Roku CEO Wood: Samsung, LG and Vizio Will Eventually Give Up on Their Own OS

Roku founder and CEO Anthony Wood
(Image credit: Roku)

The major smart TV makers who supply their own operating system will eventually give up and license a third-party OS from either Roku, Amazon or Google, Roku CEO Anthony Wood said. 

Speaking Monday at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, Wood said the streaming OS business would someday resemble the operating platform paradigm for smart phones, where Google's Android and Apple's iOS dominate a narrow field of OS contenders. 

More and more, it's the native OS of the smart TV that drives connected TV viewing, Wood said. And the platforms powering these TVs will consolidate over time.

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"We still have a lot of people using Samsung, LG and Vizio, but over time, they're going to switch to licensing third-party operating systems," Wood said. 

"The economics of monetization, feature sets and the resources just don’t support [an over-abundance] of solutions for streaming OS," he added. 

With more than 60 million active accounts, Roku is the leading supplier of connected TV OS in the U.S., which Wood called "an advanced market." 

As Roku has proliferated to markets like Mexico, it has quickly grown its market share, he added, noting that Roku has gone from zero to 20% market share of connected TVs in Mexico in just a few years. 

Operating systems including Samsung's Tizen and LG's webOS are big in regions like Western Europe, Wood noted, but that's only because Roku is just starting to deploy itself there. "Once Roku enters a market outside the U.S., our share starts to grow," he added. 

Eventually, the ad-supported side of the streaming business may get to a point in which OS providers scale of certain degree that is "big enough to ride the ride." But in the here and now, it seems hard to believe that Samsung, LG and Vizio would just give up. 

Samsung said last year that its Tizen OS is in 1.28 billion devices worldwide. And last week, Vizio said that active accounts for its SmartCast OS grew by 24% in 2021 to reach 15.1 million globally. ■

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!