How to convert an Android app to a SMART TV app?

No doubt!

The concept of SMART TV came into existence with the release of Android 5.0.

SMART TV – google’s another effort to penetrate the TV market.

It’s the very time when Google realized that user interface and basically all applications for TV must have the user-centric design to allow users to consume the content easily from their couch.


In fact, this effort of google was a sky-rocketing as several TV vendors like Philips and Sony start to implement SMART TV. They used SMART TV via set-top boxes or consoles.

The thing that amazed us most is that while developing your android app for SMART TV, SMART TV app developer can utilize all Android SDK API that he/she knows and normally use.

That means SMART TV app developer can recycle a lot of codes such as data models, communication with API, etc. Even, there is a possibility to further extend user interactions with live data like interactive ads, interactive content.

SMART TV proved to be a boon for developers as there are many mobile developers. But not many developers focus on TV platforms. That gives an opportunity to develop your android apps for SMART TV to stand apart from the competition and makes your service unique.

Let’s see the requirements for SMART TV app development!

What are the requirements for SMART TV app development?

Technical prerequisites


There is no touchscreen, sensors, GPS, camera, accelerometer several other Hot Wheels features. On the other hand, there is no battery to deplete and in general fewer possibilities to interrupt the user, i.e., incoming calls, notifications, etc.

Control


SMART TV app developer have to arrange his/her app for SMART TV remote controller. There is no problem if the developers are using the lean back library or standard Android widgets.
However, make sure that you indicate focus when using custom views. So, the user can know which element is currently selected.

TV Form factor support


SMART TV app developer can identify the main TV activity with the CATEGORY_LEANBACK_LAUNCHER filter in the manifest. You should provide a home screen banner for each language supported by your app.
This launcher app banner should be 320px X 180px and the resource of this banner is located in the drawbacks/xhdpi directory.
The banner image includes localized text to spot the app.
Although this factor does not declare a requirement for hardware that might be unsupported. The developer should ensure that permissions do not imply hardware requirements.

User Interface Design

The user interface provides appropriate layout resources for landscape mode. And ensure that text and controls are large enough to be visible from a distance.
The design provides high-resolution bitmaps and icons for HD TV screens and make sure every UI element works with both D-pad and game controllers.
The user interface should change the background image as users browse through content and customize the background colour to match your branding in lean back fragments.
It’s essential to ensure that your UI does not require a touch screen.
To guide the user through a series of decisions, it uses the lean back library’s guided step API.

Search and content discovery


The search and content discovery provides search results and TV-specific data fields from your app in the SMART TV global search box.
You should make sure your app presents discovered content in a details screen that lets the user start watching the content immediately.

Tools to convert android app for SMART TV

Congratulations!

As you are familiar with the requirements for SMART TV app development, you are ready to convert your android app for SMART TV.

This conversion is based on lean back library.

Leanback library includes several UI fragments designed specifically for SMART TV. Such as:

Browse fragment is usually used for directing the user to different categories of content showed in the left part of the screen with the specific titles in the right part.

Details fragment is used for showing the detail of title, episode or another offering and allow users to interact with the item.

Search fragment is also quite obvious. But, despite the fact that there’s the selected button for looking on SMART TV remote controller, it works as a system search by default thus Activity methodology onsearchRequested must be rewritten to keep a user within the app interface.

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