Thinking of ways for your video content monetization, developing TV apps is the right option to go for. The variety of OTT TV platforms opens up immense opportunities for expanding your audience, revenue, and prospects. Sharing your content via several over-the-top streaming services multiplies the chances of your business for a major takeoff. Let’s see what Apple TV app development has to offer.

Apple TV at the Global OTT Market

Among dozens of OTT service vendors, Apple TV takes its place among the top-10 streaming platforms. At the beginning of 2022, Apple enjoyed a 5.6% market share delivering its content to 50+ million subscribers all over the globe. The platform is projected to maintain slow but steady growth, increasing its audience and providing top-notch experience for Apple TV app developers.

tvOS Operating System Overview

Developed on the basis of iOS by Apple Inc., tvOS was launched as a successor of the Apple TV Software operating system for the 4th generation of Apple TVs. tvOS despite being a “close relative” to iOS, has a number of distinctive features among which are the support of multiuser experience and unique custom tvOS frameworks. However, the differences between the OSs still allow developers to use the code written for iOS to be used for creating tvOS applications.

tvOS Operating System

Apple TV


The operating system employs HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) technology as its main streaming protocol format that ensures dynamic video delivery by adjusting content playback to the present network state. tvOS supports FairPlay Streaming DRM system to deliver securely protected video content.


Apple TV supports several resolutions for high-quality content streaming. The OS requires using the following video formats:

  • HEVC SDR up to 1080p, 30 fps, Main/Main 10 profile
  • H.264 video up to 1080p, 60 fps, High or Main Profile level 4.2 or lower
  • H.264 Baseline Profile level 3.0 or lower
  • MPEG-4 video up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 fps

To provide unmatched sound experience, tvOS fits with:

  • HE-AAC
  • AAC
  • protected AAC
  • MP3
  • MP3 VBR
  • Apple Lossless
  • FLAC
  • AIFF
  • WAV
  • AC-3
  • E-AC-3

As for image and photo resolutions, the operating system is compatible with HEIF, JPEG, GIF, and TIFF formats.

Supported Devices

Apple TV apps can be downloaded on any of Apple devices including iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, and Apple TV. Apart from these, the apps built on tvOS can be played on other popular streaming platforms, on the majority of smart TVs, gaming consoles, and AirPlay‑enabled devices. The Apple TV outreach is truly unlimited.

Apple TV Gaming Experience

The big screen is not only for movies. Apple TV providers unmatched immersive gaming entertainment supporting Picture in Picture, multiuser mode, and game controllers. Developing apps on tvOS you can explore the world of games and extend your business scope in the future. The variety of frameworks and tools used within the OS opens up a whole new level of tvOS app development.

How we can help

Looking for ways of diversifying your audience’s lean-back experience? Oxagile is ready to share its Apple TV app development expertise to make the most out of your project.

Apple TV App Development Takeaways

Although tvOS somewhat resembles iOS, it is a separate operating system with its own technical features and peculiarities that have to be taken into consideration if you decide to develop your TV app within tvOS ecosystem.

Coding Languages, SDKs, and APIs

To create Apple TV apps, developers have to be familiar with the most popular programming languages such as Objective-C, Swift, and JavaScript. The framework relies on JavaScript APIs to build top-notch quality video content streaming applications. As for SDK tools, tvOS developers leverage Metal, UIKit, Game Center, CloudKit, and a variety of other instruments for delivering solid and vibrant viewing experience.


Great minimalistic and intuitive design has always been the hallmark of Apple Inc. The user interface design concept centers around interactivity, readability, graphics, and clarity, being of the same importance for all Apple devices. The comprehensive Apple Human Interface Guidelines contain the description of all the essential pillars for building TV apps with great UI.

Aiming to provide the best lean-back experiences for subscribers all over the world, tvOS places much focus on big screen navigation convenience. To provide seamless content management, Apple has introduced Siri Remote, decreasing the number of buttons to a necessary minimum of 6 and enabling onscreen voice search. In those countries where Siri Remotes are not available, Apple TVs are also controlled by minimalistic 6-button remotes.

Siri Remote

Apple TV with Siri Remote

tvOS App Testing with TestFlight

When the app is ready, testing struggle begins. To improve developer experience, Apple has introduced TestFlight app. The tool makes it easy and convenient to beta test tvOS applications by inviting up to 100 internal testers and 10,000 external ones by simply sharing a link to gather valuable insights and provide a high-quality final product.

tvOS App Submission

Before being presented to the end-user in the App Store, all Apple apps undergo a strict process of quality verification based on revisioning technical, UI/UX, and content parameters. To meet the submission requirements and get Apple certification, make sure to:

  • Build your Apple TV app with Xcode 13 to comply with iOS frameworks and libraries.
  • Optimize for tvOS 15 to enable customers to use the latest version updates and enjoy your content to the maximum extent.
  • Beta test your app with Testflight.
  • Submit app name, icon, description, set of keywords up to 100 characters, and add up to 10 screenshots uncovering the essence of the app.
  • Create app previews in form of short 30 seconds-long illustrative videos.
  • Add app privacy information.
  • Use the recommended channels for app promotion.

Wrapping Up

The expansion of your video content streaming business relies on the quality and extent of the operating system you decide to build TV apps on. Create applications on tvOS to get access to an innovative TV platform that leverages cutting-edge technologies, concepts, and ideas to treat audiences with better lean-back experience.