Smart TVs and WURFL

Smart TVs and WURFL

 

Someone just pinged me about Twitter traffic coming from the Breaking Development conference in Orlando. Jason Grigsby delivered a great presentation about Smart TVs, the next big wave and the one that will make the life of RWDoers even more exciting (yes, it’s irony):

http://speakerdeck.com/u/grigs/p/the-immobile-web

Among other things, Jason is complaining that Smart TVs are coming, but how to detect them in the jungle of UA strings is left as a not-so-simple exercize for the poor developer.

This made me jump on my chair. So much time and effort spent in supporting SmartTVs in WURFL API 1.4 and nobody noticed.

Fair enough. I’ll blog about it.

WURFL API 1.4 goes out of its way to detect a Smart TV and make sure that it is not confused with your regular desktop web browser. For this reason, the is_smarttv capability was introduced already several months ago.

If you don’t believe me, please try for yourself in the form below.

Note: As a little but important aside, the UA string reported by Jason in his presentation is not to be found in the wild (and we looked at a lot of logs), but we found something similar, so Jason’s UA string was probably truncated:

Mozilla/5.0 (DirectFB; U; Linux 35230; en) AppleWebKit/531.2+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Safari/531.2+ LG Browser/4.1.4(+3D+SCREEN+TUNER;
LGE; 42LW5700-SA; 04.02.28; 0x00000001;); LG NetCast.TV-2011

Mozilla/5.0 (DirectFB; U; Linux 35230; en) AppleWebKit/531.2+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Safari/531.2+ LG Browser/4.1.4(+mouse+3D+SCREEN+TUNER;
LGE; 47LW5600-UA; 04.02.28; 0x00000001;); LG NetCast.TV-2011

Mozilla/5.0 (DirectFB; U; Linux mips; en) AppleWebKit/531.2+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Safari/531.2+ LG Browser/4.0.10(+SCREEN+TUNER;
LGE; 42LE5500-SA; 04.02.02; 0x00000001;); LG NetCast.TV-2010

    

Of course, ScientiaMobile is committed to continue detection of SmartTVs and keep track of their evolution in this space.

Luca
CTO @ScientiaMobile

PS: While I am here, let me also mention this. There were a couple of articles recently about how large companies (notably, Google and Facebook) use server-side detection to optimize their mobile User-Experience.

The articles have the merit of bringing some clarity in the middle of the HTML5/client-side detection hysteria: server-side detection is the way to a great mobile UX. Full Stop.

Those are great WURFL success stories. We take great pride in the fact that WURFL is powering those sites.

 

  • Nathan

    The SmartTV detection was certainly helpful for me.