Next generation CPE: An introduction to operator smart TVs

Rahul Mehra, Chief Technology Officer, Consult Red

Written by

Rahul Mehra

Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

Welcome to the next article in our Red Future Navigators series. Here, our domain experts will address a range forward thinking topics – guiding our customers, partners and peers through the complexities of innovation and the technical challenges of tomorrow.

Operators are facing continual and multiple pressures on subscriber attraction and retention. We’ve seen the fragmentation of content provision with SVOD, FAST and other OTT entrants. At the same time, subscribers seek UX simplicity for content discovery and consumption AND good value for their subscription fee.

With the emergence of Operator Smart TVs, there is a path away from traditional set-top boxes (STBs) towards a more integrated approach to pay TV services.

This new vehicle for operator services offers a seamless, user-friendly, ‘direct to glass’ experience.

Market evolution

The evolution of the market, from Pay TV operators as content creators and aggregators, to a more diverse and super-aggregated ecosystem, reflects changing consumer demands. This shift is driven by the desire for convenience, ease of access, and a broader selection of content and value-added services from multiple sources. Operator Smart TVs enable direct-to-TV services with the operator retaining control of the user experience.

Consumer benefits

One of the most compelling consumer advantages of Operator Smart TVs is simplicity – with streamlined setup and operation. Users can enjoy a wide range of content and services from various providers through a single interface, without the clutter of additional hardware. When coupled with seamless search and discovery, this makes navigating and discovering new content more intuitive, combined with the convenience of having a unified platform for all entertainment needs, and the further benefit of value-added services such as gaming, social platforms and smart home control.

A shift in content aggregation

The emergence of Operator Smart TVs represents more than just a technological upgrade and a new category of CPE devices; it marks a shift in the dynamics of content and service aggregation.

In this landscape, communication service providers (CSPs) and pay TV operators can maintain their role as the primary aggregators. They provide a default, ‘sovereign’ application – a single, consistent application used to discover and consume content from ALL aggregated OTT applications and linear sources. This approach not only maintains their brand presence but also strengthens subscriber engagement by providing a differentiated and user-friendly experience.

The bigger picture

For operators offering an aggregated service with a compelling ‘sovereign’ app – offering an operator TV means an increased presence in the subscriber home and retained control of the HDMI0.

The availability of Operator Smart TVs as part of a wider device portfolio poses intriguing questions about the evolution of content consumption. With increased competition and the continuous emergence of new streaming platforms, the stakes are high, and the ability to offer a consolidated, user-centric platform could become a critical differentiator for operators.



The Operator Smart TV: taking a new category of CPE to market

Working with a trusted consulting partner and platform technology developer

Consult Red is a trusted consulting partner that provides technology development services across the video delivery platform – spanning everything from consultancy, connected TV hardware and TV OS – to ‘Sovereign’ app development and the backend systems to support them.