Apple TV App: Custom Logic Behavior That Changes Focus Engine Towards Touch Screen

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Case study

Erminesoft team lives and breathes Apple, so we were excited to start working on the new project for one of our customers Application for Apple TV. To make a long story short, Apple TV brings Apple’s magic to TV world. Even though Siri remote has touch interface, it does not replicate the full options available with regular iOS touch screen like quick flipping and multiple objects manipulation. The goal was to enhance user experience with Apple TV multimedia via adding some tweaks to the plate.

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Users get used to touchscreen on iOS devise. On Apple TV, due to a focus engine, a remote navigates to a specific item on screen and then we press a button on the remote to choose the item. The item on the screen, for example, icon or button or view from the movie, becomes focused as the user navigates through the items on the screen. The user can switch from one to another one by moving focus to other views, but eventually it differs in terms of user feel, because each time we need to switch through different UI items on screen to trigger a focus update.
Apple has released new tvOS for Apple TV (4th generation) recently and from now it’s possible to release apps and games on the big TV screen using the tvOS SDK.
Goal: to deliver Application based on tvOS, to enhance options available for UI objects manipulation for TV media channel from remote. Erminesoft iOS team lead achieved positive result using the following libraries: Reactive Cocoa, AFNetworking, SDWEBImage libraries, that was not available under tvOS initially. CocoaPods is a regular package manager /utility that is used for adding libraries to the project.
For Reactive Cocoa we decided to use another utility: Carthage, which has a wider range of options.
RESULTS: Under application, the user has an option to see all movies screen-by-screen, under 9 tiles view set displayed, and can manipulate UI elements via remote control almost like on the iOS device, just using touch panel from remote instead.
Application uses its own static linked framework and allows it to manipulate with UI elements using both remote and console for flipping pages, changing distances between UI elements, quick paging, quick forward, quick switching from one view to another one, and the look and feel is quite similar to what we have on iOS.

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