There is more to Android TV/box other than running a few mainstream apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime or YouTube. If you aren’t familiar with Android smartphones, it might come as a surprise that Android TVs packs in a bunch of entertainment and productivity apps.
On the same line of thoughts, we have assembled the following apps which will help you get the most out of your Android TV.
For some, the Google Play Store isn’t enough to satiate the thirst of apps. That’s when the Aptoide TV comes to great use. It contains a slew of apps, right from social apps and gaming to entertainment apps. All you have to do is pick one, select and install — all from the comforts of your couch.
The installation of Aptoid TV barely takes a minute. All you have to do is browse to their official site and select ‘install Aptoide TV‘. However, before installing, head over to Settings > Security & restrictions and toggle the switch for Unknown sources.
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2. Sideload Launcher – Android TV
At the end of the day, an Android TV runs on Android (quite obviously) which means that there will be a checkpoint at every point of time. For starters, the TV won’t show any apps which have been downloaded from third party sites.
Neither will it show apps which haven’t been updated or are incompatible with the Android version.
Sideload Launcher solves this problem by displaying apps which are hidden in the default Android TV launcher — Leanback Launcher — thus making it easier to launch the sideloaded apps.
All you have to do is launch the app and select the app, just like you’d do on your phone or TV.
Cetusplay touts itself as the world’s number one remote app for Android TV box or Fire TV. And it lives true to its promise. All you have to do is make sure that the TV and your phone is connected to the same WiFi network. Once done, controlling your TV is a breeze.
CetusPlay showcases a number of features like a rich app center, the ability to capture screen shots from the phone and a handy Clean master tool.
youunity brings the content of your smartphone to the big screen. Right from your music collection to favorite movie — all these can be easily accessed from TV.
A prerequisite for this app is the LocalCast app. For setup, all you need to do is discover the TV. Once done, open the music collection, tap on the three-dot menu and select Open in. That’s it!
Plex can be rightfully described as a scaled down version of Kodi. Similar to it, Plex turns your computer and smartphone into a set-top box or server. So that you are able to stream your songs and videos directly to the TV, over WIFi.
The advantage it has over younity is that it lets you stream from the computer and the smartphone. All you have to do is head over to the settings and chose the right server.
Note: Plex also needs LocalCast to help with casting.
6. TunnelBear VPN
The Internet is vast which means that not every app or website is available everywhere. That’s when VPNs come in handy. Also, apart from geographical restrictions, most of the VPN services also ensures a security blanket.
And few VPN services can match the service quality of TunnelBear.
It is fast and makes use of strong encryption methods to secure your data. TunnelBear is free, however, you can always opt for a paid subscription service. The free plan gives you access to 500 MB of data while the unlimited data plan will set you back by $9.99 per month.
7. VLC for Android
The ability of VLC to play almost all any multimedia files and its ability to decode video in software and hardware mode easily makes it one of the most popular apps in the Play Store.
Though MX player is the first choice when it comes to playing offline videos or songs, I prefer VLC mainly because of its cool interface. If you haven’t used it yet on your Android TV, let me tell you that all the audio files and video files are neatly segregated under their respective categories. And if you need to scan through the folders, the Browse section should do the trick.
A file manager is a must-have app on any Android device — be it an Android Phone or an Android TV. With it, not only can you browse your files and manage your downloads but it also helps in effective storage management.
The ES File Explorer for Android TV is a good option. Unlike its phone version, the TV app isn’t riddled with ads. In terms of features, the ES File explorer bundles in a plethora of features.
My personal favorite is the integration of Google Drive. Anytime, I need to have a sideloaded app on my Android TV, all I do is upload the APK file to my Google Drive and access the same from the TV app. Simple, see.
9. Haystack TV: Daily News
As they say, staying on top of every news is the mantra of the new age world. If you have the same opinion, trust the Haystack TV to take care of all your news feeds.
Winner of the best TV Experience of 2017, this app brings in a news from the tops sources personalized to your taste. What’s more, the interface is simple and easy to use, with all the news categorized neatly on the left.
Go Get ’em!
Many of these apps are easily available on the Google Play Store. However, a few like younity and Aptoide aren’t yet available. For these, you can get their APK files from a trusted source and sideload them into your TV. With the right app at the right place, even the Android TV experience can be boosted up by several notches. These were some of my top choices, what’s yours?