AIR for TV applications and the “safe viewing area” (aka “title safe area”)

Here’s another design consideration for AIR for TV applications.  (This and other tips will be incorporated soon into Adobe online documentation).

When designing your user interface for an AIR for TV app, be sure to consider the safe viewing area. The safe viewing area on a TV is the area of the screen that the end-user can actually see. This area is also known as the title safe area. Overscan is the portion of the actual image area that falls outside the safe viewing area. The safe viewing area can vary depending on the device. This concept originated with analog televisions in which the television’s physical design sometimes hid the edges of the displayed image. However, it still often applies today.

Adobe recommends an inset of 7.5% on each edge of the screen. For example, on a TV with a screen resolution of 1080p, a full-screen AIR application has a Stage.stageWidth of 1920 and Stage.stageHeight of 1080. The following figure shows the safe viewing area of the stage using 7.5%:

I’ll leave it to you to do the math for 7.5% for other screen resolutions such as 540p and 720p (stage dimensions of 960 x 540 and 1280 x 720, respectively).

Because of the safe viewing area, design your full-screen AIR for TV application as follows:

  • Use the entire stage dimensions for backgrounds, such as background images or background colors.
  • Use only the safe viewing area for critical application elements such as text, graphics, video, and user interface items such as buttons.

Depending on the device on which your application runs, the safe viewing area sometimes doesn’t apply. But to be sure your critical application elements are never hidden, always design to accommodate the safe viewing area.