2nd July 2019 by Tim Cole
We've been wanting to bring Wotja to TV for a long time. That's because the TV is at the center of the home, is always on (except when in standby!) and is likely hooked up to some good speakers. Those factors all go toward making it the perfect device for generating relaxing ambient generative music for a 'lean back' experience.
Whether you use it for relaxation, meditation, sleep or as a room background is up to you!
There are a few reasons we didn't get around to it earlier, the main one of course being time. The last couple of years we have been maxxed out consolidating all our past apps into Wotja and then improving and further extending it.
Although we also chose to develop Wotja for four OS platforms - iOS, macOS, Windows and Android - full Android support only came last year.
We had always felt the market opportunity for Wotja on TVs was still pretty small compared to phones and tablets. This was largely because Wotja is a real-time generative music and sound generation system and as such needs a fairly powerful device to run on.
Apple TVs with tvOS had been powerful enough for a while, but that was still a fairly small market.
What really changed it for us was that mass market low cost Android "TV Sticks" (such as Fire TV) started to become powerful enough to run Wotja. We found it compelling to think that that for $40 or so you can get a device that be used to generate beautiful live generative music. And via the Amazon Appstore we had a route to bring an Android app to market!
Android TV is a bit of an experiment for us as Google Play now requires apps to be built with Android 8+ and there will be few TVs / TV sticks that support that. However, the Amazon Appstore lets us build for Android 6+ so you might well want to get and try that version....
A key design goal for our TV app was that it had to be as simple as possible to use, i.e. a "player" app that you could just turn on and it would play. That in turn meant we had to create a new custom UI for it, which took time.
We also wanted it to be something that would generate a continuous stream of freshly generated mixes that you could also have some control over, i.e. not just a player of pre-made generative mixes in an album (even though that would still be nice so we might do that one day).
With the TV app you just need to launch it and it will start playing. Simply change the Scheme to change what is created!
Being a simple player, and as language support came in Wotja 19, it was obvious we needed to do the same for the Wotja app for TV.
Wotja Go 19 on tvOS (English): Generative Music Player (30s)
Wotja Go 19 on tvOS (Chinese): Generative Music Player (30s)
Wotja Go 19 on tvOS (Japanese): Generative Music Player (30s)
As a "player" app we decided it would fit best with our other existing paid-for player app, namely Wotja Go 19. This was already available for both iOS and Android.
We configured it so that whether you got the app for mobile/tablet or for TV (i.e. iOS version in the iOS App Store or tvOS version in the Apple TV App Store) you would get the other variant - in other words get one and you get both!
We also decided that it was a good time to increase the Wotja Go 19 Music Play Time Timeout to 8 hours (up from 1 hour). All that means is that the app will auto-stop after 8 hours (or earlier if you have turned on the sleep timer); simply press play to start it again.
We are a great believer in "try before you buy" and so have always like to make available a free version of our apps. After a good deal of headscratching we found a way to make/include the "Wotja 19 LE" (Lite Edition) TV app in our free Wotja 19 Android app (via Amazon and Google Play).
Unfortunately there was no easy way to do this on iOS. We do hope to be able to look at that, but probably next year now.
We plan to re-look at our product range for V20, and it may well be at that point that there is a different way to get the V20 Wotja app for TV. However, for now, why not check out our Wotja apps for TV - they are low cost, easy to use and sound great!
If you have any feedback or suggestions, please do get in touch via our Contact Form.
Tim and Pete