Making Recommendations

Content recommendations appear as the first row of the TV launch screen after the first use of the device. This row is intended to help users quickly find content they enjoy. Contributing recommendations from your apps content catalog can help bring users back to your app.

Figure 1. An example of the recommendations row.

Create a Recommendations Service

Content recommendations are created with background processing. In order for your application to contribute to recommendations, you create a service that periodically adds listings from your app's catalog to the system list of recommendations.

The following code example illustrates how to extend the IntentService to create a recommendation service for your application.

public class RecommendationsService extends IntentService {
    private static final int MAX_RECOMMENDATIONS = 3;

    public RecommendationsService() {

    protected void onHandleIntent(Intent intent) {
        MovieDatabase database = MovieDatabase.instance(getApplicationContext());
        List recommendations = database.recommendations();

        int count = 0;

        try {
            for (Movie movie : recommendations) {
                // build the individual content recommendations
                buildRecommendation(getApplicationContext(), movie);

                if (++count >= MAX_RECOMMENDATIONS) {
        } catch (IOException e) {
            Log.e(TAG, "Unable to update recommendation", e);

In order for this class to be recognized and run as a service, you must register this service using your app manifest. The following code snippet illustrates how to add this class as a service:

<manifest ... >
  <application ... >

    <service android:name=".RecommendationsService"
             android:enabled="true" android:exported="true"/>

Build Recommendations

Once it starts running, your service must create recommendations and pass them to the Android framework. The framework receives the recommendations as Notification objects that use a specific style and are marked with a specific category.

The following code example demonstrates how to get an instance of the NotificationManager, build a recommendation, and post it to the manager:

public class RecommendationsService extends IntentService {


    public Notification buildRecommendation(Context context, Movie movie)
            throws IOException {

        if (mNotificationManager == null) {
            mNotificationManager = (NotificationManager)

        Bundle extras = new Bundle();
        if (mBackgroundUri != movie.getBackgroundUri()) {
            extras.putString(EXTRA_BACKGROUND_IMAGE_URL, movie.getBackgroundUri());

        // build the recommendation as a Notification object
        Notification notification = new NotificationCompat.BigPictureStyle(
                new NotificationCompat.Builder(context)

        // post the recommendation to the NotificationManager
        mNotificationManager.notify(movie.getId(), notification);
        mNotificationManager = null;
        return notification;

    private PendingIntent buildPendingIntent(long id) {
        Intent detailsIntent = new Intent(this, DetailsActivity.class);
        detailsIntent.putExtra("id", id);

        TaskStackBuilder stackBuilder = TaskStackBuilder.create(this);
        // Ensure each PendingIntent is unique

        PendingIntent intent = stackBuilder.getPendingIntent(
                0, PendingIntent.FLAG_UPDATE_CURRENT);
        return intent;

Run Recommendations Service

Your app's recommendation service must run periodically in order to create current recommendations. In order to run your service, you should create a class that runs a timer and invokes it at regular intervals. The following code example extends the BroadcastReceiver class to start periodic execution of a recommendation service every 12 hours:

public class BootupReceiver extends BroadcastReceiver {
    private static final String TAG = "BootupActivity";

    private static final long INITIAL_DELAY = 5000;

    public void onReceive(Context context, Intent intent) {
        if (intent.getAction().endsWith(Intent.ACTION_BOOT_COMPLETED)) {

    private void scheduleRecommendationUpdate(Context context) {
        AlarmManager alarmManager = (AlarmManager)context.getSystemService(
        Intent recommendationIntent = new Intent(context,
        PendingIntent alarmIntent = PendingIntent.getService(context, 0,
                recommendationIntent, 0);


In order for the BroadcastReceiver class to execute after a TV device starts up, you must register this class in your app manifest and attach an intent filter in order for the device boot process to complete. This sample code demonstrates how to add this configuration to the manifest:

<manifest ... >
  <application ... >
    <receiver android:name=".BootupReceiver" android:enabled="true"
        <action android:name="android.intent.action.BOOT_COMPLETED"/>

Important: Receiving a boot completed notification requires that your app request the RECEIVE_BOOT_COMPLETED permission. For more information, see ACTION_BOOT_COMPLETED.