Amino’s Jamie Mackinlay doesn’t believe the commonly held assumption that the proprietary pay TV set-top box will give way to popular over-the-top streaming devices like Roku and Amazon Fire TV.
Mackinlay, senior vice president of marketing, product management and sales operations for the Cambridge, U.K.-based technology company, traded on the London Stock Exchange and rooted in IPTV, continues to reassure customers their legacy set-tops are just fine. And that those boxes can deliver next-generation OTT video experiences to customers over these older devices without so much as a truck roll.
At this week’s NAB Show, Mackinlay and Amino will pitch their “Operator Ready” Android TV solution, a cloud-based system for delivering an operator-branded video service to customers that also incorporates all the streaming apps they download in the Google Play store as well as Google Voice functionality.
This system can be remotely uploaded to legacy set-tops, with processing conducted in the cloud.
“We know you can get a cheap Android TV box, slap it up, and it’ll cost almost nothing, but that doesn’t solve the operator’s problem,” Mackinlay said. “They want a managed device in the customer’s home, one that’s integrated into their systems.
“When you rely on Roku or Apple TV, you lose control of the device and you lose control of the data,” he continued. “You have no control of what’s happening. What we’re saying is, Don’t do that.”
Amino’s concept of conducting processing in the cloud and delivering MPEG video back to legacy set-tops isn’t a new one. Charter Communications partnered with ActiveVideo to do this several years ago.
Among its 250 worldwide pay TV customers, Amino has used Linux-based approaches with clients like Cincinnati Bell, which saved $20 million in capital expenditures by not upgrading 150,000 set-tops, according to Mackinlay.
These days, Amino’s focus — like a lot of video tech vendors — is on the operator tier version of Android TV, an open platform Mackinlay said is very quickly catching on with his clients. About 10% of Amino’s customer base is now using Android TV, he said.
In December, Shalini Govil-Pai, senior director of product management for Android TV, told Multichannel News that the platform is now being used by more than 100 pay TV operators around the world. This includes AT&T, which is making Android TV operator tier the system that powers the new slimline set-top for its now premium live-streaming service.
“What Google did with operator tier was take a significant step toward in terms of branding and the levels of control that are acceptable to operators,” Mackinlay said.
At Amino’s NAB Show booth this week in Las Vegas, the company will host what it calls its “Beat the Box” challenge. Essentially, it will compare the cost of upgrading an operator’s video system using its Android TV solution to what they’d spend otherwise.
“We’ll walk people through the various strategies, and we’ll help them create a modern television experience,” Mackinlay said.