TV Apps checklist

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Users enjoy the TV app experience when it is consistent, logical, and predictable. They should be able to navigate within your app and throughout Android TV without getting lost or having to "reset" the UI and start over. Users appreciate clear, colorful, and functional interfaces that make the experience magical. With these ideas in mind, you can create an app that fits nicely in Android TV and performs as users expect.

This checklist covers the main aspects of development for both apps and games and provides guidelines to ensure that your app provides the best possible experience. Additional considerations for games only are covered in the Games section.

For criteria that qualify an Android TV app on Google Play, see TV app quality.

TV Form Factor Support

These checklist items apply to Games and Apps.

User Interface Design

These checklist items apply to Games and Apps.

Search and Content Discovery

These checklist items apply to Games and Apps.

  • Provide search results from your app in the Android TV global search box.
  • Provide TV-specific data fields for search.
  • Make sure your app presents discovered content in a details screen that lets the user start watching the content immediately.

TV home screen

These checklist items apply to the layout and content of the home screen.

Channels

  • Each channel must have a meaningful name that represents the channel's content. Do not use your app's name as a channel name.
  • The channel name must not change unless there is some interaction with the user.
  • Each channel must have an associated icon. The icon does not need to be your app's exact icon; it could be a branded representation of the content in the channel.
  • Each channel must be unique and must not mimic the functionality of the Play Next row. For example, a channel that lets users continue watching where they left off in a video is not a valid use for a channel.

Content in Channels

  • Each program in a channel must have a single piece of content. A program must not contain a collection of videos.
  • A program must not be a promotional message or an ad.
  • A program must have a suitable description and its metadata must be mapped correctly. For example, the content rating must not appear where the title is expected.
  • Preview images representing the content must be be not cropped or stretched. They must fit one of the available aspect ratios.
  • A program must start playing as soon as the user selects it.

Play Next

  • Do not add content to the Play Next row unless the user has been interacting with it some way. For example, you can add the next episode in a series that the user is currently watching, but you must not add a related (but different) series when the user completes the current series.
  • The Play Next content must be traditional TV shows, movies, or events. Do not add clips to the Play Next row.

Playback apps

These checklist items apply to apps that perform media playback.

Games

These checklist items apply to Games.

  • Your game must appear in the games section of the home screen. Set the isGame flag in the manifest.
  • Make sure game controller support does not depend upon the Start, Select, or Menu buttons (not all controllers have these).
  • Use a generic gamepad graphic (without specific controller branding) to show game button mappings.
  • Check for both ethernet and WiFi connectivity.
  • Provide users with a clean way to exit your app.

Distribute to Android TV

Opt-in to Android TV and publish

After you build your release-ready app and test to ensure that it meets all of the Android TV app quality criteria, upload it to the Play Console. Update your store listing with Android TV screenshots and set distribution options as needed. If you aren't familiar with how to prepare for launch on Google Play, see the Launch Checklist.

Before you publish to users, you must opt-in to Android TV from the Advanced Settings section of the Play Console. Opt-in means that you want your app to be made discoverable to Android TV users through Google Play, and that your app meets the criteria. Note that you must upload at least one Android TV screenshot before opting in for Android TV app quality review. You also need to mention Android TV in your app's store listing for your app to pass the review process.

After you opt-in and save changes, you can publish your app as usual. Google Play then submits your app for review against the criteria and notifies you of the result. To view the appoval status of your app, see Track your review and approval.

If your app meets the guidelines, Google Play makes it discoverable to Android TV users. Your app is also eligible for higher-visibility featuring in app collections and promotions.

Opt-in to Android TV in the Play Console by doing the following:

  1. Enable the Android TV release type, as described in the following steps:
    1. In the All Applications page, click the app you want to opt-in.
    2. Under Setup, enter the Advanced Settings page.
    3. In the Release Types tab, click Add Release Type.
    4. Select Android TV.
  2. Follow the instructions for opting into Android TV:
    1. Mention Android TV in the description of your app's store listing.
    2. Add Android TV screenshots to the app's store listing that comply with the screenshot requirements.
    3. Add an Android TV banner graphic to the app's store listing.
    4. Upload Android app bundle or APK files.
    5. Opt-in to Android TV and agree to the review policy.
  3. Click Start rollout.

Track your review and approval

If your app meets the technical and quality criteria for Android TV, as described above, your app will be made discoverable for users on Android TV devices. If your app doesn't meet the criteria, you'll receive a notification email sent to your developer account address with a summary of the areas that you need to address. When you've made the necessary adjustments, you can upload a new version of your app for review.

At any time, you can check the review and approval status of your app in the Play Console, under Android TV in the app's Pricing and Distribution page.

There are three approval states:

  • Pending — Your app was sent for review and the review is not yet complete.
  • Approved — Your app was reviewed and approved. The app will be made discoverable to Android TV users.
  • Not approved — Your app was reviewed and not approved. Check the notification email for information about why the app was not approved. You can address any issues and opt-in and publish again to initiate another review.

To understand how your apps are evaluated, please see the Android TV app quality guidelines.