News by Andrew Kameka on Thursday April 17, 2014.
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My living room currently has three different options for streaming web content to the big screen, and LG today announced that it wants to be able to control all of the major options with a Connect SDK that developers can use to control multiple platforms. There's currently a brutal competition for eyeballs in the living room, but Connect aims to piggyback on all the competitors rather than try to defeat them. LG is not trying to create a new standard that tries to compete with the likes of Chromecast, Roku, and others. Instead, the company has built an open-source set of developer tools that can interact with any of those systems.
LG has demonstrated how Connect works to standardize actions or events. Launching YouTube is an action that various streaming solutions recognize, but the way that they do it might differ. Connect can let developers build an app and then have that action picked up by a multitude of platforms. The same can be done for things like raising the volume or opening a photo or video. It uses the API calls of different platforms and makes the app know which API to use without the developer having to choose which streaming app to support or go through the pain of individually making them compatible.
Connect makes it so developers don't have to learn the differences between Chromecast, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, webOS TV, and LG Smart TV's. You learn the Connect SDK and build for that, which means your app will be seen by everyone who uses those systems. It's a clever approach that should provide greater incentives for developers to support apps that connect mobile devices to televisions and the Internet.
As GigaOm notes, Plex already has built apps specifically for Roku, Fire TV, and Chromecast. It uses Connect to support LG's new webOS TV's. Had Plex started from scratch, it might have selected Connect as the way to best support all those platforms. It's not a one-stop shop because Apple Airplay and Miracast are notably missing from the equation, but this is just a starting point. LG hopes to make its open-source Connect SDK appealing enough for more developers to embrace and rapidly grow the system.Gigaom
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.