify service roll-out and decrease time to market. That’s 80%.

There’s a complex infrastructure for set-top boxes that hinders operators from being innovative in their markets. Wouldn’t it be nice if operators could implement one unified operating system on all set-top boxes to be able to launch interactive services cheaper and faster in all the countries where they are deployed?

Imagine, with that single unified operating system, TV Operators could embrace OTT services faster and strengthen their offering and reduce that pesky cord cutting that’s so dominant today.

Don’t let me preach to you, let’s look at some more numbers:

  • 92% of survey participants said they saw a need to upgrade their TV service by launching new interactive services. However, their existing legacy infrastructure stands in the way.
  • 69% of respondents experience problems running multiple operating systems on set-top boxes (STBs).
  • The survey shows the main problems operators experience running multiple operating systems for STBs are costly operations and maintenance (61%), long launch times for new services (53%), high costs for customer support (45%), and inefficiencies in sourcing STBs (36%).

Changes in an ecosystem are sometimes hard to see in the short term and even harder to address when the future is unknown. This is also probably why OTT services are viewed as both a threat and an opportunity by pay-TV providers with few viewing OTT simply as a threat to their existing business.

But if we step back and take a look at some current events in our TV world the big picture and opportunity starts to take shape.

  • OTT content is on the rise. LoveFlim and Netflix, with their original programming and the House of Cards phenomenon, have proven that OTT is only going to increase.
  • The infrastructure for mass distribution TV streaming is just not good enough. Take one look at the big fail from the Oscars and you will see, people want it, but it’s not ready for mass distribution yet.
  • There is a shift in power from the OTT player back to the TV Operator. Case in point? The Comcast Time Warner Cable merger. To deliver OTT you need the networks and the infrastructure to make it happen and that can’t happen without the TV operators, which now also start charging the OTT players for providing a smoother streaming service.

The glue, which binds us in our everyday work as we browse on our computers or use our mobile phones, is the operating system. Without that you can’t connect all the disparate parts. Where would Apple be without iOS or Android without their Jellybean or KitKat versions of their OS?

Why should TV operators have anything less than one unified independent operating system to unite STBs and take OTT head on?

In the end the viewer just wants what they want, the content.


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