Developers: Getting Ready for the Dual Screen App Revolution

Developers: Getting Ready for the Dual Screen App Revolution

Earlier this year we announced and demonstrated a new capability within our App Cloud mobile app platform for creating dual screen apps for Apple TV. These dual screen experiences enable viewers to stream programs to their TV while enjoying relevant content from the same publishers via a mobile app. For publishers, this is a fantastic opportunity to introduce rich content apps that simultaneously control content, data and information presented on the TV while displaying synchronized content on their mobile device.

This announcement generated a lot of attention and opened up people's minds to the way in which our lives are being transformed with tablets and TVs. If you're not familiar with the concept, embedded here is a demo of the capability from our Brightcove PLAY customer conference


What is most exciting about what we're calling the "dual screen app revolution" is what it means for developers and the experiences they are able to build. We are focused on making this as easy as possible for developers, so we've spent the last few months introducing a variety of new tools and resources for the developer community.

App Cloud Core

Also at Brightcove PLAY, we launched App Cloud Core, a free online service and open source SDK (learn more here), with the goal of unleashing the talent and creativity of the millions of existing Web designers and developers into the market of native app development for key consumer devices. App Cloud Core empowers Web and app developers to build cross-platform native apps (aka hybrid native apps) for iOS, Android and Apple TV. It includes a suite of developer tools for building, testing, debugging and compiling hybrid apps in the cloud using HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. In the App Cloud Core SDK, we include rich libraries for using native device APIs, for constructing rich touch-centric user interfaces, and data services libraries for things like content caching, offline usage, file downloads and other key capabilities.

As part of this, we've released a set of additional APIs that enable developers to use HTML5 to build dual screen apps that work on iOS and Apple TV. We've abstracted the screen detection and communications plumbing, and updated our app development model to incorporate what we call multi-view applications which enables a developer to use an HTML5 view on the TV and provides a simple means for each screen to communicate data and events to each other.

If you're a developer, you can also find simple reference example source code for both Dual Screen Video and Dual Screen Web Views in our Github repo.

Building a Dual Screen Video Application with App Cloud

Our very own Todd Yard also wrote a great post for developers interested in building dual screen apps. With App Cloud's dual screen video APIs, developers can easily take advantage of Apple TV technology to create an app that streams HD video to the TV screen while providing a secondary screen on their iPad or iPhone. The post includes a dual screen video sample as an example of how such an app can be built, as well as the important pieces of its code to make it easy for other developers to modify and expand upon it.

Customer Example - Discovery Networks International

Earlier this week, we announced that Discovery Networks International (DNI) is the first customer to adopt App Cloud to develop and manage dual-screen catch-up TV services. DNI will take advantage of our dual screen solution for Apple TV to launch a dual screen app for its DMAX Italy property, a free-to-air channel. DMAX Italy's dual screen app will allow viewers to easily discover and watch full, ad-supported episodes of past and current seasons of popular Discovery programming using their iPad or iPhone directly to an Apple TV-enabled HDTV. The app is expected to be available for download from iTunes later this Fall.

It's clear to us at Brightcove that there is a great future ahead in dual screen apps, and we are excited to encourage designers and developers to start exploring and digging in and experimenting with what we expect will become a fundamental new paradigm in consumer software and media.