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State of the Screens

The Smart TV Wars Heat Up

By September 18, 2020November 15th, 2021No Comments

Big news: Comcast is talking to smart TV manufacturers about licensing their X1 platform.

Why this matters #1: Owning the smart TV platform/OS will go a long way in deciding convergent TV winners.

Consumers can watch streaming video on a TV in two primary ways:
Smart TV directly (Samsung, Vizio, etc.)
2) Streaming stick/box/console (Roku, Xbox, etc.)

Be smart: The Smart TV setup drives you to a) connect to the home wi-fi and b) download apps such as Netflix.  Smart TV manufacturers want video streamed through their OS vs. a 3rd party device such as Amazon/Roku.

Quote from Sam Matheny – Chief Technology Officer @ National Association of Broadcasters:
“When the smart TVs first came out, you used to have to plug it in to an ethernet cable, and now all you do is unpack it and plug it in, and it detects the Wi-Fi, and away you go”

Why this matters #2: Building a world-class smart TV platform/OS is expensive, and small/mid-level manufactures face a build/rent decision.

Smart TV manufactures provide a smart TV platform/OS in two primary ways:
 Build your own (Samsung, etc.)
2) Partner with a 3rd party (TCL, etc.)

Companies that license their smart TV platform/OS include:
2) Amazon
3) Google

Companies that want to license their smart TV platform/OS include:
2) Samsung

Big question #1: What does Comcast gain from licensing their X1 platform?

Quick answer #1: Ad inventory.  AVOD services give a cut of their inventory to smart TV platform/OS providers.

Quick answer #2: National footprint.  Unlike traditional pay-TV providers (Comcast, etc.), streaming is national/global.  Comcast would have a foothold for nationwide video service (Flex, Xumo, Peacock, etc.).

Quick answer #3: Control.  Amazon/Roku is blocking Peacock. Owning a smart TV platform/OS eliminates those conflicts.

Total TV households:
Roku – 43.0M
Comcast Xfinity – 19.5M

Quick math: Smart TV platform/OS = new MVPD = gateway/control

Big question #2: Who has the largest smart TV footprint?

Quick answer: Samsung.

Share of Smart TV market by manufacture according to Comscore:
1) Samsung – 32%
2) TCL – 14%
3) Vizio – 13%
4) LG – 12%
5) Hisense – 5%
6) Insignia – 5%
7) Sony – 3%
8) Sharp – 3%
9) Other – 13%

Head start: The Roku OS was on ≈ 1/3 of smart TVs sold last year.

Smart TV manufactures who license Roku OS include:
1) TCL
2) Sharp
3) Philips
4) RCA
5) Element
6) Hisense

More #1: 3 Advertising Realities Marketers Need to Face to Reach Consumers in 2020

More #2: TV Distribution Is A Complex Web – And Everyone Wants A Piece

Michael Beach

Michael Beach

Michael Beach is the Chief Executive Officer of Cross Screen Media, a media analytics and software company that enables marketers to plan, activate, and measure CTV and linear TV at the local level. Michael is also the founder and editor of State of the Screens, a weekly newsletter focused on video advertising that is a must-read for thought leaders in the advertising industry. He has appeared in such publications as PBS Frontline, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Axios, CNBC and Bloomberg, and on NPR’s Planet Money podcast.

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