Critical issues presentations/Developing a smart-TV app for Wikimedia Commons

From Wikimania 2016 • Esino Lario, Italy
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Submission no. 189
Title of the submission

Developing a smart-TV app for Wikimedia Commons

Author of the submission
  • Olaf Janssen
Country of origin



Research, Technical

  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Smart-TV
  • Lean back media
  • Open source software development
  • RaspberryPi

Wikimedia Commons can be viewed on most regular devices, such as laptops, tablets and smartphones. In this presentation targeted at developers and users of Commons, I will explain why and how I have been experimenting with building an app to make Wikimedia Commons available on smart-TVs and open source media center platforms.

To make things manifest, I will show the results of my hands-on work with the very popular open Kodi ( - media center software) and RaspberryPi platforms.

By offering Wikimedia Commons via these "lean-back" channels I hope to expand the rearch and impact of free media.

The reasons I started working on this app are the following observations I made over the last year:

In the ever increasing battle for the attention of the consumer many parties in the online media landscape (including Wikimedia) have successfully expanded their services from browser centered models (ie. the website-laptop-desktop paradigm) to also include the mobile world (ie. the tablet-smartphone-apps paradigm). See the Wikimedia Commons apps for iPhone and Android.

Despite this successful expansion, a shift I see many media parties struggling with is the further extension of their services into the realm of smart-TVs and media centers. These "lean-back" devices are typically associated with big (TV) screens in collective settings ("the family watching TV"), inviting for longer spans of attention compared to the "lean-forward" media consumption style. The latter is typically characterized by individual users sitting behind laptops having shorter spans of attention for the websites they interact with.

I believe Wikimedia Commons can reach new and attentive audiences by developing native apps for the uncharted lean-back territories of smart-TV and media center. Besides demonstrating a real-life app, I would like to share and discuss these ideas in this session.


Not accepted