This one’s not quite a David vs. Goliath contest, more of a Goliath vs. slightly smaller Goliath, if you ask me. Yes, we’re talking about Android TV and Apple TV, two of the most high-profile streaming services you’re going to find out there. Apple was the first of the two into the game, and boasts a moderately successful entrance.
Android’s been around for about a year, so to a degree, we already know the answer to the above question:
Yes, Android is absolutely a viable competitor.
Why? First, it’s already competed with some success. Neither of the two devices exactly has the world on fire, but both have managed to snag at least some share of the rapidly growing cord-cutter market, which is still shrimpy in comparison to cable, football fans love Direct TV
There’s no denying that Apple’s currently beats out Android’s by a considerable margin, but given that we’re still seeing only the very beginning of the internet TV movement, this doesn’t mean too much.
Second, give some thought as to who’s behind Android. Google, and while the tech mega-giant has shown previous willingness to cut anything that it judges unsuccessful (a moment of silence for Google +, if you would), it’s very unwilling to needlessly cede market to Apple.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the head to head as it stands.
It’s tough to directly compare in this category, given that Apple TV essentially has only one device, whereas Android TV has several.
Long story short, it’s possible to go both very cheap, or very expensive on Android TV devices, so for the purpose of this article, let’s focus on the one that’s most analogous to Apple TV – the original Nexus player, released in 2014.
And, surprise surprise, they’re about tied, thanks to Google positioning their new product against an existing competitor.
This isn’t really what you’d call a fair contest – the Nexus blows Apple out of the water, but that’s only because it has the advantage of being born two years later, with all the component advances that you’d expect.
And indeed, Apple TV has a reputation for slow loading times, largely thanks to its outdated build.
But, and this is a big but, this particular contest will likely change extremely quickly. Apple’s recent announcement of their next-gen device has commentators swooning and gadget nerds incredibly excited.
In other words, Apple TV isn’t nearly as vulnerable as it seems.
Here’s one area that you expect to be relatively comparable. When it comes to movie and TV show selection, you’re looking at similar options of up-to-date services. In terms of libraries, you’re looking at Google Play vs. iTunes, both are which are vast enough to keep just about any cinephile happy for a long, long time.
One thing worth noting is that Android has been making headway into the gaming market with the release of the Nvidia Shield, and the upcoming release of Razer’s Forge mini-console. Both place heavy emphasis on gaming, and throw TV access in as a kicker. The success of these alternate devices will play a heavy role in determining who comes out on top in these streaming wars.
As you’ve seen, it’s awfully hard to call a winner in this particular race right now. I tend to lean toward Apple’s continued dominance, given their already established lead and upcoming release. However, Android remains a dark horse, and could easily flip that trend on its head.
An awful lot rests on the diverging paths the two companies are taking. Android’s diversification into mini-consoles and similar devices; Apple’s rumored launch of streaming services. The success of these different endeavors will ultimately be the difference in market share.
And who knows? If things go well enough, there’s no reason that the two giants can’t learn to share.