Jonathan Tweed

say hello to our new listings widgets

I’d like to briefly introduce you all to something that we’ve been working on over the last few months that we are very excited about: embeddable widgets for tv listings.

These are part of a wider MetaBroadcast widget platform that we are building out, aimed at broadcasters, newspapers and other publishers who wish to easily offer tv listings and other social features around tv programmes on their websites and in their mobile apps.

sounds good, tell me more

We’ve built three widgets so far:

  • an EPG grid, with full support for all UK and Ireland tv platforms and major VOD services
  • a carousel of today’s top tv highlights, as picked by Press Association
  • a broadcast-weighted programme search that ties into the grid

All three widgets are fully responsive and can work within any size of container, all the way from a portrait phone to a full edge-to-edge desktop window. Listings data and tv highlights are provided by our talented editorial partner Press Association.

how they work

The widgets are embeddable JavaScript that can be easily embedded onto any site with no custom development work or complex integration required. The widgets can also be configured and skinned to an individual client’s needs and this can be either be done by you or we can look after that too.

This means that as a site or application owner, it’s possible to add rich tv listings to your sites and mobile apps with a single, simple embed while we look after:

  • building complex controls and epg grids
  • all the infrastructure, caching and CDNs to support high-traffic sites
  • integrating and aggregating all the data, in Atlas and Voila

We believe our new widgets are both cost effective and best of breed. We know tv, it’s what we do, and we can build for everyone.

what do they look like?

Well, really that’s up to you! The widgets are all skinnable, so it’s intended that they are styled for each client to fit into an existing or new site, or indeed mobile app. Of course, we have a plain vanilla version for development, which full screen on desktop currently looks like this:

web

Here’s the vanilla version on a phone and a tablet:

iphoneipad

As you can see, things resize and reflow automatically based on the space available. As for what it looks like when fully skinned to look like an existing site, well you’ll have to imagine that for now, but you’ll have to believe me when I say we have a couple of integrations in progress that look very swish indeed.

what the future holds

We’re currently working with a number of major household names as the launch partners for the initial widgets. They are already integrating the search, grid and tv picks into upcoming sites and services that will launch early this year, which is very exciting.

As we can’t share any of that just yet, Luke and Adam are going to start us off by writing some more technical posts about the complex challenges faced when building EPGs and widgets for use on 3rd party sites. We’ll also look at how we optimised the widgets for serving to millions of users, as well as the tricks that allow us manage and version client integrations.

If you would like to work with us to integrate tv listings on your site or in a mobile app, please do get in touch for a demo. We hope to be able to share more publicly soon.

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