This week the annual International Broadcasting Convention took place in Amsterdam, and Google was in attendance talking all things Android TV. What’s interesting about this conference is it’s not about TV’s, consumer tech or even hardware per see.
The International Broadcasting Convention is targeted at the TV industry, content makers, broadcasts, TV channels; those sorts of players. Google seems to have made a big play to bring precisely those people on board with the Android TV family.
During the conference, Google showed off its development road map and included in that was a custom made Android TV dongle specifically intended for broadcasters to be able to quickly bring hardware to market.
The device was simple, featuring a USB C “hockey puck” and a remote featuring an Assistant button, YouTube button and an operator customisable button.
This hardware will be supported by Google for 3 years of software updates, comes pre-certified for partner apps (eg NetFlix), and can reduce the time to market and costs for broadcasters to introduce their own set-top box solutions. What’s most interesting is that Google will now let these partners customise the software to promote their services, a first for Android TV.
Considering Android TV felt a little left out in the cold at this year’s Google I/O, it’s great to see Google out there drumming up support for the ecosystem. Google played up its app ecosystem and is hoping to have upwards of 10,000 apps available on the Android TV platform by 2021.
It’s easy to see how this hardware offering may be appealing for broadcasters: Google has done all of the heavy lifting for the development, and will support the software for at least 3 years, while broadcasters get to customise the UI and promote their content and it comes with the full Android TV app catalogue.
For Google, this makes sense as especially internationally, many users get their content from their provider’s hardware box. If Android can power that, their ecosystem grows. Google would also be playing defence against Roku which owns a large mind share of the streaming TV/ set-top box market.
We’re just glad to see Google still swinging and supporting and driving one of their less popular ecosystems, it brings hope to our Google-coloured hearts.