At the beginning of its journey, each streaming company asks itself the question on which platforms to develop applications on a first-priority basis. Since developing an application costs a lot of money and not everyone has the budget to launch all platforms at once, it is necessary to select priority channels.
How do you define them? The answer depends on several factors: who your consumer is and how they view your content.
For today there are six main platforms on the market. Some of them are developed by manufacturers for their own products while the others are produced by the companies specializing in software development as Design And Test Lab does. The biggest growth shows Android TV adapted for Google, Samsung, LG, Apple TV and Panasonic are monopolists of their own operating systems.
Tizen OS, which powers Samsung Smart TVs, has become the leading platform for streaming video content to TVs, accounting for about 11% of devices sold. Then it’s webOS (7%), Sony PlayStation (7%), Roku OS (5%), Fire OS (5%), Android TV (4%) and Microsoft Xbox (4%), according to a study by Strategy Analytics.
Over the past 4 years, Roku OS has grown rapidly, which quite confidently continues to compete with Apple TV on the market.
The Korean company Samsung smart system is installed on all of their smart TVs. Its interface is intuitive and user-friendly. Tizen is an open source operating system based on the Linux core, developed since 2011 with contributions from the Linux Foundation, Samsung, Intel, and several other major companies. The platform has been used since 2014 on mobile, automotive and consumer electronics, including televisions. Samsung has been using it in all of its smart TVs since 2015 being the main developer of it.
The Tizen interface is intuitive and convenient with flexible settings, supports multi-screen mode, Miracast and smartphone screen mirroring. Tiles with applications are located at the bottom of the screen: main and frequently used ones, as well as with the “Popular”, “Recent”, “Recommended” sections and the “Game Bar”.
It is especially convenient that the Tizen-based TV remembers where you paused the video - and even after restarting the device, you can start watching the movie from the right moment. At the same time the system also allows the use of multi-screen mode. You can split the screen into two parts and launch two applications at the same time.
The operating system allows the installation of the third-party apps which we can download from the Tizen Store. Recently, the Apple TV service was added to Tizen. Earlier it was available on the Apple set-top box and the American Roku consoles only. So now Samsung users have access to the content of another media player and Apple Original projects from the TV+ streaming service.
One of the indisputable advantages is that TV-sets based on this platform come with a pre-installed software package, including Netflix, Youtube, HBO Now and Amazon Video. The original One Remote has a built-in digital pointer for easy operation. For those who have never used Smart TV before today, there is a visual interactive instruction manual included.
Another advantage of Tizen is the special Ambient interior mode in which you can display artwork or information about the time and weather on the TV screen. At the same time the device will consume a minimum of energy and if you hang the TV on the wall you can disguise it as a picture.
Initially, webOS was planned to be used on smartphones and tablets but in the end televisions became its target.
LG's smart system is very similar to Samsung's because it’s also based on Linux, except that it works on other TVs and doesn’t support Apple TV. It also has its own app store from which you can install games and additional programs. Also it has multitasking mode, access to most popular streaming services and a convenient menu.
It all began in 2004 when PalmSource created the Palm OS operating system. In 2005, PalmSource sold the rights to the name "Palm" to palmOne, a smartphone manufacturer, and became a part of the Japanese company ACCESS Co., Ltd .. And the new version of the operating system based on the Linux core became known as ALP (Access Linux Platform).
In 2006, Palm acquired from ACCESS Co., Ltd. for $ 44 million. a perpetual license for the source code of Palm OS 5.4 Garnet, allowing it to be modified and used on any of its mobile devices. But, Palm has abandoned the Access Linux Platform licensing and began developing its own version of the operating system based on Linux core. However, both companies said they will make every effort to maintain software compatibility with the ACCESS product.
Then it was renamed “Web OS” in 2010 and Hewlett-Packard bought PalmSource. A year later HP transferred the platform to the open source community and in 2013 LG acquired the source code from HP and outbid all developers.
Web OS supports voice control, the operation of the Magic Remote which responds to gestures. The advantages of the system are very fast connection and recognition of third-party devices, high speed of working with content and switching between tasks, as well as a simplified search procedure. However, game lovers will be unhappy - the LG Store has more entertainment apps than games.
Android TV is a direct heir to the Google TV and regular Android OS, which is installed on most smartphones, tablets and smart watches. Android TV is used by both well-known TV manufacturers and second-tier companies.
As the basis for Smart TV, the adapted operating system was introduced only in 2015. The obvious advantage of the platform includes the large number of compatible applications downloaded from Google Play.
The program is directly related to Google TV but only implemented exclusively in software form. Unlike Tizen and webOS, Android TV menus are far from minimalistic. Here it occupies the entire screen. Roughly speaking you see not only the selected tiles but all sections with applications, games, recommended programs and settings at once. If you need to go to the menu you will have to pause the video and dig into the tiles. And it is not always convenient.
Among the best Smart TV operating systems, Roku undoubtedly offers very stable software that is regularly updated, as well as many affordable devices that offer Smart TV to anyone who wants it.
Roku is one of the oldest Smart TV developers and pioneered streaming to the TV. At one time, Roku was the strongest competitor to Apple TV. Initially, the manufacturer specialized in various devices for connecting TVs to the Internet and media players. When interest in them subsided, I adapted my software to run on SoC.
Until the mid-2000s Netflix was engaged in online DVD rental. It was also possible to connect to Netflix using a PlayStation 3 disc. In 2005 the company came to a solution to the problems with delivery. It began developing the Netflix-box. The device downloaded the selected movie overnight and the user could watch the picture the next day on the terms of regular DVD rental.
With the rise of internet speed and the emergence of YouTube, the company changed plans and switched to streaming.
In late 2007, production of the first batch of Netflix players began, and the company was preparing to launch sales. However, Reed Hastings doubted the project at the last minute. The coming up of its own device could hinder the development of Netflix on the consoles of competitors. Therefore the set-top box was released under a different name - Roku. Netflix has invested about $ 6 million in Roku.
In late 2007, production of the first batch of Netflix players began, and the company was preparing to launch sales.
From 2011 to 2014, the Roku LT and Roku 4 consoles were released. In 2014, Roku teamed up with Chinese TV makers TLC and Hisense. They presented Roku TV, combining a set-top box and a TV in one box.
Literally in 2017-2018, Roku had 70% of the OTT programmatic advertising market share, beating Amazon, Apple, and Google, and accounted for over one-third (36.2%) of the space.
Nowadays Roku streaming devices are used by millions of consumers in North America, Latin America and in parts of Europe including the UK, Ireland, and France.
Despite all the advantages, Roku OS is gradually losing ground, giving way to Android TV.
tvOS is the operating system that runs on the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TVs, offering an easy-to-navigate television watching experience on Apple's set-top box.
With a full App Store, tvOS supports downloading a range of different apps and games that can be used on the Apple TV, and the interface design puts content front and center. Get to what you want to watch using Siri commands, the Apple Remote, or the Remote app on iPhone and Apple Watch.
tvOS includes several built-in apps like Photos for accessing your Photo Library, Apple Music, Podcasts, and Apple TV, an app that aggregates TV and movie content from tons of sources, including the Apple TV+ streaming service.
Channels are included in the Apple TV app, so you can subscribe to and watch content from paid services without having to open up a third-party app.
Apple adds new features to tvOS on a regular basis, and the 2020 update to tvOS is tvOS 14.
Firefox OS is a discontinued open-source operating system – made for smartphones, tablet computers and smart TVs – designed by Mozilla and external contributors. It is based on the rendering engine of the Firefox web browser, Gecko, and on the Linux kernel. It was first commercially released in 2013.
Mozilla made several shots to enter the market with its own platform but this idea wasn’t successful and the project was frozen in 2015. A year later the developments were transferred to the open source community. Despite the setback, the operating system continued to float freely, but under the wing of other companies, including Panasonic.
Benefits (according to the latest data):
- It is now open source and hardware platform support.
- Low demands on hardware.
- Simple applications run fairly quickly.
- HTML5 support.