What can an IPTV set-top box do that Android TV can’t?

There is very little that Android can’t do but I will explain both why operators don’t use Android apps and why they sometimes can’t use apps.

IPTV set-top box
IPTV set-top box
  • An IPTV set-top box can provide access to live television channels and recorded content over the internet.
  • Android TV is a platform that allows you to access apps and streaming services on your TV.

Additionally, an IPTV set-top box may offer features such as electronic programming guides and the ability to pause, rewind, and record live TV. However, it is worth noting that some Android TV devices also have these abilities.

Types of IPTV Boxes

There are two main types of IPTV boxes:

  1. Internet Subscription-based
  2. Non-subscription based.

1. Internet Subscription Based:

Subscription-based IPTV boxes are offered by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as part of a package that includes Internet, telephone, and IPTV services. These boxes are often given away for free in exchange for signing a contract with the ISP. If you decide to cancel your subscription after the contract period, you are required to return the IPTV box to the ISP. The information you can view in these boxes is controlled by the ISP, and cannot be installed by third-party applications.

What Can You View from Subscription-Based IPTV Boxes?

Subscription-based IPTV boxes offer exclusive programming and video-on-demand (VOD) services for an additional fee. Some businesses also offer add-on packages that include third-party streaming services like Netflix or Prime Video at a discounted price to retain customers.

2. Non-Subscription Based IPTV Boxes:

Non-subscription-based IPTV boxes are not tied to a specific IPTV service and can be purchased separately. However, these boxes may deny access to certain programs available only through subscription-based IPTV services. If you want to watch the programs of a particular IPTV channel, you have to subscribe to their channels.

What Can You View from Non-Subscription-Based IPTV Boxes?

If your main interest is watching movies instead of regular TV shows, you can opt for a generic IPTV box like an Android TV box. These boxes allow you to install any video streaming app of your choice and do not require registration to access the content. You can get free streaming video through apps like Bee TV and Moviebox, as well as choose from a variety of other services that offer a wide range of live TV channels. Apart from that, these IPTV boxes often include YouTube, Netflix, etc. for your relaxation. It comes with pre-installed apps like Prime Video.

Why don’t they use Android apps on TV?

  • A set-top box is your mechanism for interacting with the content, the operator can design the whole look and feel.  They can manage your experience and keep you watching longer.
  • Being an app on a TV makes you one of dozens or hundreds of other apps on that TV. How do you stand out, how do you ensure the consumer doesn’t press “Exit” and leave your experience?
  • No single Android device behaves exactly like another so you’ve got to check each device you would like to focus on. It is easier to possess your device and just develop one for that device.
  • Not everyone has an Android TV, so you still need a set-top box. In my experience, if a customer has got to be asked “What model of TV does one have?” Their answer will often be “It’s a silver Sony one” or “It’s a black LG one”, then asking them to inform you its capabilities is doomed to failure. You might have an Android app available within the market place but that has other issues highlighted within the next section.

Why can’t they be embedded in Android TVs?

  • Android isn’t secure enough for a few pay-TV contents, most content is ok, except for some premium sports and first-run movies Android devices won’t be considered secure enough.  If someone thinks Android is secure and that I am being ridiculous, then I am afraid you don’t have enough experience with set-top box content security requirements from rights holders.  I’m not saying they’re right to possess such strict requirements but they do exist. 
  • To overcome the problem of not being the most prominent app on the TV the operator could arrange with the TV manufacturer to take over the main user experience of the product. The IPTV operator’s services would then have the prominence they need. However!  Consumer-facing TV brands like Samsung don’t like to give up the ownership of the consumer in this way so making such a deal isn’t easy. I have seen it done when the content offering is good enough but I have also seen it go wrong.

Why don’t more IPTV operators use Android?

  • Android requires: More RAM, more CPU, more Flash
  • Android has uncertain legal/patent issues which could result in substantial extra costs even after you have made the product. Companies like HTC already have settled legal cases with Microsoft over Android phones similar patent questions remain around set-top boxes.

Wrapping Up:

If you want to get something extra, Android TV will be the ideal choice. But for limited and better quality, your first preference should be IPTV.

Additionally, to get a wide range of IPTV box options you may want to shop online for your desired one. Then Amazon is a reliable place to buy quality IPTV boxes at affordable prices.

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