US cable operator Time Warner Cable (TWC) has extended remote-control functionality and DVR scheduling to Android devices. For Android handsets running Android 2.1 and above, TWC's native application has been optimized for the resolutions and screen sizes that typically are associated with devices up to 4.5 inches in size. A variant of the application, with a UI specifically optimised for tablet-sized screens and resolutions, has also been released for devices running Android 3.x. TWC has not specified whether the application is compatible with Android 4.x, or whether a 4.x-optimized variant is in the works.
The US pay TV market has yet to make up its mind fully with regards to the Android platform. Although there is absolutely no question that Android devices will come to be provisioned with IP-video - albeit within a timeframe of unknowable length - the market in its current state cleaves neatly across operating systems in the mobile space. Of the eight major multiscreen operators - Cablevision, Comcast, Cox, TWC, DirecTV, Dish Network, AT&T and Verizon - only the latter four have extended video support both to Apple's iOS platform, and Google's Android. All eight, meanwhile, support iOS through and through.
Notwithstanding equivocation around Android, remote-control and DVR applications do provide an indication of the operators who are likely to deploy IP-video to a given operating system. Indeed, of the Android-holdouts in the US, both Cablevision and Cox have implemented DVR scheduling on the platform, while Comcast has enabled remote-control and DVR functionality. There can be little doubt that these native applications lay the foundation for future video delivery, given that they already contain the most essential element of any video application's user-interface: a full program guide, including search.
In the absence of new Android deployments by the eight largest US operators, by 2015, active multiscreen devices will exceed these operators' collective set-top box installed base by 10 per cent. Given Android's scale as a platform, even a single video deployment in 2012 will tremendously boost the population of active multiscreen devices in US pay-TV.