Android TV was first announced as a smart TV platform in 2014, and we have come a long way since then. In cases where Android TV manufacturers originally chose Android TV to add the Android TV operating system to their star TVs, we now see several Android TV boxes, allowing you to convert any TV with an HDMI port into an Android TV. Take for example the Mi Box. This fresh look, $ 69 Android TV box, packs absolutely a hit. It comes with a quad-core processor with clock of 2 GHz, 2 GB of RAM and 8 GB in internal flash storage. The Mi Box is also capable of transmitting 4K HDR video through its HDMI 2.0b port. Things like these have made Android TV much more accessible, and affordable, to many more people. Therefore, if you have purchased an Android TV box or if you are using an Android TV, Here are the 15 best Android TV applications that you should use:
HopWatch for Reddit is an Android TV application that will allow you to keep up to date with the latest images, GIFs and videos, from the comfort of your sofa, and with the luxury of watching them on your TV. The application covers the “hot” subprocesses of the “images” and “subreddits” of videos, as well as the “movies” subreddit.
It also comes with a built-in search function, which will allow you to easily search for videos, images and GIF on the first page of the Internet. The application is designed specifically with Android TV in mind and works very well.
Android TVs do not come with a web browser installed, which is understandable, but still quite disappointing. However, if you want a web browser on your Android TV, you can easily install a browser like Google Chrome. With Google Chrome installed, you can surf the Internet and do much more on your Android TV.
Since we are installing a fully developed Android application, it will have all the functions that the Google Chrome application has on an Android phone. However, Google Chrome is not available on Android TV Play Store, which means you will have to upload it. You can read our article about sideloading applications on Android TVs to find out how you can do it.
Android TV boxes like the Mi Box come packed with a plethora of applications, from streaming music and video applications to news applications. However, if those news applications do not meet your needs, you should review Haystack. Haystack is a news application that you can use to stay updated on a variety of topics, from Science and Technology, Current Politics and Events, to Games and Movie Trailers.
The news articles are presented in a nice fluid interface, which is perfect for an android TV setup. In addition, the way in which things are exposed is exceptionally well thought out. Haystack brings curated news from a number of sources, such as AP, BBC News, CBS, and many more. In addition, there is a handy “weather panel” at the bottom of the window to keep it updated with time at your location.
Kodi is perhaps one of the most powerful media center apps out there. The application can be used to manage all your media in a central location, which can even be configured to access remotely. Along with that, Kodi’s skills can be enhanced with a series of Kodi add-ons that add a lot of energy to the application.
You should definitely use Kodi on your Android TV if you have a large amount of media stored on your Android TV, and you are looking for a way to quickly organize everything, with an appropriate hierarchy. Any extra media that you can add to your device after you have configured Kodi, it will automatically be classified into the appropriate categories and will be organized in the locations you have decided. Kodi’s add-ons also help you support almost any audio and video format that you can launch, which makes it a very versatile solution to consume media on your Android TV.
A file manager application is one of the most important things on any device. After all, how else will you transfer files between your Android TV and your laptop, mobile, etc.? Also, how will you manage stored files, screenshots and more on your Android TV? Well, that’s where the ES File Explorer comes in.
ES File Explorer is a feature-rich application that can perform a large number of functions on your Android TV. You can manage all your files (obviously), but you can also connect to a Cloud unit service, create an FTP or SFTP session with your computer to transfer files and more.
Having a VPN application never hurts. It helps keep you anonymous while browsing the Internet, and can be used to bypass the geographic restrictions that apply to many online content. Unless you want pirates, Tunnelbear is one of the best VPN applications you can use on your Android TV. Even though the application is not yet optimized for Android TV, it works perfectly well, and it actually looks pretty good.
Tunnelbear gives you 500 MB of free data every month, and you can buy one of your paid subscriptions to increase this limit. For basic navigation, however, 500 MB will probably be enough. Note that Tunnelbear will not allow you to download items that use P2P protocols, for security and legal reasons. There are a lot of other VPN applications for Android that you can use, too, should Tunnelbear not meet your expectations.
When it comes to streaming music, Spotify is, without a doubt, the best way to go. With the Spotify application on your Android TV, you can stream music directly through your Android TV. The best part about using Spotify, is that it has a free level service, too. However, with the paid subscription, you get unlimited track skipping and there are no ads between songs.
In Android TV boxes like the Mi Box, Spotify comes pre-installed, and you just have to log in with your Spotify account to start streaming music.
Netflix is to video streaming, what Spotify is to music. It is one of the most popular movies and platforms for broadcasting TV shows in the world. And now that Netflix is available in almost all parts of the world, it’s likely that you already have a subscription. Even if you do not, I recommend that you give Netflix a chance. It has a wide variety of television shows, and movies to choose from, and you will definitely find something that interests you.
The Netflix application comes pre-installed in Android TV boxes, such as the My Box, and you can simply log in with your Netflix account to start drunkenly watching your favorite TV series.
9. Google Drive
If you like the idea of having access to your files on your Android TV, there is no better way to use Google Drive. With Google Drive on your TV, you can easily access all your data in the cloud and watch them on your Android TV.
While the Google Drive app is not yet available in the Android Store Play Store, you can easily upload the APK from websites like APKMirror.
VLC media player is a very popular video playback application, and with good reason. The application is compatible with almost all file formats and can play videos encoded in a wide variety of codecs. VLC can even easily decode videos that use the H.265 HEVC codec. Add to that the intuitive interface, and the stability that VLC offers, and you’ll know why VLC is so widely used. The VLC application automatically categorizes the media in Video, Audio and others. Also, with the settings within the application, you can control things like hardware acceleration and more.
VLC comes pre-installed in Android TV boxes like the My Box, but it can be easily installed, since it’s available in the Android Store Play Store.
eleven. Sideload Launcher
You must have noticed that many of the Android applications that we are installing on our Android TV have to be loaded. This is perfectly fine, but the problem is that the sideloaded apps do not appear in the default Android TV launcher. This is where Sideload Launcher comes in. The application is developed by Chainfire and shows all the sideloaded apps on your Android TV.
This is the only way to launch sideloaded apps on an Android TV; At least until now. Therefore, if you plan to use sideloading applications on your Android TV, you should definitely install this launcher. There are some other launchers that perform the same function as Sideload Launcher, but I found this one to be the best.
Another really great application of the media center that you can use, is Plex. The Plex application is not as powerful as Kodi, and it does not really have as many plugins either. But where Plex shines, it is in the simple way things are exposed in the application. Where Kodi might seem (and feel) intimidating, Plex has a user interface that is immediately friendly, and will have you hooked in no time. That is, once you have discovered how things work.
To use Plex on your Android TV, you will need a Plex server on another laptop, or computer, which your Android TV can access through WiFi. Once this is done, you can play any multimedia file on your Plex server, directly on your Android TV, without the hassle of cables, file transfer, etc.
The Weather Network is a beautiful time application for your Android TV. The application has been specifically designed to work well with Android TVs, and it really looks. There are a number of sections within the weather network, including “Videos”, “Weather”, “Maps”, and more. You can go to the “Weather” section to see the current weather at your location, as well as a forecast of 36 hours and hour. The application even gives a forecast of 14 days, if you need to check the time that far.
There are definitely many potential advantages to using this application, including the fact that you can quickly get a look at weather conditions (along with traffic on your route) every morning before leaving for work.
If you are a fan of watching live broadcasts of several players (professionals and amateurs), showing your game, Twitch is the place to be. The application is like the place where people post live broadcasts of them playing different games. While this may sound like a foolish past time for many of you, for gaming fans, this is a great thing. It is always fun to watch others play, both for entertainment, and to learn new things about the way they approach the game, and the challenges it offers.
You should definitely check Twitch, if you’re even a little in the game.
Android TVs come with support for Google Cast, so you can easily stream any audio, video or image from your Android device to your Android TV and watch it there. However, what happens if you own an iPhone and want to transmit music or videos that play on your iPhone to your Android TV? IPhones are not compatible with Google Cast, but they do come with AirPlay, the feature that allows users to stream content to Apple TV.
If you want to transmit multimedia from your iPhone to your Android TV, you can use an application such as AirScreen. This application puts an AirPlay server on your Android TV, and basically makes your iPhone think that your Android TV is in fact an Apple TV, which allows you to broadcast the screen of your iPhone to your Android TV.
The best Android TV apps you can use
Android TVs come with a lot of really impressive applications preinstalled (at least in My Box), but there are many other applications that you can install on your Android TV to get even more of it. There are applications to keep up with the latest news from around the world, tell you about the weather, help you relax with a movie, after a long day of work and much more. These were the 15 best Android TV applications that you can use on your smart TV. As always, we would like to know your opinions about Android TVs and the limited ecosystem of applications that are built around you. Also, if you know of any other application that deserves to be on this list, let us know in the comments section below.