The smart TV platform wars heated up at CES 2023 with announcements of new smart TV brands and platform approaches, impinging further on the share of smart TV sticks and adapters — so-called streaming media devices (SMD), market analyst S&P Global observed in a blog posting.

The market research firm said that the recent CES 2023 demonstrated an even more aggressive turn toward fully integrated smart TVs by some of the third party streaming platform providers like Roku and Xperi/TiVo, that had been known largely as SMD providers in the past. This was in constrast to the prior year when iterative new features, such as fitness and cloud gaming, were the main story in the streaming space.

“Connected TV companies are locked in a tight race as deep pockets compete for what’s left of an increasingly saturated market,” S&P’s article said.

This was seen in announcements from Roku of its first self-branded, designed and marketed Roku TVs coming to market this year. Xperi, meanwhile, announced its plans to offer smart TVs based on its new TiVo TV OS, which will launch in Europe under brands controlled by Turkish manufacturer Vestel.

“To mitigate the concern that Roku is now competing with its partners, the new Roku line of TVs will not focus on picture quality that would please home theater enthusiasts or hardcore gamers. But Roku will be competitive on price, with sets ranging from $119 for a 24-inch TV to $999 for a 75-inch model,” S&P said.

Roku’s move followed that of Amazon which has been marketing its own-branded Fire TVs for more than a year, after starting with a range of SMD Fire TV devices before provided an integrated OS solution to a handful of third party brands.

For its manufacturer partners, Roku continued to advance the power and picture performance capabilities of various Roku TV implementations, including announcing the launch of the new Roku TV OS for OLED televisions. Sharp Aquos announced at the show that it will be the first manufacturer to introduce a 4K OLED Roku TV this spring.

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Meanwhile, Xperi is giving TV makers another option with its Linux-based TiVo OS.

“The new TiVo interface has an array of search and sorting functions to make finding content easier, particularly content to which a consumer already subscribes. It also comes with voice search as a standard feature, which has been something of a soft spot for Roku in the past,” S&P said.

Meanwhile’s Google TV OS had a huge presence in new TVs appearing in the CES 2023 show booths by the likes of TCL, Hisense, Sharp, Skyworth and others, as the smart streaming tech conglomerate continued to make aggressive moves to build ecosystem of devices and services by expanding its share of the smart TV OS space.

In response, Roku is beefing up the power of its OS platform through its own televisions running chips that it controls allowing it to develop and sell a range of add-on smart home peripheral devices beyond the home entertainment experience, alone.

“For years, underpowered hardware has dogged mid-range and low-end smart TVs. This is primarily because lower power equals lower cost and vendors are looking to maximize their margin on each set sold,” S&P said. “But it is also because many vendors making mid-range and low-end smart TVs do not share much, if any, of the ad revenue that a streaming OS provides. That revenue goes to the provider of the streaming OS. If smart TV vendors are not making money from consumers staying on the platform, they are not incentivized to build a hardware stack capable of powering a streaming platform for more than 2-3 years.”

Nevertheless, S&P said that the popularity of SMD’s may be losing ground to these integrated approaches by their use remains persistent.

Streaming media devices (SMDs), such as streaming sticks and adapters, will represent 35.3% of combined global SMD and smart TV shipments in 2023, up a percentage point from its market share in 2022, according to S&P Global.

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By Greg Tarr

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