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How and why to create apps for Smart TVs

How and why to create apps for Smart TVs

We are increasingly going for online services, tools, and solutions that start making smart homes a reality. Such is the case with Smart TVs, which allow us to choose what content to watch and offer us different ways to interact with it.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, viewers watched almost 40% more content than in previous years. Experts predict that the Smart TV market will amount to USD 63 billion by 2024.

Despite the numbers, many of today’s TV interfaces leave much to be desired. Businesses can gain an edge over their competitors by focusing on developing truly useful Smart TV apps and improving their user experience.

Index 

Advantages of having a Smart TV app

Smart TVs are very versatile platforms featuring some functionalities that are not available on mobile devices. 

 

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Nowadays, users consume more video content on Smart TVs than on any other device. For this reason, it is very interesting to develop an app for Smart TV that can satisfy the needs of our users, by offering advantages such as:

Searching for content easily and conveniently:

Smart TV apps improve user experience by making it easier to select content, be it by entering the title, genre, time, or any other relevant details in the search field.

Connectivity:

On top of allowing you to view content on your screen, Smart TVs can also be synchronised with other devices and switch where the content gets to be displayed. The content from your Smart TV could, for example, be displayed on your mobile phone or vice versa.

Revenue:

Smart TVs are becoming a key part of the entertainment industry, and the development of applications for Smart TVs entails significant revenue opportunities through the monetisation of their services, amongst other business opportunities.

 

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Tips for developing the best Smart TV apps

Smart TV app development is similar in some respects to mobile app development but has its own whole lot of peculiarities because TV platforms differ in nature.

For such reason, we have created a list of useful tips and guidelines to take into account when developing Smart TV apps of any kind. These tips can help you create high-quality products that will meet your customers’ expectations.

Taking care of user experience and user interface (UX/UI)

Developers must create intuitive and easy-to-use apps to attract, retain and engage viewers. A user will use an app and recommend it to others if he/she finds that it’s easy to navigate, he/she can browse through it without getting lost, etc. A user who does not become very fond of an app after testing it for a bit will soon stop using it altogether and end up cancelling his/her subscription.

 

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In order to achieve high customer satisfaction, it is necessary to take care of the user-application interaction through buttons, sounds, colours, video previews, etc., as well as to anticipate the users’ needs and know how to meet them.

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Screen

Developers should consider screen sizes and think from the user’s perspective by figuring out how the app will look from different perspectives and at a range of different distances. Bear in mind that texts need to be legible and applications need to be able to resize properly to fit on a smaller screen when necessary.

TV screens are brighter than computer screens, which means that they can be disturbing to the eye. Very often, users watch TV in the dark, to make sure that white or intense colours do not create a “halo” effect around other elements displayed on the screen.

Remote control

In addition to the display applications being aligned with the brand’s design aesthetics, the remote control should be easy and convenient to use. It comes without saying that its buttons must match the names of the features exactly as these are being displayed on the screen. At this point, each platform’s special functionalities should be considered, as companies almost invariably create different remote controls for their different TV sets.

Samsung Smart TV users, for instance, can interact with applications by using a mouse, keyboard, gamepad, or remote control. Developers need to take this into account and ensure that the application is responsive regardless of the control input device being used.

Smart remote control
A Smart TV remote control. Source: Unsplash

Navigation

In terms of navigation, the app must be intuitive and clear to avoid confusing users, who must always know where they are and where they are going when they click on any button.

Navigation cannot be complex for the simple reason that people watch TV to relax. Unnecessary sections must be eliminated, different levels must be made available, and the action of leaving any given section must also be made simple.

Testing on real devices

A simulated environment for testing TV applications is not the best option. Testing on real devices and check all functionalities is essential. This will ensure that the application runs perfectly on the platform chosen and that it meets the user’s expectations.

It will be easier to verify that the requirements included in its design are working correctly, by checking things like if the navigation is straightforward or if it connects with all the different devices properly. These tests will help us find bugs and correct them before the app’s official launch in the stores.

 

🔍 Read more: Why is the QA phase important for app testing?

 

Apps for Smart TV app development

We’ll now briefly discuss current applications that allow developing Smart TV apps.

VPlayed

It is one of the most widely used platforms and having it on board eases significantly the whole development process.

VPlayed is available for those who are looking for Smart TV applications that are completely customisable, able to include all the latest features, and whose development cost can also be adapted to their budget.

Among its outstanding features, we highlight that it is fully customisable and supports linking with multiple devices, as well as offering end-to-end content protection, multiple monetisation models, and an HTML5 video player.

Contus VPlay

This platform can develop applications that will work best with the algorithm and it also uses an optimised architecture to achieve customised Smart TV applications.

Therefore, it is a very good choice for anyone who needs to take a more in-depth approach to app architecture.

Its main features include built-in video CMS, multi-DRM support, cloud transcoding and encoding, video delivery and distribution, versatile video monetisation models, and several reporting and analytics functionalities.

Smart TV with Disney plus
Smart TV with Disney plus. Source: Unsplash

Zype

Zype is used for developing Smart TV Android apps. It will prove your best option if you seek to develop multi-dimensional apps, want to create subscription content, offer ad-supported content, or sell series and movies on demand.

Some of its most outstanding features are multiple-output encoding, video CRM and easy monetisation.

Bottom line

In the last few years, we have seen a growing number of Smart TV applications being used by the end-user. This is why considering the creation of a Smart TV app could be crucial for any business when it comes to creating new apps. If you have an idea for a Smart TV app, let us know what you need and Yeeply will be happy to help you and support you.

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