Google shows off Android TV dongle, hybrid STB designs for operators

AMSTERDAM – Along with its ubiquitous presence at IBC, Google is showing off new devices specifically built for its Android TV operator tier customers.

Shalini Govil-Pai, senior director for Android TV, and Vince Wu, group product manager, held a press conference Saturday during the show to introduce the products.

The Android TV operator dongle is a turnkey 4K streaming device that operators can brand and customize. Google worked with a manufacturer to handle fulfillment and logistics for the device, which launches straight into the operator app and allows its home screen to be customized by the operator as well. The device also supports Google Assistant and has Chromecast built in.

The other Android TV product on display was a hybrid set-top box reference design built to get operators closer to being ready for production. Google worked on standardizing hardware specs with different partners and worked with SoC partners on choosing a chipset and a manufacturer. The SoC partners provide software and works with Google on certifying the device. At IBC, Google was showing off the first implementation with an Amlogic chipset.

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Wu said that OTT is fairly simple to deliver so Google just went ahead and built the dongle for operators. Hybrid delivery is more complicated and requires more work on the part of operators, but the Android TV hybrid STB designs, which include a remote, get operators essentially half-way toward launching a new device.

Govil-Pai said that Android TV is now working with more than 140 operators in more than 60 markets. Since last year’s IBC, more than 25 pay TV operators have taken up with the Android TV operator tier. She said that Android TV can deliver 30% total cost of ownership savings on average versus a Linux device.

Android TV now offers access to more than 1,000 streaming content providers and houses more than 5,000 apps through the Google Play store. The platform is also working to build in more monetization opportunities for partners including targeted advertising and dynamic ad insertion, made possible through a team up with Google Ad Manager.