The New Wave of Apps for Connected TVs

Posted / 18 September, 2015

Author / Enginess

connected TV

Here are some examples of apps that will be soon making their way to our living rooms via connected TVs for social consumption.

Last week, along with the announcement of the iPhone 6s and 3D Touch, Apple announced an updated version of its set top television box, Apple TV, and made it clear that Apple's vision for the future of television is apps. (Apple is by no means the first to suggest this, but they're being used as the example due to their mainstream reach).

Throughout demos showing new apps built specifically for the Apple TV, we could see a lot of what you would expect – entertainment apps for streaming movies and tv shows, apps for music, and especially gaming.

But then there was something a bit unexpected in the mix: a demo for an Airbnb app, for travel bookings.

At first, an Airbnb app on a connected TV might seem a bit out of place, when you're used to your tv being used for passive entertainment or gaming, but the more you think about it the use-case of a travel app, the more it makes sense, and illustrates Apple’s vision for the future of TV: social app usage.

airbnb apple tv app

Of course, planning a vacation with a partner or family is easier when you're sitting in the living room in front of the biggest screen in your house (probably), rather than being huddled around a notebook computer or tablet.

And when you realize that Airbnb is one of 'those apps' that makes sense, then you can start to think how many other lifestyle apps would benefit from "social" usage.

Here are some other examples of apps that will be soon making their way to our living rooms for social consumption.  

Photo and video apps

photos videos on appletv

One of the biggest opportunities for developers is to port their apps that rely heavily on photos and videos to the Apple TV.

Apps like Instagram, Facebook or Vine are inherently social, and thus would be perfect for the living room. Periscope, the live-streaming video app from Twitter, is reportedly far along in its development of an Apple TV app, and is even said to be  updating its entire experience to allow for landscape video recording and broadcasting in order to support the TV formats – a significant departure from its current locked portrait format that’s been used for mobile devices.

periscope apple tv app

Sports apps

Sports apps have some of the most potential for use on a connected TV. No longer restricted to the platform provided by the cable provider's set top box, sports apps can now be customized to show all of a user's preferred matches, with on-the-fly stats on her favourite teams, players or leagues.

Sure, these features could also be implemented (or found) on a mobile or tablet app, but no one invites their buddies over to watch Sunday football on their iPhone.  

E-commerce on connected TVs

What experience is more social than going shopping with a friend? Whether it’s to buy a new outfit, redecorating the house, or doing some holiday shopping, an e-commerce app accessible in the living room could be a great resource for consumers.  

Health and fitness apps

The "7 minute workout challenge" is just one example of a popular paid health/fitness app on the App Store – and would undoubtedly benefit from bringing its experience to a connected TV, where an exerciser could do his training in front of a full screen demo rather than checking the screen on his phone.

7 minute workout challenge

Alternately, cooking apps, like Jamie Oliver's, could quickly become a more popular viewing option on connected TVs, replacing viewership of a traditional food network channel you get through cable.  

Limits to connected TV apps

microsoft word on tv Mocked up as an April Fool’s Joke, via

Without a doubt, there are some apps that just simply don't make sense to use on a TV. Business and productivity apps, for instance, will likely have no place on an Apple TV App Store (though it likely won't stop some developers from trying).

Could you read or edit a Microsoft Word document on your TV? Sure. But it would likely be an unfavourable experience that ultimately doesn't give you any benefits over using a standard computer screen or handheld device.


Clearly, many lifestyle apps are ripe for this new platform, and it provides a new opportunity for a new kind of app to emerge and capture users’ attention.

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