Connect SDK is an open source framework that connects your mobile apps with multiple TV platforms. Because most TV platforms support a variety of protocols, Connect SDK integrates and abstracts the discovery and connectivity between all supported protocols.
To discover supported platforms and protocols, Connect SDK uses SSDP to discover services such as DIAL, DLNA, UDAP, and Roku's External Control Guide (ECG). Connect SDK also supports ZeroConf to discover devices such as Chromecast and Apple TV. Even while supporting multiple discovery protocols, Connect SDK is able to generate one unified list of discovered devices from the same network.
To communicate with discovered devices, Connect SDK integrates support for protocols such as DLNA, DIAL, SSAP, ECG, AirPlay, Chromecast, UDAP, and webOS second screen protocol. Connect SDK intelligently picks which protocol to use depending on the feature being used.
For example, when connecting to a 2013 LG Smart TV, Connect SDK uses DLNA for media playback, DIAL for YouTube launching, and UDAP for system controls. On Roku, media playback and system controls are made available through ECG, and YouTube launching through DIAL. On Chromecast, media playback occurs through the Cast protocol and YouTube is launched via DIAL.
To support the aforementioned use case without Connect SDK, a developer would need to implement DIAL, ECG, Chromecast, and DLNA in their app. With Connect SDK, discovering the three devices is handled for you. Furthermore, the method calls between each protocol is abstracted. That means you can use one method call to beam a video to Roku, 3 generations of LG Smart TVs, Apple TV, and Chromecast.
Using HTML5 and other web technologies, the capabilities and opportunity are nearly limitless.
Example: Chromecast apps, which are essentially web apps, are good examples of some possibilities of integrating Connect SDK. Click here for a list of existing Chromecast apps .
Web App beaming is supported by Connect SDK v1.3 on webOS, Apple TV, and Chromecast.
Integrate Connect SDK into any mobile app that contains a photo, a video or YouTube video and give users the option to beam and view their content on a larger, more social display for a more engaging experience.
Example: Trulia's mobile app shows homes for sale. Instead of crowding over a screen or passing a phone around to view the homes with friends and family, the user simply beams the photos directly to the Smart TV screen allowing everyone in the room to share in the experience.
Example: The Verge app embeds product reviews, interviews and YouTube videos within their articles. With Connect SDK integrated in the app, users could beam the content onto a Smart TV or TV set top box sharing content with co-workers.
YouTube beaming is supported by Connect SDK v1.3 on webOS, LG Smart TV '13, LG Smart TV '12, Roku 3, Chromecast, Fire TV, and many DIAL supporting devices.
Photo and Video beaming is supported by Connect SDK v1.3 on webOS, LG Smart TV '13, LG Smart TV '12, Roku, Apple TV, and Chromecast.
If you are going to invest in building a TV app, promote its availability using your mobile app. Using Connect SDK, your mobile app can detect if a specific device is on the same network and prompt the user to install your app. If the user accepts, Connect SDK launches the device's app store deep-linked to your specific app where the user can complete the download and installation.
Example: Crunchyroll, a leading Japanese Anime and Asian media video service, has a channel on Roku. By integrating Connect SDK, they could detect a Roku device on the same network and promote their channel's availability within their app.
This use case is supported by Connect SDK v1.3 on webOS, LG Smart TV '13, and Roku.
Own your user's experience by allowing users to control the TV app using a mobile app. Everything from keyboard input, app navigation, even logging-in can be made easier using your mobile app.
Example: Vudu could easily integrate keyboard and mouse control allowing their users to select videos and enter credit card information using Vudu mobile app. Vudu could even pass user credentials from the mobile app to the TV app eliminating the need to login on the TV if the user is already logged in on the mobile app.
Of course, developers can provide different experience depending on each platform. Some of the newer platforms like webOS and Chromecast offer newer features like web app support. If you decide to use a feature that is not available on all platforms, consider an alternative solution for other platforms.
Example: Instagram could develop a web app with an album-like feature. While webOS, Chromecast and Amazon Fire users would also enjoy this as a feature - we would recommend Instagram to simply beam one photo at a time to other platforms not supporting web app beaming.