Streaming is booming: 2020 has been dubbed the ‘year of OTT’, we’re witnessing the ‘second streaming revolution’, and forecasts indicate that the average streaming subscriber will be paying for 4.9 streaming services by 2023.
The streaming revolution is moving from the mobile phone into the living room. TV screens are the new home of OTT content. According to Billy Nayden at Parks Associates “consumers are watching more internet video on the largest screen available” and many have turned to aggregators such as Roku, Amazon and Apple to do so, at the expense of the operator. Roku is on more than 30.5 million television screens and that could increase to as many as 72 million active accounts by 2022 with the growth of its smart TV platform as a primary driver.
OTT providers are increasingly focusing their energies on delivering entertainment to TVs, with specific attention on cost and efficiency - the TV is the most coveted real estate in the home and arguably where the optimal viewing experience is enjoyed.
Traditionally, OTT apps have been designed to run locally on a device - whether that’s a phone, tablet, smart TV, set-top or steaming device. In this way, the OTT marketplace mirrors the mobile phone ecosystem. But delivering app-based video entertainment to the TV screen is a radically different proposition than delivering to phones. Three major differences between mobile phones and OTT devices can result in a massive development and maintenance headache for OTT providers:
- Mobile phones are replaced on average every 32 months, resulting in fewer legacy devices than the set-top and Smart TV market, where device lifespan typically exceeds more than 5 years
- The mobile phone market has just two major platforms, while there are significantly more Smart TV and set-top operating systems, the number of which are exponentially multiplied by the variance in middleware vendors and platforms.
- Set-tops and similar devices are designed to do one thing - decode video, and thus cost tens of dollars rather than hundreds, and as a result the computational power available to mobile phones and set-tops varies drastically.
Is it realistic to keep an OTT app updated on this diverse array of set-tops and SmartTV platforms over their lifetime? This is clearly desirable for consumers and OTT providers, but for many apps this could amount to more than 400 updates over the life of the device! How can the best functionality and experience be ensured across all platforms, and is it possible to avoid spending a fortune in certification and maintenance costs?
ActiveVideo's paper - AppCloud for OTT Providers - outlines how a single OTT app can maintain the most modern features, performance, and functionality across all the set-tops, smart TVs and consumer video/streaming devices out there...with minimal cost, effort and no compromise in experience.