The technology behind Smart TVs

06. October 2013

Smart TV apps are based on open standard web technologies and SDKs provided by the manufacturers .

Some of the key technologies are:

  • HTML & CE-HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript

The latest TV models already support HTML5 and CSS3 features, which enable developers to efficiently craft custom high quality interactive applications.

Communication with a API server is usually performed through AJAX techniques.

Important considerations

Though the technology behind Smart TV apps have similarities with web front-end development, application for TVs need special attention in the following areas:

  • UI/UX: User Interface design and User Experience, especially in regards of elements dimensioning and navigation using the remote control.
  • Playing of Videos: In connection with content protection and compatibility on different platforms (Samsung/LG/Panasonic and so on).
  • Performance: Highly optimized JavaScript code is request specially for deployment on old TVs models.
  • Quality Assurance & Testing: Passing QA test before deployment (example Samsung Smart Hub) is very tough, deep knowledge of the process and QA requirements is a must a in order to do not see the application denied at final stage. Testing on multiple real device (not emulator) it is a must as every Vendor can change many aspects in the firmware or browser implementation.

UX/UI aspects for Smart TV apps

  • Gorgeous design: You never get a second chance to make a first impression. That’s why the entry page is an important in an application. A well-designed graphic is important to building trust, communicating value, and navigating visitors to the next step. As such a well-planned layout, use of colours schemes, fonts and white-space and other supporting elements must be careful evaluated.
  • Focus on simplicity: Strive for simplicity and select only the key features for your app, having more features creates complexity, especially for Smartv Users were navigation could be limited. in some TV models. to only arrows keys and a few other buttons on the remote control.
  • Navigation schema: Navigate between UI elements on a big screen could be tricky, especially when you have to comply with mandatory guidelines from TV manufacturer. As general advice we recommend keep the application fully navigable using the remote keys (Left/Right/Up/Down and Back button) at all time. Consideration the use of scrolling bars as visual aids is advisable. Proper wire-framing and prototyping is strongly suggested in the early stage of design.

To learn more about UX for connected TV, check out our guide on UI Design and screen size for connected TVs.

Playing of Videos

In case of playing video, some TVs use their own object to encapsulate playing video or audio content. Other Smart TVs use the conventional video tag from HTML5 with all of its advantages and disadvantages.

A question arise: Which Video player is better? Is it the one that will run on more TV models? The answer is very complicated and depends on the specific use case.

The video tag works, for example, with devices from Sony or Samsung from 2013, but doesn’t work on Toshiba TV, which uses its own video object. On Samsung devices from 2013 the HTML5 video can be used, but the platform has its own high quality player as well.

It is known that the video tag cannot work with DRM, PlayReady, and other protected data. Conversely, platforms not using the video tag usually have no problems interpreting these technologies.

Other possible issues could be found in the setting of aspect ration and header that could have difficulties to being recognized on some specific vendor or TV player.

Four good reasons why you should choose us

At Mautilus we have a deep know how on Smart TV application development

  • More than 5+ years experience specifically on Smart TVs, 10+ on Software development.
  • Fully Customizable Over-the-top application framework that covers all platforms diversities.
  • State of the art testing lab equipped with an extensive range of screens (more than 80) and dedicated tester team.
  • We offer affordable prices and all credentials of stable and reliable company based in Central Europe.

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