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4 Tips for Developing Amazon Fire TV Apps

VitaliyKolos Inspiration Oct 10, 2018

More people than ever before are dropping their cable and satellite TV packages. In fact, 500,000 people cut the cord in the fourth quarter alone, according to MoffetNathanson Research. More people cutting the cord means more people are using streaming devices, like Amazon’s Fire Stick. Developing apps for Fire TV can be a challenge, but these four tips can help bring your vision to life.

1. Download the Fire App Builder Sample Project

Before you get started, download the Fire App Builder sample project. The project will help you determine which classes and features you want to use in your own project. In addition, you also want to download and use the Leanback library. The library will help ensure that you create a fun, engaging TV-friendly experience without having to write an extensive amount of boiler plate code.

2. Make Sure You’re Running a Newer Device with the Latest OS

If you have an older version of the Fire OS, you may have a hard time getting your app to work. Even if you have an older generation of the Fire Stick or Fire TV, you should be able to update to the latest version of Fire OS.

Otherwise, you’ll need to install the developer preview.

3. Only Use Formats Supported by the Platform

If your goal is to develop an app that can stream video, you’ll need to make sure that you’re using a format that’s supported by the platform. Fortunately, Amazon offers a detailed guide on how to incorporate video and audio into your Fire TV app.

Keep in mind that there’s a difference between the Fire TV and Fire Stick when it comes to resolution and storage space. As Fire Stick Tricks points out, the Fire TV can stream in 4K, while the Fire Stick cannot. This may affect your development plans, or you may need to create separate apps for each device.

4. Choose a Content-Appropriate Design

The app’s layout and design may seem trivial, but they will both play an important role in attracting and keeping users. If the app is hard to navigate, the layout is confusing or the design is unappealing, users may not continue using your app after they download it.

When designing your app, make sure that you consider not only your current offerings, but your future offerings as well. Consider design and coding strategies that will make it easier to update your app and its content in the future. For example, you could store your video URLs and meta data in a JSON file so that you can update content without having to update your app as well.

Developing an app for Fire TV can be challenging, only because the technology is still pretty new. But Amazon has a detailed, intensive guide that can help developers create and publish their apps with relative ease. Focus on a user-friendly, intuitive design so that users can easily navigate to where they need to go and consume your content without having to jump through hoops.

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