The connected TV market is one which seems to be growing, albeit slowly. While most new TV sets that come through are connected, a few times a year a new device is released which grabs some of the attention and usually either in the form of the latest offering from Android TV, Roku, Amazon or of course, Apple. While these devices are on the whole slow-coming, they do collectively represent a growing and emerging market. One which is likely to be extremely big in the future. A notion that is not lost on Roku’s CEO, Anthony Wood.
The Roku CEO has been talking today at an event in New Orleans and during the talk expanded on how he sees the market currently and how it will pan out. From the Android TV perspective, what is interesting is that Wood does highlight how Google is their biggest competitor currently. While Roku does bring to market various pieces of hardware, like the Roku Stick, the company is thought to be much profitable from the software side of things and particularly, in licensing and advertising. Which in reality is not that far different from Google’s approach with Android TV and it is this point that Wood notes is where the real competition from Google is coming from. More to the point, as the licensing aspects are expected to exponentially grow compared to the hardware sectors of Roku and Google, Roku sees Google as its main competition to be the dominant TV OS force. Wood highlighted this point by noting that he expects all non-Samsung made TVs in the future to be “powered by Roku or Android TV”. As Wood puts it “the two biggest players licensing technology to smart TVs.”
However, Wood does note that there are some fundamental differences between the outlook of both companies. Most specifically, their approach to the FCC’s plans to ‘Unlock the box’ which would separate the need for cable company-provided set top boxes. Wood notes that while Google is very much behind the unlocking push, Roku is by design a system which works more naturally in solving this issue. As Wood suggests, an already established solution to the problem that the FCC is currently looking to solve. Further adding that the unlock the box push is only likely to help companies like Google and possibly at the expense of customers through increased prices.