While Smart TVs have improved over the years, one issue in particular has bothered us: there's no uniformity. Every single TV has their own user interface, and every single software back-end is written on a different platform. And how can you get developers to band together and help make an ecosystem better, if every single TV maker is courting devs to write a different program? Largely due to that, Smart TV
usage hasn't taken off. Sure, people use things because they simply come with new HDTVs, but is there passion in the air about Smart TVs the way there is tablets? Not so much.
But at CES 2013, the Smart TV Alliance is banding together to introduce five new members as well as an updated SDK. This move could mark the first major step in creating something of a uniform platform, helping Smart TVs on the whole become more alluring. New Smart TV Alliance members include manufacturers Panasonic, ABOX42 and TechniSat, and solution providers IBM and Specific Media. According to the release, all of these outfits "recognize the need for and value in being able to develop and provide apps across multiple platforms and join Alliance founders LG Electronics, TP Vision and Toshiba, as well as Obigo, Qualcomm Incorporated and YuMe, in creating a non-proprietary ecosystem for application developers to create attractive, platform-independent services." It's great to actually hear that, and it's a move that has been badly needed for some time.
Smart TV Alliance members are repairing a fragmented market opportunity for app developers and TV manufacturers, creating the best Smart TV experience for consumers,” said Richard Choi, president of Smart TV Alliance from founding member LG Electronics. “Now app developers can concentrate on doing what they do best. Instead of chasing down each manufacturer’s individual requirements and compliance process, they can make the most out of their creative energy by developing innovative applications and services.”
The upcoming SDK captures the latest trends and features available to app developers so they will be able to deliver the most current and exciting apps for 2013 Smart TVs from LG, TP Vision and Toshiba. The new SDK features include:
For 2013 Smart TVs:
· 3D video
· MPEG-DASH support with more reliable audio and video quality with less stuttering and freezing
· More and better content choices with updated digital rights management (DRM) features that reflect DRM requirements from content owners
For application developers:
· New common emulator allows developers to test an application once to ensure it will work with Smart TV Alliance member televisions
· Application compliance checking tool enables developers to test compliance automatically with Smart TV Alliance cross-platform requirements
· Advanced debug tools help developers solve application problems faster and more easily