A Tale of Two Choices: Lessons in Smart TV App Development

Disclaimer: The two companies featured in this story are fictional and do not represent any specific business entities. However, their challenges and choices are compiled from real-life experiences in the OTT and Smart TV app development industry. The capabilities of Sofia Digital portrayed in this story are also entirely factual.

Once upon a time in the highly competitive world of digital media, there were two OTT service providers who both wanted to expand their business. 

Both companies already had successful services on web and mobile and were now looking to extend these services to Smart TVs. Company A, with its strong presence in the online market, aimed to replicate this success on big screens. Company B wanted the same but chose a different strategy in this expansion.

As the companies ventured into the previously unknown realm of Smart TV app development, they both learned that the choices they made early on would determine if they succeeded or not.

The Familiar Choice: Sticking to Tradition

With the help of a trusted software partner, Company A had already launched its OTT service for web and mobile platforms. Encouraged by this success, they decided to extend their existing application to Smart TVs. The partner, known for their expertise in web and mobile projects, assured Company A that making a Smart TV version would be straightforward and easy, as Smart TV apps use the same technologies. “It’s simply just HTML and JavaScript”, they said. 

Unfortunately, the reality was far from simple. After over a year of development, the app was released on just one TV manufacturer’s app store. A separate version of the app was created for another major TV manufacturer, but despite all good effort it failed to pass the QA process even after six attempts. Other manufacturers were not even tried at this point. Users who managed to install the app on their TVs complained about its poor usability and performance. The design, effective on web and mobile, did not work on the big screen with remote control navigation.

After only few months, the Smart TV app project was discontinued, and Company A refocused on their web and mobile services. They managed to maintain a moderate user base, but attracting new customers became increasingly difficult. Company A’s CTO declared Smart TV apps to be a dead platform.

The Visionary Choice: Partnering with Pioneers

Company B had also launched their OTT service on web and mobile, achieving some promising success. However, lacking the marketing budget and resources of the bigger players, they knew they had to compete with quality. They decided to create a Smart TV app designed specifically for big screens, aiming to provide a seamless watching experience with the existing web and mobile applications. There was only one problem: to stay ahead in the competition, they needed the app quickly. 

Realizing that they needed an expert specialized in Smart TV app development, Company B began their search for the right partner to help them reach their ambitious objective. At the IBC trade show in Amsterdam, they encountered Sofia Digital, a renowned pioneer of digital television from Finland. Sofia Digital seemed like an ideal candidate for the job: a company with over 20 years of experience in the industry and an impressive track record of successful OTT and Smart TV app deliveries globally.

After initiating discussions with Sofia Digital, Company B was quickly impressed with their sincere and customer-oriented approach. In the matter of just a few weeks, Sofia Digital had developed a functioning Proof-of-Concept implementation of the Smart TV app. Together with Company B’s web and mobile partner, Sofia Digital’s user experience team collaborated to create a design consistent with the existing web and mobile versions while also tailored and optimized for big screen usage.

Convinced by these positive experiences, the CTO of Company B decided to place their trust in Sofia Digital and greenlighted the project. Within just three months, Sofia Digital developed the Smart TV app for seven different TV platforms – two more than Company B had originally planned for. The applications for these platforms shared a common codebase which significantly simplified maintenance and resulting in notable savings in both time and costs.

Before submitting the app for TV manufacturers’ QA processes, Sofia Digital’s testing team tested the app in their TV lab of over 200 different television models. Found errors were promptly fixed prior to submission, leading to the app passing all QA processes smoothly on the first attempt. This swift completion wouldn’t have been possible without Sofia Digital’s strong connections with TV manufacturers and previous experience in common QA pitfalls.

Company B succeeded in bringing their new Smart TV app to market in less than half a year. The user base of their OTT service continued to grow, surpassing many competitors, including the likes of Company A. Company B’s cooperation with Sofia Digital progressed with further development of the Smart TV app. They are very pleased to have a partner like Sofia Digital helping them in improving their business. As a specialist deeply involved in the digital media industry, Sofia Digital can bring in the latest trends and market-proven solutions.

At the next IBC trade show, the CTO of Company B was honored with an acclaimed industry award for their innovative solution. The Smart TV app platform was alive and well.

Does this story resonate with you?

At Sofia Digital, we know the hidden complexities of Smart TV development and can guide you in making the right choices for your OTT platform. Contact us today, and let’s create the next success story together! 

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