Get awesome content into your inbox.


Thanks for your submission. We will contact you soon

How to build an app for Android TV

TV manufacturers around the world do not cease to compete for buyers. After the first smart TVs appeared, the struggle deployed around intelligent control technologies and other services that can expand the capabilities of traditional TVs.


Today, most Smart TVs no longer satisfy all user needs. So, based on the consumer’s wishes, Google released the first multimedia console running on the Android TV technology. A year later, in 2015, the first Android TV was released to the world’s technology market.

Android TV turns an ordinary TV into a multimedia center with almost unlimited possibilities. The system is familiar to everybody: an Android with access to folders, guide, with the usual order of installing applications, and compatible with other Android and iOS devices. All standard functions like reception and image quality settings, the choice of video content sources, etc. are available.

Compared with all other Smart TV operating systems, Android TV is the most popular and takes up 40% of the entire market.

How to build an app for Android TV? - 2018 Smart TV Operating System Share


There are several ways to use Android TV at home.

  1. Android TV Box. Of course, buying an Android console might be more financially profitable. If you buy a new TV, you can continue using your console further. However, it is necessary to make sure that Android Box is fully compatible with your TV.
  2. TV with a built-in Android operating system. Only this choice can guarantee full compatibility. Also, buying such a TV, you will not need to connect any devices to it. The setup will take minimum time, and only one remote control will be required to control the entire system. However, it is more expensive than the tv BOX.


Among the variety of devices available on the market, TV sets with built-in Android OS are the most popular ones.

How to build an app for Android TV? - Shares of worldwide forecast by device type - 2017 vs. 2021

Looking at the forecast presented in the chart, you can see that in the next 3 years this trend will probably not change.


Types and features of Android TV applications

In general, Android TV provides a considerable number of opportunities, but since the primary goal of the customer is entertainment, Android TV app development is often associated with multimedia and games.

  1. Social networks. Most users are interested in the possibility of using technology to view their social network pages. Moreover, in 2017 Facebook released a unique application for Android TV, in which all the videos from the user’s feed are converted and shown in the form of a TV channel.
  2. Video/Audio streaming. It was the initial goal of all Smart TVs creation. Today, the process of listening to music and watching video content is much easier and more pleasant thanks to built-in media players provided in numerous applications.
  3. Games. Right after the Android TVs appeared in the market, they had only one game available. After a few more weeks, in the “games” section users could find about 150 games available, and most of them were free. Until now, most developers continue optimizing the most popular games for Android TV.

In general, the functionality of such applications has virtually no limitations. Today, the following areas are also gaining popularity:

  • reading books, magazines, news, posters, etc.;

  • food delivery;

  • online showrooms;

  • geolocation maps;

  • communication and dating applications.


How to create a user-friendly design

When you create an app for Android TV, the main thing you should pay attention to is the user interface.

To make the user’s experience with Android TV truly enjoyable and convenient, you need to take care of the following points:

Step 1. TV Distance. Usually, to relax in front of the TV, consumers comfortably sit on the sofa and turn on a favorite movie or program. On average, in such cases, the TV is about two-three meters away from the user, so it is important to consider the following:

  • consider the distance and the screen size;

  • minimize the amount of text on the screen;

  • create the simplest possible user interface.

How to build an app for Android TV? - The average distance between a TV and its viewers

Step 2. Remote control. Remember that in most cases TV app management is carried out using a remote control. Given that the majority of television remotes do not have a touchpad, the ways to use the application should be comfortable and intuitively clear for each user. The navigation should be done using analog buttons and, in rare cases, using the embedded sensors, like a gyroscope, which becomes more and more popular.

How to build an app for Android TV? - Principles of TV navigation design. Remote control.

Step 3. The main screen of the application should contain a maximum of important information and minimum of text. Also, do not forget that for each new user who visits your application for the first time, this visit must be friendly and concise, and the interaction experience must be pleasant enough to provoke the user to return to the application.

How to build an app for Android TV? - Principles of TV navigation design. Main screen.


Step 4. Visible focus on the selected elements in the application is essential for creating a positive user experience.

How to build an app for Android TV? - Principles of TV navigation design. Simple navigation.

Step 5. Simple navigation. For the most convenient navigation, the user should initially understand the principles of control. You shouldn’t place too many interactive elements on the screen of the application if you do not want to confuse the user.


Android TV application development process

After we’ve worked through the interface and design of the application, we move on to the stage when we build an Android TV app. At this phase, we will implement all the features described above.

In general, the process of developing Android apps for TV is very similar to the process of developing universal Android apps, which we have described in the article about principles of developing a shopping app. However, several differences need extra attention from developers.

  1. Remember that the display resolutions of smartphones and television sets differ significantly. You should by no means miss that fact.
  2. The absence of the touchscreen on the remote control significantly affects the features of the app control. Here you need to use a navigation plugin, which allows switching focus in the application.
  3. In most cases, the use of a voice command plugin is recommended. Voice search in Android TV is an advantageous feature, which is used by most users. Moreover, today the voice recognition function works quite well.

The cost to build an Android TV application


Today any business requires an online presence. Whether you are a CEO at a multimillion company, or a startup being launched by several enthusiasts, you should know that it is equally important to take care of quality and professionalism, especially when you are going to make own Android TV app.

One of the most frequent questions about Android TV app development that clients regularly ask us is the price for such app design and development. Everything depends on the type of Android app you need and on the list of features and functions you want to include to the application.

We always advise our clients to start any new project from the principle of the minimum viable product (MVP). We help to build an individual MVP for each separate project and include in it only the most essential features, based on both your wishes and our expertise. Just after that, we’re able to count the cost of the entire project.

As an example, and as a way to provide you with more or less precise information concerning such calculations, here is an MVP cost of one of our projects implemented some time ago.



Quality Assurance

Log in / Sign Up


Channels and electronic program guide screen


Program info screen


Player screen


Settings screen




Total Design - 44h

Total Development (with QA) - 142h

Grand Total - 186h

If you need more info or want to start your project right now, send us a request via the contact form or contact us in any convenient way.