In China what can be shown on TV is tightly controlled by the widely-hated SARFT. When a new generation of set-top boxes able to stream online video emerged in the Chinese market, SARFT stepped in, only allowing videos from seven licensed content providers. Connected TVs which have come out since have to play by these regulations too.

Companies like LeTV who offer both set-top boxes/smart TVs and online videos are required to partner with at least one of the licensed video providers. LeTV thus is not allowed to offer its own exclusive content on its set-top boxes or smart TVs.

Xiaomi, which tried to bend the rules by featuring third-party video apps on its set-top box, learned its lesson last year. Now almost all branded set-box or smart TV provider in China have partnered with at least one licensed content provider.

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Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com