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LG, Samsung and Vizio will switch to a licensed TV OS, predicts Roku CEO

08 Mar 2022 | Rasmus Larsen |

It is inevitable that the TV market will consolidate around a few operating systems and when it happens LG, Samsung and Vizio will be forced to switch, predicts Roku CEO Anthony Wood.

Roku, the leading TV platform?

LG has webOS, Samsung has Tizen and Vizio has SmartCast. All three are proprietary operating systems and while LG and Samsung have made moves to license their TV operating systems to other brands, progress is slow. - "You still got a lot of people that are using LG, Samsung and Vizio with their proprietary operating systems and those are all going to switch over time to a licensed operating system," Roku CEO Anthony Wood said at a Morgan Stanley conference. Why? The economics of monetization, ads, features, and partners cannot support all of the current operating systems in the TV market, he argued. Wood compared the TV market to the PC and smartphone markets where there used to be several operating systems as opposed to just a few today. - "If you look at TVs, I think it's inevitable that there's going to be consolidation around a very small number. I predict three licensed TV brands. Roku will remain the number one brand and if you’re Samsung, LG or Vizio, you sort of have two choices. You can keep losing market share, which is what’s happening, or you can switch to a licensed operating system. I don’t know what path they’re going to take but that’s what’s going to happen," he said. Roku operates the leading TV operating system worldwide. Roku OS offers access to most popular video streaming services but the hardware in TVs and streaming boxes is not powerful enough to enable gaming to the same extent as Apple TV with tvOS or Nvidia Shield and other devices with Android TV or Google TV. Roku does not have a smart home platform either and lacks tight integration with mobile devices and wearables.

Roku TVs in Europe

Roku CEO Anthony Wood at IFA 2019 in Berlin

Roku's international expansion

Roku sees Google's Android TV and Amazon's FireTV as its main competitors. The company is ramping up its international business to challenge the tech giants outside the Americas - "At a higher level, we see this huge opportunity to be the operating system for most televisions in the world," said Anthony Wood. He added that most hardware companies that would love to have a service business like Roku's. In 2020, Android TV had a 15.5% share of the installed base. Samsung Tizen had 34.4%, LG webOS 15.9%, and Roku 5.8%, according to analysis by Dataxis. Streaming sticks and boxes are not included in these figures. The Roku CEO admitted that LG and Samsung are big in regions like Western Europe where Roku has yet to enter markets or consolidate its position, but he expects that to change once Roku enters in earnest. - Source: Morgan Stanley conference

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