The Best Android TV Apps [July 2019]
When you purchase an Android TV device, you’ll get some pre-installed apps such as YouTube and Play Music. But what about the rest?
Android TV uses the same Play Store as all other Android devices, which indicates that there are a lot more tools out there that may improve your user experience.
Don’t know where to start? Keep reading. In this article, we will list some of the must-have apps for Android TV owners.
Some Android TV devices have a built-in Netflix app, but if yours doesn’t, you should get it as soon as possible. A Netflix subscription will allow you to watch thousands of movies and TV shows on your Android TV, including some highly-rated Netflix originals.
Also, Netflix is one of the rare streaming platforms that offer 4K playback and HDR. However, this is a premium app and it costs around $10 after a free month-long trial.
Plex is an all-around media library for those who want to keep things organized. The app will gather metadata of your extensive media collection including viewer ratings, artworks, and subtitles, and keep it all sorted.
You can sync Plex to all your screens and Android devices, and you can cast them all around your household. The best part – it is completely free.
3. MX Player
MX player is one of the most reliable video players for Android. It is compatible with a wide range of codecs, which allows you to stream media formats that are not compatible with Android TV by default.
Thanks to the user-friendly interface, it is very easy to navigate and load or format subtitle files. Also, you can play locally-stored media, so if you have media on your USB, plug it into the port and load it with MX Player.
4. VLC Media Player
VLC is another media player that is hugely popular among Android TV users. It supports most video codecs, but you can also load online streams, music and other audio, as well as DVD ISO files. Because of this, it is touted as the jack-of-all-trades of Android TV video players.
Another upside is that VLC player will gather metadata of your content and store it in separate libraries for video, audio, and others. There’s also an option to control hardware acceleration and other interesting features.
5. ES File Explorer
Android TV is more than just a media-streaming device. You are going to need a reliable file manager app to navigate its local and external storage. This is important if you want to transfer files between different devices and manage them afterward.
ES File Explorer can also connect to cloud storage so you can sync the same cloud account to different devices, and use File Explorer to manage it from Android TV.
If you have an iPhone, it is impossible to cast videos from it to your Android TV. This is because the TV supports Google Cast, which is only compatible with Android devices. Luckily, the Airscreen app solves this issue.
iPhones come with Airplay, which is a feature that enables users to stream videos to an Apple TV. Following that example, Google introduced the AirScreen app, which allows iPhone users to cast their device’s screen to Android TV.
7. Steam Link
Steam released its Android TV app in 2018. Thanks to it, you can connect your computer screen with PC without needing an HDMI cable or moving the PC around. Simply launch Steam on both your TV and the computer and the TV will mirror your computer screen.
On top of that, you can use the same app to stream PC games on any other Android device.
8. Sideload Launcher
When you access the Google Play Store from Android TV, you will see a significantly smaller number of apps than you would on your phone. This is because most of the usual Play Store apps are not compatible with Android TV. But since the TV has the same operating system as any other Android device, it is able to run any of these apps.
However, if you download an app that isn’t supported by Android TV, you won’t be able to access it from your menu. Instead, you can either go to the Settings app and locate it there or get a third-party app.
This method is known as sideloading, and Sideload Launcher does exactly that. When you run this app, all the sideloaded apps that you downloaded from the Play Store will appear in the menu. This will make them much easier to access.
9. Google Drive
Google’s own cloud storage service is compatible with Android TV too, but you won’t be able to find it in the TV’s version of the Play Store. You need to sideload it first and then launch it via a third-party launcher.
Once you install Google Drive, you will be able to sync all your devices together and to transfer and manage the files between them.
Kodi is an extremely well-known media platform that allows you to stream content from most of your household devices.
The app is popular for its countless add-ons and widgets that can give you access to a wide range of services. For example, you can stream Fox Sports, BBC iPlayer, live TV, on-demand videos, and even local news and weather forecasts.
Apps Don’t Stop
As you can see, Android TV isn’t lacking tools to enhance your viewing experience. As the device gets more recognition and becomes more popular, the number of apps will certainly increase.
There is probably an abundance of apps that we’ve left out from our list, but maybe you can help us. Are there some other Android TV apps that you feel should be included in our list? Tell us about your favorites in the comments below.