The currently heated global competition for living-room-connected TV gateway supremacy feels just a bit like pro wrestling these days, with the incumbents being called out by name in press releases by newcomers you’ve seldom heard of.
Well, at least that’s how it felt to us this morning when we received an announcement in our inbox headlined, “VIDAA Free Offering Takes Aim at Roku.”
In case you don’t know, Atlanta-based VIDAA USA was founded in 2019 by Qingdao, China-headquartered Hisense Group and makes a Linux-based streaming operating system software that its parent company, and other smart TV brands including Toshiba, use in an undisclosed percentage of smart TVs sold worldwide.
As of 2020, Hisense said VIDAA had 20 million users across “Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.”
VIDAA said in its release Tuesday that it now delivers every major U.S. SVOD service and arbitrates 1 billion hours of streaming each month worldwide.
In January at CES, VIDAA announced it was making a push into a U.S. CTV market controlled by Roku.
And on Tuesday, the software unit announced a new FAST service, VIDAA Play, that will add a free ad-supported streaming component to VIDAA’s broader TVOS game. this is, of course, table stakes in a U.S. market in which Roku has the powerful Roku Channel, and Amazon operates Freevee.
VIDAA didn’t say anything about what type of content and channels will be included in the service. (We assume it’s the usual assemblage of Tastemade, Pet Collective and other ubiquitous FAST fare.)
VIDAA did announce last spring that it had partnered with SeaChange International to use Xstream advanced advertising tech that will power VIDAA Play.
“We’re excited to bring VIDAA Free to millions of connected TVs worldwide and are proud to launch it on Hisense smart TVs, the world’s leading manufacturer in terms of units shipped,” said Yaniv Gruenwald, COO of VIDAA USA, in a statement.
“This marks a new era of video streaming experience on Connected TVs. With the platform jointly developed with SeaChange, VIDAA has full control and can seamlessly manage, curate, publish, and monetize video content,” Gruenwald added.
In simultaneously declaring that Hisense has surpassed Korea’s Samsung as the No. 1 shipper of smart TV’s worldwide, VIDAA doesn’t necessarily speak to the issue of Hisense’s overall commitment to its own OS.
In the U.S., for example, Hisense TVs are mostly sold with Google TV, Amazon Fire TV… and Roku as the TVOS. Comcast’s recently rebranded Xumo TV sets (formerly XClass TV) are also made by Hisense.
Is Hisense going to suddenly subdue these third-party software relationships and focus on VIDAA?
If that’s the case, VIDAA’s TVOS competitors can run, but they can’t hide.
This article originally appeared on nexttv.com.
About the Author
Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!
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