Matthew Planch, CEO, Witbe
Google’s Android TV operating system has come a long way in the past six years. Back in 2016, only eight companies were officially using it. Today, more than 150 companies use Android TV as their OS of choice on smart TVs and set-top boxes (STBs), including Sony, Philips and TCL. In fact, it’s gotten so good that Google is officially renaming it Google TV.
The reasons for its popularity are clear. Android TV works well and is easy to use. It has an intuitive interface, includes access to the viewers of any streaming app, and offers important features like voice control and deep search. For operators building their own Smart TVs and STBs, Android TV eliminates the hassle of developing a proprietary OS. Of course, they’ll still have to customize their Android TV OS by modifying it to personalize their brand, user experience, and available or highlighted content, as well as control things like security, analytics, and billing.
In a world where most users have smart TVs, STBs, gaming consoles and mobile devices capable of running streaming apps on their home entertainment set-ups, how can any provider be the way to watch video? The answer is simple: by providing the best end-user experience. After all, if a customer is watching Apple TV+ on one operator’s STB and it crashes, they’ll go to watch it elsewhere.
Continuous testing and monitoring of the Quality of Experience (QoE) being delivered to the customers is the best way to retain them. It’s not just about monitoring a service. Content providers on Android TV must test how their own app works, how it interacts with Google’s OS, and even how popular third-party apps perform and interact.
Another common concern for providers on Android TV is the availability of content. If a consumer searches for a movie, is he watching it using his service or is someone else given the first option? Do voice control searches or using different keywords lead to different results? After each new asset integration, content providers need to ensure that their content is being properly attached and readily available to users at home.
The other issue for operators using Android TV is that they have no control over the future of the OS, or even a timeline for updates. Google can push OS updates at any time. Even if an operator’s services, apps and content may have been perfectly working before, they can be quickly replaced by an unexpected update. The only way to build and protect their service is to continually test and monitor its performance, ensuring that the results are benchmarked over time and through various updates.
In fact, continuous testing and monitoring of video services for all operators using Android TV is the best way to ensure that their customers are receiving excellent streaming quality and will continue to use their products. The most efficient way to make sure their content is accessible and available the way they want it, is to keep performance consistent across OS updates, and be proactive about QoE when using Android TV.
Many of these test and monitoring scenarios cannot be completed manually. It’s hard to find someone who is willing to sit and monitor Android TV’s performance on their device 24 hours a day, or type in the same title over and over to be sure of the results. This is why test automation exists – to cover endurance, stress and performance testing that cannot be completed manually.
Test automation and proactive monitoring are essential tools for any operator working with Android TV. This allows his team to sleep peacefully at night, knowing that their service performance is still being measured. It helps in avoiding technical disasters and retaining customers. As Android TV is only getting more popular and reliable, it’s an excellent time for operators to pick it up for their OS – and combine it with test automation to ensure its success.
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