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Android TV Operator Tier to Control 23% of Pay TV Set-tops by 2026

Android TV
(Image credit: Google)

The global pay TV market will decline from 921 million households in 2020 to around 680 million in 2026, and the Android TV operating system will control the lions share of the remaining set-top boxes, according to new data published by Rethink Research. 

The research company predicts that Android TV Operator Tier will grow from a current market share in the global pay TV market of around 5% to about 23% by 2026, making it the most proliferate OS. 

The recession of the pay TV market will see the installed base of proprietary set-tops decline from 1.21 billion in 2020 to just 824,67 million in 2026, with annual shipments dropping from 242.6 million to 184.8 million. 

“Operators will ditch resource-thirsty legacy Linux-based proprietary set tops,” with these systems accounting for 85% of set-tops last year, but only 48% by 2026, Rethink predicts. 

In their place, operators will turn to Android TV, Huawei’s HarmonyOS and RDK, with Google emerging as the dominant OS provider. Reference Design Kit (RDK), an open software standard for video set-tops, broadband gateways and other telecom CPE led by Comcast and Liberty Global, is expected by Rethink to control somewhere between 6% - 10% of the pay TV set-top market by 2026. 

Rethink also predicts that Android TV will control a quarter of connected smart TVs and connected TV devices by 2026. 

Notably, Rethink believes that longer term, Google will face competition in the global device OS market from China’s Huawei, with HarmonyOS emerging as “a ubiquitous cross-platform OS that will also increasingly take on Android in neutral markets outside China, especially in APAC and Latin America.”