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The pros and cons of classical solutions for the IPTV/OTT market based on the Linux OS and Android TV one of the most promising areas.

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Linux vs Android

The pros and cons of classical solutions for the IPTV/OTT market based on the Linux OS and Android TV, one of the most promising areas.

Q3 (7)

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Linux vs

The pros and cons of classical solutions for the IPTV/OTT market based on the Linux OS and Android TV

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The pros and cons of classical solutions for the IPTV/OTT market based on the Linux OS and Android TV, one of the most promising areas.

Author: Marina Sluka

Traditionally, manufacturers of IPTV/OTT set-top boxes have used developments based on the Linux kernel and the operating system family of the same name to create a unique user experience.

In this article, we have selected for you the main advantages and disadvantages of customary solutions based on the Linux OS and compared them with Android TV, one of the most promising Android solutions for this market.


Linux is a freeware open-source operating system. It was Linus Torvalds who began to develop the kernel code back when he was a student. The first release, Linux 0.01, came on 17 September 1991.

This product formed the basis of a number of operating systems, which are now actively used all over the world. The IPTV/OTT market was no exception. Almost every supplier of the chipsets that are the basis of set-top boxes develops solutions based on Linux for a specific product.

Typically, this is a set of development tools, which then form the basis of the device operating system and the user environment. Every day, viewers see on their screens the solution created especially for them.

The pros of Linux-based devices:

High performance

You are in complete control of the development of the operating system and achieve maximum performance of the final device.

Product uniqueness

Your viewer gets a device with the interface and other components created specifically to suit their needs. It’s also a benefit for the operator because the device can be developed for specific business requests: from the simple and inexpensive to a set-top box with a broad functionality, including integration with a specific CAS/DRM.

Adaptability of changes

The manufacturer constantly receives feedback from operators and end users. Thus, they is always refining the OS as new technologies appear on the market. The release of new firmware upgrades allows improvement of the device even after launching mass production, thereby prolonging its life cycle.

Easy controls

A simplified mechanism for administering set-top boxes and maximum control over the user interface are the most important criteria by which the operator chooses an STB. It is also necessary to proceed from compatibility with the middleware, which allows such administration.

Have you made up your mind? Get ready for the issues you are most likely encounter when working with Linux.

Resource costs

Since almost every chipset manufacturer has its own set of development tools, set-top box manufacturers have to spend a lot of resources creating and maintaining a line of devices with different processors. This is why the launch of the final product on the market usually takes a long time.


As new technologies develop, support for a number of functions largely depends on the processor. A competent choice of device components plays a key role in its capabilities, which the manufacturer can offer to please its users. For example, basic IPTV/OTT set-top boxes, released five or six years ago, still operate with IPTV and perform their task perfectly well, but no longer support new graphics or video-decoding technologies.


The app trend is rapidly encompassing more and more devices, including set-top boxes. Users cite the lack of support of big platforms with applications as a disadvantage of Linux-based devices, while manufacturers and operators develop their own solutions or attract third-party companies to meet these challenges.

Android OS

Did you know that Android OS has two main formats?

Android TV

Used by Google-certified companies. Its main advantage is that only Android gives access to the official Google Play Market and multiple applications of the ecosystem.

Android Open Source Project

AOSP is a free version that enables device manufacturers to change everything that they consider important. They can control every UI element and manage the installation of third-party applications.

Android TV was originally an AOSP project. It replaced Google TV in 2014. This operating system has become Google’s main product for set-top boxes and smart TV. Now it stands out significantly against other devices running the Android OS.

By the way, the Android OS itself was also developed based on the Linux kernel.
The first release came in September 2008, and since then, more than forty system updates have been made.

*Android and Android TV are trademarks of Google LLC.



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