Thursday, February 16, 2012

TV apps using jQuery Mobile

The idiot box finally graduates to an internet box!

Internet on TV is catching on quite fast. I've been reading reports that predict a billion(s) dollar market that will open up for TV apps. Ah the hype .. these things are always in billions. But anyways, considering the number of people who have a TV and the number who watch it (almost everyone?), I guess this could be quite realistic.

Many advantages I guess, lesser strain on the eyes, no burnt laps and no lost fertility with laptops on top of laps. I'm online 100% of the time. Definitely I stand to gain. My 6 year old kid too. I'd rather have him play Angry birds and all those HD games on TV compared to him holding my super heated mobile and straining his eyes watching the small screen.

So now that I've made my point beyond all doubt, it is agreed that TV apps is the next big thing!
So where do I start? I do not have an Internet TV yet! Not to despair, one could install the recently launched Opera TV Emulator and have the next best thing.

The steps are detailed here and are very easy to follow. You have to get the Virtual Box and install it. Then get the Opera TV Emulator, unzip it and you are ready to go. On launching the emulator virtual machine, the Opera TV browser comes up and you will also be given a link to install the H.264 codec, this is to play the MP4 videos.

You can now directly start browsing. Now lets get bolder. How about our first TV app. Fairly simple I would say.

Just point the TV browser to your jQuery Mobile app and bingo! It just works. Isn't that amazing! You code once in jQuery Mobile and the code runs on a wide variety of mobile devices, tablets, desktops and now even on TV! This is true cross platform development. There are other emulators, but from first looks, I feel Opera TV emulator is the simplest to install and use.

Though not officially supported by jQuery Mobile, my few basic apps seemed to work fine. I even tried audio and video and they work fine. The full list of current jQuery Mobile supported browsers is available here. No mention of any TV browsers. TV browsers need to be tested in detail with jQuery Mobile. But I find this totally exciting ! lists the current state of affairs in the TV browser world when it comes to HTML5 support. It sure is promising. The coming days will see these scores improve and probably match or exceed the desktop browser scores. Who wants those old computers anyways. Its the era of the mobiles and the tablets. When I pointed the Opera TV browser to, the score was 330+6 bonus points. This score is among the top 3 after Chrome and Firefox.

Finally, one conclusion from all this - it sure is high time I replace my old TV with an Internet TV. Suggestions ?


  1. As you say - TV apps are surely the next big thing... huge unexplored market :)

  2. As I said earlier, Mobile and TV are the biggest ones especially the Indian market the way things are shaping up

  3. I have been really glad after reading this blog as the knowledge which has been given via this blog is simply tremendous. I would congratulate and appreciate the blogger for doing this much hard work.

  4. Good information for all app developers, this article is also sharing my friends who working at mobile apps development company. So they can also start TV based apps using jquery. Thanks for sharing.

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