Roku and Google update their TV apps – Display Daily
In fact, Roku updated its operating system because the app is the operating system. Google TV received an update a few weeks ago, following Android TV’s December 2002 update. The TV operating system will be at the heart of future home hubs, but it has to start with the existing user experience.
|Characteristics||Android TV||Google TV||Roku TV operating system|
|Operating System||Android TV OS 13||Android TV OS 13||Roku OS 12|
|User interface and appearance||Varies by manufacturer||User-centered, personalized and sophisticated interface. Focusing on referrals.||User-centric, simple and customizable home screen. Focused on live TV and content discovery.|
|Applications and functions||Google Play and thousands of apps||Google Play and thousands of apps||Wide range of channels including live TV and premium subscriptions|
|User Profiles||Multiple Google accounts can be registered||It is necessary to create a separate Google TV user account||Manage your devices and settings through the Roku Account Center|
|Remote controller||A physical remote control is provided||Physical remote control is available with Google Chromecast||Physical and mobile app remote control with separate live TV channel guide button|
|Parental guidance||PIN access and third-party app support||Sophisticated controls with app blocking and content censorship||PIN access and third-party app support|
|Compatibility with YouTube||It is available as a pre-installed application||Access to YouTube TV and shows imported from YouTube||It is available as a pre-installed application|
|Compatibility with Virtual Assistant||Compatible with Google Assistant||Compatible with Google Assistant||Compatible with Roku voice commands|
|Updates||Based on Android version||Based on Chromecast firmware versions||Automatic updates – operating system and application are the same|
|Cost||Varies by manufacturer||Cost of subsidized devices||It depends on the device|
Roku TV’s operating system is the Roku TV app. Google TV is not very different from Android TV. Android TV is probably the least functional option when compared to the two namesake apps, but it’s free and that’s all OEMs need.
The argument for Roku and Google TV is that they make it easier to attract smart TVs because of their fully-formed, user-centric apps. It’s just hard to tell how you would differentiate the two or not?
Google TV introduces Android TV as an operating system, but it’s not customizable for manufacturers, and it’s not cheap. Is it a showcase, the future of Android TV, or a competing TV app? It’s hard to say. That seems to be the case with a lot of things Google does. Are you starting to ask questions like where is this going? Will it be huge, or is the company just dipping its toes in the water? Is it just fear of missing out (FOMO)? The company that is ruining internet search can sometimes feel like a spoiled child with too many choices and not enough attention span to stick with them.
Roku TV doesn’t have that problem. The operating system is the application, the application is the operating system. A clear progress can be seen from the creation of set-top boxes (STBs) to the installation of the operating system on devices of other manufacturers to the full implementation of the product as a continuously updated application. Neither better nor worse than Google TV. However, it exists as a fully focused TV product. Google TV always looks like the Google app that’s on the real product, Android TV. Pick a site, Google it, and go with it.
Google could make Android TV more functional, user-centric, like Roku TV, but I suspect Android’s policy means it should stay away from bundling the OS with a fixed interface and closed features. This technically makes sense. An OS should be its own thing, a platform to build on, and OEMs are in a better position to decide how they want to develop on top of it. The problem with developing for Android is that it’s free for all, and if you really want to take advantage of what it has to offer, you have to be really good at developing software. Unfortunately, because it’s free, it generally has no barriers to all types of development, sometimes without the discipline or expertise required by the platform. With Apple, you know what you’re building, what it’s going to run on, and you don’t mess with the formula. It’s the Wild West on Android.
Does this mean you should lean towards Roku TV, even if it’s not free? This is also a big commitment. At least you don’t have to worry about how users will react. They’ll be fine. You don’t have to do much support or development, saving you time and money, and Roku’s problem is managing user needs and wants. I’m of the school that says you put the TVs high up in the store and sell them as fast as you can. No problem. But you’d better make sure whatever’s running on your smart TV will look good, because — here’s where it gets interesting — the app is the operating system, the TV. A smart TV should deliver the experience and screen size as advertised. If turning on the TV and watching things isn’t a pleasant experience or doesn’t resonate with users, then it’s your TV. This is the problem.
The TV Home Hub
Another challenge on the horizon is the TV as home hub concept. You know that any cutting-edge smart TV will be based on the idea that your home is at the center of your universe of controlled devices.
|Home Hub OS/Developer Kit||Description||Supported programming languages|
|Amazon Alexa Skills Kit||The Amazon Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) is a collection of APIs and tools that developers can use to create new voice-activated skills for Alexa-enabled devices.||Node.js, Python, Java, C#/.NET|
|Google Assistant SDK||The Google Assistant SDK allows developers to add Google Assistant voice control to devices, allowing users to interact with their devices using voice commands.||Python, Node.js, Java, C++|
|Raspberry Pi OS||Raspberry Pi OS (formerly Raspbian) is a Debian-based operating system designed for Raspberry Pi single-board computers. It comes with a number of pre-installed applications, including a web browser and programming tools.||Python, Scratch, C, C++, Java, Perl, Ruby|
|Apple HomeKit||HomeKit is a framework for connecting and controlling smart home devices with Apple devices such as iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches. It includes many features and tools for creating and integrating new tools and services.||Swift, Objective-C|
It’s a little clearer now. You don’t make smart TVs to watch TV. It makes them for user control. Start simple: make it easy for them to find something to watch. It’s a little harder than you might think with all the paid streaming services out there, but that’s exactly why consumers want it easier to find something to watch because they’re a little tired of going through multiple apps. You got it right, and whatever operating system/app serves the user experience of watching TV, the same operating system/app can be better integrated with the smart home controls. And it’s not just integrated, it’s seamlessly integrated. Huge headache.
It doesn’t give Samsung and LG a headache. They may no longer like the concept of a home hub because they can sell you all the smart devices you want to control. It’s a huge headache for all the TV manufacturers who don’t have a fridge or a washing machine. The good news is that you can probably take over many of the Home Hub’s functions for Alexa, Siri, and Hey Google. Yeah. The latter is the laziest product name ever invented.