It’s not yet clear when or how the Android TV platform, which Google announced in June, will make its debut, but the terrible flop that was Google TV casts a long shadow of doubt across the search giant’s latest smart TV efforts. Even if Google manages to create a capable and compelling smart TV platform, it will likely need to overcome a soured reputation to make any kind of dent in the Apple/Roku set-top box stronghold. Not everyone agrees with that notion, however. An analyst with research firm IHS Technology asserts that, while Android TV might not deliver a knockout blow to Apple’s dominance in the set-top box realm, the new platform could spell serious trouble for Roku devices and Amazon’s Fire TV.
According to a report from Advanced Television, IHS senior analyst Paul Erickson claims that Apple is in a much better position to be able to withstand competition from Android TV, primarily because the Apple TV is backed by a formidable content “ecosystem” (the iTunes Store) and a steadfast, almost rabid customer base that continues to expand with every successive iPhone release. Roku, on the other hand, lacks a deep and thorough wellspring of content to draw from, according to the report. While its not quite as poorly positioned as Roku, Amazon’s Fire TV does limit searching and content-discovery strictly to Amazon-sourced material, and users can only cast and mirror content via Amazon-branded tablets. These deficiencies could make Roku and Fire TV devices considerably more vulnerable to shifts in popularity and user preferences.
As Erickson notes, the Android TV’s entry into the market could shake things up within the set-top box/streaming media realm.
But all of these factors could amount to a moot point if consumers think “Google TV” when they see “Android TV.” And when you consider the recent entry of LG’s latest smart TV platform, WebOS, and an updated Apple TV model that theoretically could pounce at any moment (despite a really long wait), it’s not all that difficult to imagine Google TV’s more sophisticated successor having little impact on the flourishing streaming scene.