LG’s Connect SDK Provides Open Source Framework to Develop Apps Across Multiple TV Platforms
Monday, April 21, 2014
LG’s Connect SDK is an open source framework that connects mobile apps with multiple TV platforms. Because most TV platforms support a variety of protocols, Connect SDK integrates and abstracts the discovery and connectivity between all supported protocols.
To discover supported platforms and protocols, Connect SDK uses SSDP to discover services such as DIAL, DLNA, UDAP, and Roku's External Control Guide (ECG). Connect SDK also supports ZeroConf to discover devices such as Chromecast. Even while supporting multiple discovery protocols, the Connect SDK is able to generate one unified list of discovered devices from the same network.
To communicate with discovered devices, Connect SDK integrates support for protocols such as DLNA, DIAL, SSAP, ECG, Chromecast, UDAP, and webOS second screen protocol. Connect SDK intelligently picks which protocol to use depending on the feature being used.
For example, when connecting to a 2013 LG Smart TV, Connect SDK uses DLNA for media playback, DIAL for YouTube launching, and UDAP for system controls. On Roku, media playback and system controls are made available through ECG, and YouTube launching through DIAL. On Chromecast, media playback occurs through the Cast protocol and YouTube is launched via DIAL.
To achieve similar results without Connect SDK, a developer would need to implement DIAL, ECG, Chromecast, and DLNA in their app. Furthermore, the method calls between each protocol is abstracted. That means developers can use one method call to beam a video to Roku, three generations of LG Smart TVs, and Chromecast.
The SDK facailitates web app beaming which allows the use of HTML5 and other web technologies. For example, Chromecast apps, which are essentially web apps, are good examples of app types to integrate the Connect SDK. Web app beaming is supported by Connect SDK v1.2 on webOS and Chromecast.
Integrate the Connect SDK into any mobile app that contains a photo, a video or YouTube video and users are given the option to beam and view their content on a larger, more social display for a more engaging experience. An example would be Trulia's mobile app, which shows homes for sale. Instead of crowding over a screen or passing a phone around to view the homes with friends and family, the user simply beams the photos directly to the Smart TV screen allowing everyone in the room to share in the experience.
YouTube beaming is supported by Connect SDK v1.2 on webOS, LG Smart TV '13, LG Smart TV '12, Roku 3, Chromecast, Fire TV, and all DIAL supporting devices.
Photo and Video beaming is supported by Connect SDK v1.2 on webOS, LG Smart TV '13, LG Smart TV '12, Roku, and Chromecast.
Developers can also promote their app using the Connect SDK which provides the ability for the app to detect if a specific device is on the same network and prompt the user to install your app. If the user accepts, the Connect SDK launches the device's app store, deep-linked to your specific app, where the user can complete the download and installation. This use case is supported by Connect SDK v1.2 on webOS, LG Smart TV '13, and Roku.
Developers can provide different experiences depending on each platform. Some of the newer platforms like webOS and Chromecast offer newer features like web app support. If a developer decides to use a feature that is not available on all platforms, they may want to consider an alternative solution for other platforms.
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