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Showing posts tagged with Amazon Fire TV

February 16, 2017

Rita Auta

Economist.png

The media landscape has undergone momentous changes since The Economist first rolled off the printing presses in 1843. This weekly newspaper has had a web presence for ten years, but recently direct competitors and social networks have begun to vie for a slice of their readers’ time. The Economist had to react.

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January 31, 2017

Becky Young

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Late last year, Amazon announced an over-the-air (OTA) update that brings support for standard Android notifications to Fire TV. To help developers make the most of this new update, we sat down with our Developer Evangelists to compile a list of our top tips for developing a well-planned push notification strategy. The result is our newest eBook: Best Practices for Push Notifications.

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January 06, 2017

Tanisha

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Amazon is excited to announce our newest Fire TV experience, with Alexa Voice Remote, designed specifically for smart TVs. Amazon Fire TV Edition elevates the smart TV experience by integrating the Fire TV experience directly into a new range of hardware from Seiki, Westinghouse and Element Electronics. The new smart TVs will help increase the reach of your apps by introducing them to a new host of customers, in the living room. If you are already developing for Fire TV your apps should automatically work on the new Amazon Fire TV Edition, for those interested in submitting to Fire TV, please take a look at our documentation.

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January 04, 2017

Tanisha

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If you’re considering building a media-based app for Fire TV, Amazon provides two frameworks to help you get started and accelerate your development: Web App Starter Kit for Fire TV (WASK) and Fire App Builder. In this post, we are going to take a high-level look at each of these frameworks, the particular skill sets they are built for and variations in their feature sets.  Let’s first take a look at WASK for Fire TV.

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December 28, 2016

Mario Viviani

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In parts 1-5 of this series we followed the user journey on Fire TV from browsing and content discovery to reading the details of specific content and performing an action. Now we end our journey on the best part: how to play the video!

The PlaybackOverlayActivity

In a Leanback-enabled project, playing video content is performed within the PlaybackOverlayActivity.

The UI of the PlaybackOverlayActivity is simple. We have a full-screen video player that is responsible for playing the content. On top of the video player is the PlaybackOverlayFragment, which is responsible for displaying all the media controls and managing the underlying content play back.

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December 16, 2016

Andy Haldeman

System X-Ray is useful for displaying system metrics on Fire TV, but did you know you can display information of your own choosing? Your app can send information to System X-Ray which will be displayed while your app is in the foreground. There are several ways this feature can be used, such as displaying static information, when a metric crosses different threshold boundaries, or when an event occurs. Let’s walk through some examples.

Examples

Static Information

If you test your app on multiple Fire TVs, you may have wished you could tell at a glance which Fire TV model you are testing. If you connect your Fire TVs to different WiFi networks, it would be helpful to see which network a Fire TV is currently connected to. System X-Ray can help you solve these problems. You can collect this information as your app starts up, and send it to System X-Ray.

private void updateMetrics(Context context, String buildModel, String ssid) {
    // Initialize Intent
    Intent intent = new Intent("com.amazon.ssm.METRICS_UPDATE");
    intent.putExtra("com.amazon.ssm.PACKAGENAME", context.getPackageName());

    // Add metrics
    intent.putExtra("Metrics1", buildModel);
    intent.putExtra("Metrics2", ssid);

    // Send
    context.sendBroadcast(intent);
}
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December 15, 2016

Anthony Valentino

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We aim to create the best 10-foot experience for our customers and developers by making content discovery and engagement easy and enjoyable. We are excited to announce that, starting today, an over-the-air (OTA) update will bring key changes to Fire TV that will make discovery and engagement even easier than before. Fire TV will now support notifications and have a brand new user interface. The updated Fire TV interface will present a cinematic experience, offering video trailers and content screenshots to help customers access the content they want more quickly – without the need to open and close multiple apps. With over 7000 apps, games and Alexa Skills, the new and improved on-device experience will make it much easier for customers to engage with the content they love and discover new apps and games. This OTA update is currently being delivered to Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice remote, the two most recent members of the Fire TV device family. Earlier models of Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks will also receive the update once available for those devices.

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December 09, 2016

Mario Viviani

Providing the Details of the App Content through the DetailsFragment

In Part 1 of this series we analyzed the TV Interaction Model, based on three steps: Browsing for Content, Reading Description and Details, and Playing the Content. The first action, Browsing for Content, as we have seen in Part 3 of this series, is achieved through the BrowseFragment.

Now let’s see how we can provide information about a specific piece of content, following the second step of the user journey, Reading Description and Details. To do this we’ll use one of the main components of a Leanback-enabled project: the DetailsFragment.

The DetailsFragment

The DetailsFragment is displayed when the user selects a specific piece of content on the BrowseFragment. It contains information like Title, Subtitle, Description, and is accompanied by a preview of the content. It also contains Actions that we can prompt our user to perform.

One of the most important classes used in the DetailsFragment is DetailsOverViewRow. This class defines which content is displayed in the fragment (as seen in the previous episode, DetailsOverViewRow takes advantage of a Presenter, called DescriptionPresenter) and, most importantly, is responsible for defining the Actions that we can prompt our user to perform.

private void setupDetailsOverviewRow() {
    
    final DetailsOverviewRow row 
			= new DetailsOverviewRow(mSelectedMovie);
    ...
    row.setImageDrawable(R.drawable.default_background));
    row.addAction(new Action(ACTION_WATCH_TRAILER, 
				“Watch Trailer”, “FREE”)));
    
    mAdapter.add(row);
}

In the highlighted row we demonstrate how easy it is to add a specific Action to the DetailsFragment. Just by coding addAction() we can add a new Action for the user to perform. In this case we added the unique ID ACTION_WATCH_TRAILER, for the Action and two Strings Watch Trailer”, “FREEto define the text field of the button.

Once we have added this line, the Action will be displayed on the DetailsFragment.

By using Actions we can easily add IAP items like “Rent the Content”, “Buy”, or “Subscribe”. It is just a matter of attaching a Listener to the Actions to perform consequent tasks.

When we deploy a Leanback-enabled project, the only Action that is defined by default is the “Watch Trailer” that prompts the trailer of the content to play.

Stay tuned for Part 6: How to Play Video Content using the PlaybackOverlayFragment

In the next and final episode of this series we’ll show how to play the content, leverage the Remote Control, and how to show the on-screen controls using the PlaybackOverlayFragment.

Stay tuned!

Mario Viviani (@mariuxtheone)

 

December 02, 2016

Mario Viviani

Editing the user interface of a Leanback-enabled TV app through Presenters

In the previous episode of this series we discussed how to create the main interface of our Leanback-enabled project through the BrowseFragment. Now let’s take a closer look into the Presenter class. The Presenter class allows us to define the look and feel of our Leanback-enabled app without editing the underlying data structure. 

The Presenter class

The Leanback template we created was built following a custom version of the common development pattern, Model-view-controller (MVC), in which the Presenter class acts as the View. The Presenters are passed to the ArrayObjectAdapter as arguments and define how the content of the Adapter should be displayed

The Leanback approach provides a variety of predefined Presenters:

  • CardPresenter defines singular content
  • ListRowPresenter defines how various content in a row should be displayed and arranged
  • DetailsDescriptionPresenter defines the UI of the DetailsFragment

Implementing the Presenters are quite similar: they all follow the ViewHolder pattern and are mostly composed by Custom Views with methods to set the fields of the views. Let’s take a close look at the customizing the CardPresenter as an example:

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November 29, 2016

Becky Young

Calling all Android Developers! With the streaming media device segment expected to reach 439.8 million by 2020*, now is the perfect time to bring your existing app or game to the living room. For developers, bringing your app to the 10-foot experience can help you increase your customer base by putting your app or game in front of millions of people who enjoy entertainment and may not have seen your content before.

Join Mario Viviani, Amazon Technology Evangelist and former GDE, for a FREE WEBINAR as he covers what’s needed to bring your media streaming app to the living room the easiest way possible.

We’ll show you how to create high performing Android Media Streaming apps in minutes using a new development tool Amazon has created: the Fire App Builder template for Android Apps for TV.

Join Mario on November 30th to learn:

  • How to easily connect a native Android app to video streaming services with just a few lines of code.
  • How to create high performing Android media streaming apps in minutes using the new App Builder Template for Android apps for TV.
  • How to create rich second screen experiences, using Amazon Fling to share media files from mobile apps to the big screen.

Reserve your spot today

Want to learn more? Register today to learn how make the right changes to increase the number of downloads your app is getting:

Register for 7:00am PDT (3:00pm GMT) on Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Register for 1:00pm PDT (9:00pm GMT) on Wednesday, November 30, 2016

*Global Streaming Media Device Market 2016-2020, Infiniti Research Limited

November 22, 2016

Jon Pulsipher

Mobile and living room devices today present a varied landscape for developers to consider. One aspect that is particularly meaningful for your customers is where your app installs itself. Some devices, like the current Fire tablets and Fire TV have external storage through memory card slots. Other devices, like Fire TV Stick or older Fire tablets have only their internal flash storage. Running out of storage when trying to install a new app can be very frustrating for people who want to use your app. This frustration is compounded for customers who have added a memory card with lots of empty space and still get an error message that the device is out of space when trying to install. That frustration can quickly find its way into negative reviews for your app.

Luckily, for most apps, Android provides a simple solution. By specifying the installLocation in the app manifest, you can provide your user community with the best experience possible for whatever device they own. This doesn't mean they'lll never run out of space, but it helps best manage the space they have.

 xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android" android:installLocation="auto" android:theme="@android:style/Theme.NoTitleBar" package="com.examplecompany.myapp" platformBuildVersionCode="23" platformBuildVersionName="6.0-2704002">  android:name="android.permission.INTERNET"/> ¦ ¦

installLocation can be specified as any of the following:

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October 21, 2016

Jon Pulsipher

Achievements unlocked!

Achievements and trophies are available on most platforms today and help build engagement with your players in a few ways. They capture “the moment” for the player when they accomplish something meaningful in the game. And over time, for some players (like the “Achievers” of the Bartle taxonomy) they form a scrapbook, or collection, of sorts that marks their experiences over a variety of games. Finally, they provide another storytelling tool that allows the game designer to guide the user through different approaches to playing the game and exploring the game world, perhaps in ways that might not be obvious—completing a level in a very short time, or only using a certain weapon. 

In our previous installment, we spent quite a bit of time working through setting up leaderboards for your game. Let’s build on that by adding GameCircle Achievements and give your players some goals to strive for.

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October 07, 2016

Jon Pulsipher

So far in our Building Retroids series we’ve looked at detecting and handling controllers and remotes for your Amazon Fire TV game, implementing in-app purchasing to drive revenue, and how to leverage social features such as leaderboards and achievements with GameCircle. Today we are going to look at that how to implement some basic Whispersync for Games features to make your GameMaker: Studio game more convenient and fun for your players.

To the cloud!

Whispersync allows you to easily store information in the cloud—such as player progress and settings. This is convenient for your game customers who play on multiple devices or who, for whatever reason, might uninstall your game and then install it again later.

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September 28, 2016

Peter Heinrich

Today Amazon announced the all-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, the most powerful streaming media stick available. The next-generation Fire TV Stick is 30 percent faster than the original best-selling version, offers access to more than 300,000 movies and TV episodes, and includes the Alexa Voice Remote—for only $39.99. Now sporting a quad-core processor, it has the horsepower to let your high-performance apps and games shine.

We’re also optimizing the on-device experience for customers, making it easier for them to discover new content. The all-new Fire TV Stick offers new and upgraded features including, personalized recommendations, notifications and Alexa powered voice search that allows customers to launch apps and games by name using their voice. Engage new customers and expand your reach to the living room with Fire TV Stick. Submit your app now to make sure it’s available when the new Fire TV Stick ships on October, 20th.

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September 23, 2016

Jon Pulsipher

Most mobile games today use some form of in-app purchasing (IAP) as part of their monetization strategy. Using Amazon IAP in GameMaker: Studio is not particularly difficult – once you know how to do it. But getting to that stage takes some careful study and experimentation. Hopefully, I can help short cut that process for you as I describe how I built it for Retroids.

Understanding in-app purchase basics

By now, I’m sure most of us are very familiar with IAP. There are three types of IAP items found in games—consumables, entitlements and subscriptions—with consumables and entitlements being far more common, so that is what we’ll cover here.

Consumable IAP items are things that are used, or consumed, during gameplay. Gold, gems, health, potions, etc. You might by a “Bag of 500 coins” and then use those coins to outfit your character, buy gas for a race car, etc.

Entitlement IAP items are things that are “unlocked” and continue to be available to the player forever after that point. Level packs or special items like a gun, sword or personalization items like a costume or theme pack are common entitlements.

One of the great things about IAP is that your game doesn’t have to deal with collecting the user payment information, authorizing and processing the payment, and all the other aspects of securely managing credit card information on your own. As you can imagine, users may be reluctant to enter their payment information separately in every game they are playing. You can rely on the Amazon Appstore to handle all those backend details and to provide a single place that customers already trust with their payment information.

On Amazon Appstore, as with other app stores, there are parts of the IAP that you configure on the server and parts that you code in the game. Each IAP item is referred to as a SKU (stock keeping unit, which is a legacy retail term for “an individual type of thing you are selling”). This includes the name of the SKU, the price and a few other pieces of metadata. The price that is configured in the Appstore is what the customer will be charged. Your game can’t change that at run time, but you can change it whenever you want—without requiring an app update—on the server.

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