Android TV is one of many smart TV platforms in its infancy. While TVs themselves have existed for many decades, integrating a more robust operating system into them and adding an open application platform has created a huge realm of unexplored opportunities. Although there have been a handful of developers which have taken advantage of the larger screen, the full potential of smart TV apps has not been explored. In order to further this exploration and foster a larger developer community, we are forming the Interactive Television Lab.
This started in quiet last month, slowly posting code into our GitHub organization. There are a number of ideas that have been discussed, and not very much developer time to do it. By opening up our projects to the community, we’re hoping to find more contributors and have them use these projects to improve even more apps.
Today we are publishing the first app of this development, the Tv App Repository. This app will provide a number of services for users to aid in sideloading apps. You can take a look at our hands-on for more information.
In addition to just publishing apps, most of which will be available on the Google Play Store, this organization will also help developers through providing libraries of common code for things like file pickers and other kinds of utilities which will allow for better Android TV apps for everyone.
We don’t want to be the only source of Android TV apps and libraries. Ideally this support is built-in to each library and app on its own. However, without developers vouching for TV and gamepad support, these changes may never be made. If you are a developer for Android TV, or just want to check it out, feel free to visit the organization or one of the projects and start helping out. While I have been putting in the bulk of the work thus far, this is meant to be an open community.
Developers, have you had any trouble implementing a certain feature in TV? Have you developed a workaround? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. I’d like to get your input.