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Should Set-Tops and Smartphones Share an OS?

There are a whole lot of reasons why set-tops haven’t shared an operating platform with other computing devices before now: content security, differences in delivery architectures, feature/function priorities, etc. However, both computing hardware and delivery networks are converging. A set-top has more in common with a PC today, and there is a gradual shift toward IP – or at least hybrid IP delivery – taking place across the TV industry.

Which brings us to software. Is it time for set-tops and other devices to start speaking in the same language? There was a lot of buzz today about Google collaborating with Dish Networks, and the possibility of bringing Android to set-tops. It’s not the first time we’ve heard Android excitement in the TV sphere. Last year there was a hubbub when people believed Motorola had an Android-based set-top in the works. It wasn’t true, but CEO Sanjay Jha acknowledged just recently that that could be a reality in the future. Or there could be a different common OS. Regardless, convergence in software seems as inevitable as convergence elsewhere – at least convergence in the underlying layer upon which software is built. It’s called middleware in the TV industry today. Perhaps operating system really is a more appropriate term now.

3 Responses

  1. […] within the cable and telecom model? It’s certainly possible. Particularly since that model is moving toward IP (not Internet) delivery. In my very personal opinion, Google is experimenting on the retail front, but that doesn’t […]

  2. […] conceivable that Google could end up working with cable and telco providers (or with a company like Motorola), but an independent, mass-market solution is not in the cards any time soon – at least not a […]

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