Archive for November 2012

GoogleTv getting started

There were some GoogleTv guys ( Les Vogel and Paul Carff ) coming to town to hold a session on GoogleTv development. This event was facilitated by the local Android meetup group. Naturally I wanted to attend, I haven’t looked at GoogleTv before so why not jump on the oppertunity to get to know GoogleTv development a little. To my surprise I was handed a nice GoogleTv T-shirt and a Vizio GoogleTv device as I walked in the door, w00t !

Lets look at developing for the device, it’s recommended that you develop on Linux, as the Google Tv emulator uses KVM virtual machine to run in, most people use Eclipse as the IDE. Other than that setting up for coding for Google Tv is pretty much the same as coding for Android. First download and install the Android SDK, then download and install the Google Tv extension. Here is a little snag I ran into, when running the Android SDK Manager you will have to toggle the radio button to sort by repository rather than API level to find, “Google Inc. ( dl-ssl.google.com )” in the list. Once you see that you can find “Google Tv Addon” below, that’s the one you want, check the box and install the package. With that out of the way, next you need to setup a Android Virtual machine using the Android Virtual Device Manager. When you create your new GoogleTv AVD see if you can set the data partition to 1024 instead of 128, this will help with errors about the emulator not having enough space for installing your application. Otherwise you can also run it from command prompt, after you add the /tools and /platform-tools directories from the sdk to your path. Like this

$ emulator -avd googleTv -partition-size 1024

For some your keyboard might not work either in the Emulator, in order to activate that add Keyboard support in the harware properties of the AVD configuration and set it to “yes”. Now you should be good to go, you might have to start the Emulator from command prompt depending on your setup. Now in your Package Manger, you can look for KVM and install. You will also need computer that supports BIOS virtualization extensions, in order to check on that run

$ kvm-ok

you should see some message like “KVM acceleration can be used” if your good, otherwise you will get some kind of error.

That’s the Emulator at work

I wrote a sample app that plays different media over the internet, it turns out the emulator is not as capable of playing different formats as the regular Android emulator. Most of my streams played on the Android emulator but not on the GoogleTv emulator. It’s a good thing that they gave us GoogleTv devices when we attended the labs event at Google, now I can start coding and try it on the actual device which will work better than on the emulator. The Vizio GoogleTv is only $99 at the moment, if your going to develop for GoogleTv I would recommend getting the device to test on rather than using the emulator.

A lot of Android applications will work just fine on GoogleTv without any modifycation. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the GoogleTv display is Landscape only and the resolution is usually in the Tv format 1280 x 720 or 1920 x 1080. For example my Android BeerWidget runs fine on the GoogleTv without any modifycation.