A new report from Strategy Analytics puts the global market for connected TV devices at over 1 billion currently installed units, which include smart TVs, set-top boxes like the Apple TV, game consoles, connected Blu-ray players and more. The market is predicted to double in size between now and 2018, reaching the 2 billion mark, with smart TVs carrying embedded platforms as the main segment to watch.
Set-top boxes is the other type of device that’s poised to lead the growth, and Google has announced that its new project Android TV will be a platform available to both categories. Android TV is Google’s second stab at the connected TV device market, after it first tried the waters with Google TV beginning a few years ago. That effort met with tepid response from consumers, but Android TV is a complete rethink of its connected media device strategy.
The new platform puts an emphasis on content first, highlighting stuff you’re likely to watch from various sources installed on your platform. Apps take second stage, and games round out the content-delivery package. But what Android TV has going for it above all other competing solutions is the simplicity of the interface, and the similarity it has to the relatively mindless experience of idly browsing TV to watch via traditional cable and satellite delivery methods.
From the Strategy Analytics report, we learn that Apple TV is the current leader of the market, with around 35 percent of the 2013 share of devices. Google and Roku each had shares in the teens, with the research firm predicting a surge by Google because of the success of the Chromecast, and opportunities presented by the Android TV boxes coming up from Razer and Asus this fall. Pricing and availability will determine how much influence those have, however.
In the end, Google has learned a lot from Google TV and Chromecast, and Android TV clearly has input from both experiences. To capitalize on the growth coming up in the next few years, it’ll have to make sure Android TV comes in at the price point and with the convenience factor (i.e. preinstalled on a variety of new devices) that consumers appreciate with the company’s increasingly powerful streaming stick.