Arris' Android-based set-tops pique interest of top-tier cable operators: report


One interesting takeaway from this week's ANGA COM in Cologne, Germany, according to John Moulding at Videonet, is the interest Arris garnered from Tier 1 cable operators with its Android GMS operator tier on a Broadcom reference SoC (system on chip).

In the Android OS, proponents say, operators can position their own branded services more prominently while still featuring Google services like Google Play. That balance goes to the core of the traditional bundle's anxiety about disruptors from Netflix to YouTube to games, which have lured the attention of many traditional TV viewers in recent years. Operators are striving to offer access to popular services while not undermining their own core offerings. Plus, in the Google environment, there is also the chance that a rival provider's app could be served up to households, opening a potential Pandora's box of competitive issues.

For those reasons, Android has been generating buzz among TV operators, including the top-tier ones. During ANGA COM, Arris reported interest in the Android OS for pure IP set-top boxes, cable/IP hybrid and terrestrial/IP hybrid devices.

“It depends on the level of control you want," Jonathan Ruff, senior director, global product & technical marketing at Arris, told Videonet. "That is a big question: how much control do I have over the design, the look-and-feel of the user interface, and the experience that you get on that device.”

The proof-of-concept showed that Arris was able to support Android on its devices and was showing the Android OS user experience on a Broadcom 7268 chipset with a 14,000 DMIPs processor and UHD support.

Arris remains a major supporter of RDK, the other major open-source middleware initiative, and the company was showing off some of its RDK-based set-top boxes that have been deployed with third-party user experiences.

In the telecom space, Arris has earned kudos for staying competitive with DOCSIS 3.1 hardware and software offerings, which are in hot demand from MVPDs battling for data-hungry consumers.