Smart TV Application Development Focused on Speed ​​and Consistency of Experience | Industry trends

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The global smart TV market is already very large and is expected to continue to grow steadily for many years to come. That’s the view emerging from recent reports from organizations such as Grand View Research, which reported sales of 268.9 million units in 2020 and predicted a compound annual growth rate by 20.8% from 2021 to 2028.

It is therefore logical that the development of applications for smart TVs remains a very dynamic sector. With customers tending to use more apps over a period of time and sometimes showing reduced loyalty to individual apps, the current focus is undoubtedly on discovery and providing a seamless user experience. . But beyond that primary focus, there are plenty of signs that app developers continue to identify new features and enhancements to pique consumer interest.

Chris Bray, VP of Product at digital video specialists Zype, agrees, “Discoverability is always a moving target, even on established platforms, and all platforms are adding functionality in this area. Providing easy-to-use solutions that go beyond basic baseline parameters is an area where we believe there is still plenty of room for new products, new features for existing products, and value-added services. .

“An integrated experience”

There is general consensus around the view expressed by Bray that the current trend in smart TVs to focus more on discovery requires app developers to support “an integrated experience that blurs the lines between individual apps “. This means implementing support for search and content discovery functionality on every platform, and working with our customers to ensure their content and applications are properly prepared to fully participate in this model.

Oxagile 1. Profile settings add new Smart TV UI

Bray draws a parallel with developments in the world of Free Ad Support Television (FAST), which itself has been the subject of a flurry of new channel and distribution announcements in recent months. “You can see the same kind of thinking driving FAST Channels, which is another way of getting content out of niche apps and moving it to where it’s more discoverable for users,” he says. “In a way, the resurgence of ad-supported models like FAST is also an indirect way to improve discoverability, by removing the paywall barrier that prevented many users from ‘finding’ content.”

With discoverability being a major design driver, it’s no surprise to learn that personalization is also having a growing impact on app development. “Interfaces built around personalized content recommendations will continue to be a key area in 2022,” says Bray. “If there remains any doubt that observing user consumption as a way to make smart recommendations is the best way to drive engagement, then the success of TikTok’s algorithms should fully answer that question. However, there is still a lot of work to be done in [terms of] exactly how these personalized recommendations are calculated. There are new AI-based models that can add a lot of interesting information to that, and there’s UI work to be done to make sure those recommendations are presented to users in a way that makes the natural commitment.

Oxagile 2. Create a Smart TV UI profile

Meanwhile, Zype continues to work on improving other core aspects of the user experience, including providing “more flexibility in how [customers] present different application screens, offering ways to adapt specific parts of the user interface to highlight or present key content in a particularly attractive way, and in general, simply trying to move the experience beyond which has been common over the past few years.

“Nothing is fixed for long”

Alexey Zaberezhniy – video solution system analyst at Oxagile, custom software development company with ten years expertise in smart tv app development – also depicts an industry where the pace of development is such that app vendors can’t really “burn anything” for a long time. […] Of course, there are certain industry standards. You can’t imagine a Smart TV app today without an EPG or TV archive. HD or sometimes even UHD is a must; adaptive streaming is a prerequisite. However, we have plenty of room for new innovations.

Alexei Zaberezhnyy

Zaberezhniy highlights the “unique feature” of smart TV apps to enable direct interaction with viewers and collection of their feedback as a specific target for attention. It also highlights an industry-wide realization that “navigation is a major stumbling block for smart TVs. It is difficult to design multi-level menus and provide complex navigation to enable the implementation of some fancy features, which ultimately feel native and easy to use.”

Therefore, he thinks there will be continued efforts “to “extend” the user interface from TV screens to other devices to make navigation and interactions easier and more user-friendly.” As platform convergence progresses, smart TV developers “can leverage this cross-device usage to enhance the experience. [For viewers] the ideal workflow would be when they can start an app and start watching what they came for with just a few clicks. To implement this workflow, you will need to introduce intelligent content recommendations into a carefully constructed hierarchy of screens. »

In terms of helping customers deliver this capability in the context of increased convergence, Zaberezhniy points to a recent request “to optimize the development of smart TVs and other platforms. To help them deliver faster, we started working on a front-end framework that will eventually allow our client to use a low-code option when releasing new applications for multiple platforms, our main task has been to find this functionality convergence of the application, leaving platform-specific UI features to narrowly focused front-end teams.They maintain an optimal balance between UI simplicity and native look and feel for each platform – and it looks like we are headed in the right direction.”

As for the smart TV market as a whole, he indicates that the recent evolution of effective tools for selecting and targeting advertisements should inspire more “personalized content recommendation initiatives”. The combination of granular analysis of user viewing behavior and an “interest-based matrix” for each viewer can result in the creation of personalized content offerings for each viewer. Beyond that, “the next step is to deliver content to an individual user rather than a cohort like children, gardeners, football fans, or other aggregate audiences. Such an approach appears to be the most sought after by users and most effective for online video businesses.This is where data intelligence and machine learning skills take center stage and can help bring to life interesting and creative solutions to this challenge.

“A separate calculation that governs the applications”

The convergence taking place within the smart TV industry inevitably raises the question of whether we might see similar consolidation occurring among technology vendors, including those in the apps segment. In the case of OTT content itself, suggests Bray, the current trend of consumers engaging with four of the mainstream OTT brands at any one time is likely to continue.

Oxagile 4. Smart TV UI Account Settings

“But,” he adds, “we also see a completely separate calculus that governs content-friendly apps that goes beyond purely consumer offerings. Many of our clients provide content that you simply won’t find in a mainstream app and represent brands that are considered very authentic in their space. Brands like Outside TV and AKC.TV are good examples. We therefore expect to see significant growth with these types of customers – not only at the SMB level, but also at the enterprise level, as these large organizations begin to take advantage of next-generation tools (such as those being development team at Zype) to get new apps up and running quickly, and [thereby provide] content to a variety of customer segments with a wide range of diverse interests.

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