It was around 2008 when I first got a streaming device connected to my TV. The setup reminded me of the old school VCR setup - lots of wires and technical steps to follow. A lot has changed in the past decade.
There are WAY more content sources and the quality of streaming-first programming has improved. But, the biggest change has been built in operating systems, aka smart TVs.
At first, these operating systems were clunky and unreliable but their quality has rapidly improved. It's now the new battleground in the streaming wars because whomever owns the operating system owns a LOT of valuable data.
Amazon was the most-recent streaming platform player to join the smart TV race by building their own TVs with built in FireTV operating systems. And, they have promised to shake up the industry and how we use smart TVs in general. Samsung's been doing this for a while with its Tizen platform. It's a global leader and has about 56% market share in the US for smart TV operating systems.
Owning the TV hardware and smart TV tech gives these companies the opportunity to refine their data and own the user experience end to end. This allows them to incrementally grow share of audience on their content sources. For Amazon, that includes Prime and ad-supported Freevee viewers. Many operating systems like Roku and FireTV even have built in ad units beyond OTT, creating an additional revenue stream. I think back to how much has changed since 2008, and I think the next 10+ years will be even crazier! With some manufacturers making sub-par operating systems, it will be interesting to see who emerges as a leader in this space.