Angelo Lamme: Overview Of Android TV – TV Manufacturers
- 12 Dec 2017
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So what is the Operating System powering your Smart TV today? From both a TV manufacturer perspective as well as from a consumer perspective there are many options available.
We’ll see that this is a very fragmented marketplace that also heavily depends on which country/region you happen to live in. More about that later. It certainly reminds us of the OS wars on the desktop/laptops and the mobile phone… First the available options from a worldwide perspective:
1) A customized Android AOSP or another customized OS with or without a combination with a 3rd party app store like Opera TV (now called Vewd – basically an HTML5-based storefront of web apps optimized for TV).
2) Android TV, developed by Google.
3) Firefox OS (Mozilla stopped developing Firefox OS in July 2016, Panasonic continues their own fork of the OS, now called “My Home Screen 2.0”),
4) Roku TV, a heavily modified version of Linux called Roku OS, developed by Roku,
5) Tizen OS, a Linux-based OS used by Samsung,
6) WebOS, a Linux derivative used by LG.
Out of these, the third party non-proprietary Smart TV Operating Systems are: Android AOSP, Android TV, Roku TV and Firefox OS (the now discontinued open-source operating system). The proprietary Smart TV Operating Systems here are: My Home Screen 2.0, Tizen OS and WebOS. Clarification: “Proprietary” means TVs whose operating system is made specifically by the TV manufacturer, versus an established broadly used OS by multiple vendors. Let’s examine our options! In this dossier we’ll take a closer look at who supports what.
Option number 1: Android AOSP
Android AOSP (Android Open Source Project) is an open source software stack for a wide range of devices and a corresponding open source project led by Google. Not to be confused with Android TV (see below), AOSP can be used to create a customized Operating System for almost any device available. Since it is missing the Google Play Store (not part of Android AOSP!), manufacturers will have to add/create the missing components. A number of TV and Set Top Box manufacturers used Android AOSP to build a solution before Android TV was launched. Some manufacturers are still using this option: An example of a well-known Android AOSP fork is Amazon Fire TV, basically the Operating System Amazon’s digital media players run (called Fire OS). There are two versions of Fire OS: Fire OS 5