Getting Your Site Ready for TV

    October 21, 2010
    Chris Crum

If you’re not already, it’s time to start thinking about optimizing your site for televisions. With more connected devices coming out and gaining popularity (not to mention people simply hooking their computers up to their TVs), you’re going to want to have a site that is presentable on large TV screens, as well as small ones. 

Now that Google’s own Google TV is here, the company is talking more about TV optimization itself. "Because Google TV has a fully functioning web browser built in, users can easily visit your site from their TV," says Google Developer Programs Tech Lead Maile Ohye. "Current sites should already work, but you may want to provide your users with an enhanced TV experience — what’s called the ’10-foot UI’ (user interface). They’ll be several feet away from the screen, not several inches away, and rather than a mouse on their desktop, they’ll have a remote with a keyboard and a pointing device."

Ohye says that text should be large enough to be viewable from the sofa-to-TV distance, site navigation should be able to be performed through button arrows on the remote, selectable elements should provide a visual queue when selected (it should be obvious what sections are highlighted), etc. 

There is an entire Google TV site optimization guide here and a checklist here. I would get familiar with these. Google actually has a gallery of sites that are optimized for TV, though it’s not very big, and very video-based. 

Google says you can get a general idea of what your site looks like on TV by using a large monitor, making the window size 1920 X 1080, visiting your site in a browser at full screen, zooming the browser to 1.5X the normal size, moving back, and looking at it. 

It’s also worth noting that people using Google TV are required to use a Google account, as Danny Sullivan points out in his review of the new Sony Google TV-ready Blu-Ray Player. Interestingly, it also asks users if they want to send usage stats to Google (this is aggregate data used for detecting bugs, according to the company, which also says it doesn’t collect any viewing history. According to Sullivan, Google still has a lot of work to do with search on Google TV.

Is your site ready for TV? 


Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.