Blog Summary:

This blog is a comprehensive guide to developing Smart TV apps that engage the audience with an effective user experience. It will guide media companies, streaming service providers, and satellite TV owners/advertisers who are looking for in-depth insights on the tech stack, development costs, and benefits.

Television sets have always been an integral part of any household. Even though smartphones and laptops pushed TVs to the backburner, the rise of Smart TV apps has brought the same excitement back. This renewed interest is due to having an enhanced experience of browsing the Internet, accessing apps, better sounds, and bigger screens.

Customer behavior saw a paradigm shift in businesses’ investment in Smart TV App Development. The Smart TV market in the US is expected to reach USD 67 billion by 2025. Moreover, the worldwide market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 11.4% until 2030.

Even though the first Smart TV hit many years ago, the industry is still very welcoming, affordable, and positively influential. In this blog, we’ll uncover how developing a Smart TV app can boost viewer engagement with a personalized experience.

What Does SmartTV Do?

Smart TVs work on an operating system (OS) that combines a traditional TV with a mobile phone. This eliminates the need for a cable TV network or a separate device for streaming digital content.

It’s a modern LED TV that can be connected to the Internet (usually Wi-Fi), allowing users to access Web 2.0 and host smart applications. The device provides an intuitive interface with smarter functionalities like text and voice search. It allows businesses to develop applications for games, streaming shows, and music.

Samsung TV, Apple TV, Android TV, and LG TV hugely dominate the Smart TV industry. Most subscription-based and free services are already built in the TV marketplace and provided by manufacturers.

However, they can be integrated with external STB devices like Amazon Fire TV and Google Chromecast to access leading OTT platforms like Amazon Prime, HBO, Netflix, Hulu, and many more.

Why Do You Need a Smart TV App?

If your business already has an app for smartphones and laptops, Smart Television app development can greatly expand your customer base. Re-developing an existing app will not only attract a new audience but also help you save on development costs and time.

Moreover, since the back end of the app is already built, you only have to customize the front end with buttons, fonts, and layouts that fit the Smart TV requirements. Let’s understand how the technology behind Smart TVs can become a competitive advantage:

  1. Smart TVs work on Connected TV (CTV) technology. This device is embedded in Smart TVs that support video-streaming platforms (Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, etc.). Since they are preloaded and ready to watch video on demand, there is no download. Compared to linear TV, CTV doesn’t air content at specific times and is flexible.
  2. Smart TVs have Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) technology that identifies accurate TV viewership data through the user’s location, watch history and navigation journey. Businesses use this information to serve ads that users are most likely to engage with and recommend similar shows to the users.

Smart TV app development requires fine-tuning the tech stack according to the tvOS you want to build the user interface, features, and services. To have freedom and control over each phase of the app development lifecycle, it’s best to hire a development team for a smooth post-launch.

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Benefits Of Smart TV App Development

Android TV, Samsung Tizen TV, Apple TV, Fire TV—all these leading OS and ecosystem names have their apps. Since each Smart TV also operates on a separate OS, we recommend developing apps for all platforms to get maximum benefits:

Enhanced User Engagement

Viewer engagement is the biggest benefit of a Smart TV. Interactive features and personalized recommendations add another dimension to the user experience. For example, Tizen TV, the Smart TV OS and ecosystem by Samsung, auto-recommends shows and songs based on user preferences through its command assistant named Bixby.

Extended Reach to a Wider Audience

Smart TV apps offer users the option to personalize the interface by changing themes. Additionally, the integrated HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) players allow high-quality video playback that adjusts its quality according to the Internet speed. Thirdly, video content management ensures a rich content library that organizes and structures viewing experiences.

Monetization Opportunities

Users can access the web on their TV screens and even switch between different devices to view a diversified range of content options. This ultimately opens up multiple app monetization avenues for content creators, such as subscription models, in-app purchases, and partnerships with other channels.

Integration with IoT Devices

A Smart TV offers features beyond streaming by becoming a hub for connected devices with IoT applications. Users can control all their smart devices at home through a central command point. They can download apps to control connected lights and speakers with voice commands like Google Alexa and Apple’s Siri.

For example, Apple Siri’s command results will show on Apple TV and can connect with Airpods, Apple Music, and Apple Fitness+.

Brand Visibility and Recognition

A Smart TV app development company offers innovative solutions with white-label platforms. These platforms allow businesses to tailor and brand their apps strictly according to the client’s specifications.

For example, if a business deals with apps that distribute copyrighted content, it can develop Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology to encrypt and authenticate unauthorized copying and distribution.

Features Of Smart TV App

A Smart TV app has limited hardware resources, which makes it crucial to optimize code, compress media, apply caching mechanisms, and minimize network latency for maximum app performance and responsiveness. Hence, it must be built with features that ensure compatibility across different platforms for a smooth and secure user experience:

Intuitive User Interface (UI)

Smart TV app development services consist of building a vast content library with several applications. Hence, users must be able to scroll through it conveniently without lagging. Since TVs are generally placed a few meters away, it is essential to build the CSS-style libraries properly.

What to Consider: Font size and color usage are key aspects to consider. The content must also be distributed across the screen to ensure users can read everything, even from a distance.

Seamless Content Streaming

A robust Video Content Management System (CMS) forms an integral part of the seamless content streaming infrastructure. By organizing and managing content across an extensive collection of multimedia, it simplifies how users consume content by searching through the app library.

Tip: Segment the content by organizing it according to the genre, trends, language, what to watch next, etc. Adding multiple language support is also a good idea.

Personalized Recommendations

Delivering personalized content boosts user engagement and app performance. By delivering targeted content based on user preferences, search history, and browsing habits, content suggestions can be tailored across different genres.

Voice and Gesture Controls

As users’ UX habits change, Smart TV app development must also adapt to the features accordingly. Voice assistants have been introduced to enhance navigation and bring convenience to searching.

Tip: A good way to enhance UX/UI is by integrating voice search assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Alexa for more interactive navigation through voice commands.

Multi-device Synchronization

Regardless of the app users use, it’s better not to disappoint them when they find out a particular app is not supported by their TV. A cross-platform viewing experience enables users to switch between their smartphones, laptops, and tablets quickly.

For example, Microsoft added a function to stream media files to a compatible TV or Chromecast device when updating OneDrive.

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Tech Stack Required for Smart TV App Development

The tech stack decides how the functionality of your Smart TV app will work to connect a robust front-end, a simplified UI, and a scalable back-end. We recommend writing custom code for the backend to implement high-performing Content Delivery Network (CDN) setups. The following are the most common technologies used:

Front-end Development Tools

Front-end development needs modern web technologies to enable a responsive UI that can adapt according to any screen size.

Recommended Tech Stack: Our expert developers recommend working with React.js and Angular, which are highly salable JavaScript frameworks.

Back-end Infrastructure Requirements

The back-end for Smart TV apps must be built with frameworks that can efficiently handle server-side operations, integrate APIs, and build strong data storage.

Recommended Tech Stack: Node.js, Django, Flask, and Express.js are some of the most common technologies that will help you build a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

Video Streaming Protocols

For a Smart TV to become successful, media must be encoded and transcoded to make it compatible with any screen for smooth content delivery.

Recommended Tech Stack: Utilize streaming codecs like FFmpeg and AWS Elemental MediaConvert. For streaming protocols, use HLS and Dynamic Adaptive Streaming Over HTTP (DASH).

Security Measures and Analytics Solutions

Protecting user data and preventing unauthorized access is crucial for a Smart TV to maintain its integrity. Moreover, integrating the analytics tool helps gain more user insights.

Recommended Tech Stack: Use encryption (SSL/TLS) and OAuth for authentication. Google Analytics and Flurry are recommended for gaining a deep understanding of app performance.

How To Develop a Smart TV App?

The primary aim of developing a Smart TV is to expand its customer base by constantly finding new ways to reach its target audience. Additionally, users are looking for ways to gain an immersive experience, which is why smart TVs are a big name in households.

The convenience of accessing apps from different aspects of our lives on a single device is definitely an idea worth venturing into. Let’s understand what goes into the process of Smart TV app development:

Market Research and Ideation

Researching the market for Smart TV viewers starts with understanding the platforms they use to switch their viewing experiences on a daily basis. Hence, to provide a platform-independent experience, your app must be developed for all platforms. Here are the two things to consider:

  • Target customer resources toward specific brands
  • Create a matrix to define Smart TV viewers and set-top box platforms Planning and Prototyping

The planning phase consists of building a working prototype that understands the user preferences, current trends, demands, and pain points.

The easiest way to start is by focusing on the impact of screen resolutions since Smart TV apps are built for a wide range of screens. When building a prototype, make sure to consider resolutions by assessing the viewing distances for each screen.

Designing User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX)

It should be noted that the UI and UX of a Smart TV app are completely different from those of a mobile app. The in-app navigation should focus on building listed views in place of drop-down menus.

Moreover, it should also have smooth transitions between pages and a “back” button. Complex commands need to be completed in a limited number of clicks for easier navigation across menus.

Development and Testing Phases

The development and testing phases involve checking the performance of the essential indicators. These include text readability from a distance of 3 to 4 meters, concise information display, and a design that’s convenient for viewers.

For example, remote control functionality is different in Apple TV, which prioritizes touch inputs, and Amazon Fire TV, which focuses on speech inputs.

Submission and Approval Process for Smart TV App Stores

Submitting apps to the Smart TV app stores requires obtaining a license to provide streaming content. Since the approval process for a Smart TV can take 2-3 months, it is important to provide a complete application map that describes its functionalities. The app must also check all the tick boxes related to navigation scenarios and UX components.

Post-launch Maintenance and Updates

The last phase includes if all the Software Development Kits (SDKs) and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are updated according to the OS of different devices.

This phase also requires adhering to the security requirements like end-to-end encryption and protection against unauthorized access. With new OS entering the market, apps must also be frequently updated to avoid compatibility issues.

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How Much Does It Cost To Build a Smart TV App?

Because of this industry’s competitiveness, it’s always a good idea to start with a minimum viable product, which ranges from USD 12,000 to USD 35,000. The actual estimated cost of different types of Smart TV apps can reach up to USD 2.00,000.

Let’s understand the factors that influence it:

Choosing between Customized Apps or Pre-existing Templates

Using templates or frameworks can lower the expenses, but it would leave you with no freedom to customize your OTT apps for Smart TV. Personalization might add a few USD 5,000 to USD 10,000 more, but it can provide an engaging user experience with audience-specific features.

Cloud or On-premises Hosting

On-premises solutions require higher initial investments, but cloud hosting can offer more scalability, long-term savings, and a robust security infrastructure. Protecting and safeguarding user data is essential in these apps, even though it may increase costs.

Cross-platform Compatibility

It can be difficult to choose between native or cross-platform, leading to compatibility issues. Developing a Smart TV app can reap the best results if developed for both Android and iOS.

Here’s a tentative cost estimate for each type of app:

Types of Smart TV Apps Estimated App Development Costs (in USD)
On-demand Streaming Apps (Live streaming, video-on-demand, music streaming) 25,000 to 1,40,000
Utility Apps (News, calendar, weather) 15,000 to 75,000
E-learning Apps (Language learning, kids apps) 20,000 to 1,30,000
Shopping Apps 40,000 to 1,45,000
Fitness Apps 25,000 to 1,50,000
Gaming Apps 40,000 to 1,80,000
Smart Home Automation Apps 30,000 to 1,00,000

How Can Moon Technolabs Help?

Today’s users are more informed and constantly looking for easy access to digital content. The easiest and most flexible way to get started with development is by partnering with Moon Technolabs, a Smart TV app development company.

Our experienced development team works closely with the key decision-makers to understand their expectations by considering the following critical areas:

  • Identify the target audience that would benefit from both Smart TV and video streaming services
  • Consider the screen resolutions for an immersive experience
  • Providing navigation features to browse content effortlessly

Contact us today to build robust solutions for media outlets, independent content creators, and satellite TV providers who want to expand their services with a Custom OTT app.


Smart TVs are a growing trend, and creating a Smart TV app can be highly profitable. Having an experienced development team by your side can accelerate your chances of success. We offer solutions to build innovative apps, helping you start a streaming business and potentially earn millions. Act now to seize this opportunity!



How to make a smart TV app?

If you want to build a Samsung Smart TV app, Tizen Studio is the ideal platform to choose from. Afterward, learn about the Software Development Kits (SDKs) and tools provided by the platform. Lastly, choose an appropriate programming language, such as Java/Kotlin, for an Android Smart TV app before testing it across devices.


What programming language do smart TV apps use?

Smart TV apps for Android use programming languages such as C++, C#, and Java and use IMA SDK. Similarly, Apple TV smart apps use languages like Swift and JavaScript along with the tvOS SDK.


Do smart TVs have apps built in?

Yes, all smart TVs are installed with the manufacturer’s app store, which also offers options for selecting a limited number of apps based on the OS. Android TV is also a type of smart TV that offers users access to the Google Play Store, providing them with the option to choose from a diverse range of apps.


What is the app format for Tizen OS?

Tizen OS apps are .NET applications and are always deployed as installed packages with the .tpk file extension. A manifest file controls the package generation process. They support video formats like WMV, AVI, MKV, OGG, MP4, etc. Tizen also offers OpenMobile Application Compatibility Layer (ACL) technology to enable Android files (.APK) to run seamlessly.
About Author

Jayanti Katariya is the CEO of Moon Technolabs, a fast-growing IT solutions provider, with 18+ years of experience in the industry. Passionate about developing creative apps from a young age, he pursued an engineering degree to further this interest. Under his leadership, Moon Technolabs has helped numerous brands establish their online presence and he has also launched an invoicing software that assists businesses to streamline their financial operations.