April 18 2017: Last week, digital security specialist Irdeto and technology analyst Ovum, shared results of a global study on trends of TV distribution. Their conclusion: the future of the television set top box ( STB) lies in the world's dominant mobile phone operating system, Android.
The survey showed that 72% of all STB makers planned to build future boxes fueled by a version of Android. Why? Because customers are so used to downloading Android apps on their phones, they demand the same ease on their Net-connected 'Smart' TVs -- to access Hotstar, Netflix, Voot or YouTube. Android TV has come and is here to stay. India is seeing a flurry of announcements pitched around Android-driven television services.
After Netflix launched an Indian avatar a year ago -- Amazon Prime four months ago -- satellite dish operators , may have felt a bit threatened. Airtel seems to have decided: If you can't fight 'em, join 'em. Last week it launched Internet TV for homes, with a hybrid DTH box powered by Android. It comes preloaded with Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Games, its own movie channel plus easy access to the Google Play Store. The STB has a built-in WiFi receiver, so all you need is to link wirelessly to your home broadband router. In effect, it transforms any TV into a smart TV, ready, for 4K/Ultra HD content. There is also Bluetooth which is handy for connecting the remote and also using Google's voice search feature to speak-and-select the channels of your choice.
However be warned that watching Internet TV is not quite as simple as watching dish TV channels: Your home WiFi must provide a data speed of 4-5 MBPS at the least -- otherwise you will be plagued with frozen screens. Videocon already has a WiFi-driven STB. Other DTH operators may go the Android route in 2017.