Must-have Apps for Your Android TV: With an Android TV, you’ll get endless magical entertainment right in front of your eyes. What makes an Android TV different from a regular TV is that it comes with a built-in Android Operating System.
It also comes with a variety of other features you will ordinarily not find in non-Android TVs. No doubt, as soon as you purchase your Android TV, you’d be eager to quickly dive in and consume all the available content.
However, there are a few apps that can make your Android TV experience all the more enjoyable. We will cover them in this article.
Best Apps for Your Android TV
- Button Mapper
- Send Files to TV (SFTTV)
- Fx File Explorer
- TV Bro
The fact that you have a smartphone that comes with an Operating System that isn’t Android, doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the features of an Android TV.
Apps like AirScreen allow users of iOS devices to cast and screen mirror their smartphones or other iOS-enabled devices with ease.
AirScreen comes with its AirPlay functionality, perfect for iOS and macOS hardware on your Android TV devices.
Basically, it lets you screen mirror almost natively and one of the most interesting things about this app is that you do not need to install the app on your iOS device. All you need to do is have it installed on your Android TV.
In addition, AirScreen supports 4K UHD video. Thus, you’ll be able to enjoy content that would have previously been unviewable at native resolution on your iOS devices.
Button Mapper is another essential app for any Android TV. With the Button Mapper app, you can tune a remote exactly how you want it to work.
Basically, the app lets you adjust and set what each button on your physical remote should do. This includes the ability to double-tap and long-press a button. In essence, you’ll be able to do much more than what basic or limited remotes can do.
At times you will want to view certain media on your smartphone on the big screen. Send Files to TV (SFTTV) helps make the transfer smooth.
Without SFTTV, you would have to go through the annoying method of connecting cables or USB drives or SD cards just to get a file from your phone to your Android TV.
However, with your local network, you can simply connect your phone directly with SFTTV. With the app, you can share different file types as well.
With so many streaming services out there, it can be tedious to jump from one service to another just to catch your favorite shows.
Plex is a media application that aggregates and manages your downloaded media. Not just for streaming media, you can also utilize Plex to manage local media such as the ones on your USB flash drive or hard drive.
Indeed, Plex can automatically sort and categorize your entire media with much less of your input. However, if you prefer to self-manage your media collections, the app is still awesome for you.
Unarguably the best media player ever, VLC is an essential Android TV tool for playing all manner of media regardless of the codec.
In addition, the app is still totally free and it comes with truly in-depth playback controls and media auto-categorization. Also, there’s a subtle hint of Google Play Music in the user interface.
If you’re a gaming enthusiast, you’ll love this app. Retroarch allows you to play classic games from your favorite consoles.
It is a whole package in itself as the app is a fusion of a bundle of popular emulators. With Retroarch, you can load ROMS, hook up and configure your peripherals while managing a collection of consoles and games in a simple-to-use manner.
Basically, everything, from classic arcade games to PS2 and Wii U can be emulated using Retroarch. However, note that the performance of the games will rely heavily on the hardware of your Android TV.
So, if you have an Android TV with powerful hardware, you and your household will get to enjoy a treasure trove of entertainment that will bring nostalgic feelings to fans of the previous gaming eras.
This app can be said to be the Digital Wellbeing app for your Android TV. Now, you may have Digital Wellbeing apps on your smartphone since you’re able to easily set usage limits for your handheld device.
However, this is much harder to achieve with Android TVs. But with TVUsage, you’ll be able to lock your Android TV system using a 4-digit PIN.
You can also set screen time and usage hours for certain apps, initiate install and uninstall protection, and so much more.
One of the app’s features, Usage Chart, lets you review your previous three days of TV watching. It is an ideal app for parents that intend to keep a better track of their Android TV use.
Also, its ability to set break periods at intervals makes it a decent application as it helps limit binge-watching so you can exercise your eyes by stepping away from the screen for a while.
Most Android TVs don’t come with large or near limitless storage. Thus, you could run into file management issues within a short period of setting up the Android TV.
FX File Explorer is a great application for Android TVs to help you handle these storage and file management problems.
This app does more than just manage your Android TV storage. Even though Google is yet to create a dedicated Drive app for Android TVs, FX File Explorer helps you to link your existing cloud storage account to your TV.
This means that if you have videos, images, and other media saved in your Google drive, you’ll be able to view and play them on your Android TV.
Generally, not many people find it fun or intuitive to browse the web on their Android TV. Indeed, you can install fully-featured web browsers that work alright, but navigating with a remote can be unnecessarily uncomfortable and frustrating.
TV Bro is an app that offers a better alternative and all-around experience. Although TV Bro may not be as attractive, however, it has been efficiently optimized for a remote-based UI.
In essence, TV Bro delivers more reliability than most other options out there. You can check and confirm for yourself.
Other Notable Android TV apps
Kodi is an app that is similar to Plex save for its huge reliance on plug-ins and channels. If you want to set up a one-stop shop for your entire streaming needs, then Kodi is what you need. However, keep in mind that it might be a bit daunting if you’re using it for the first time.
If you own a powerful or mid-powerful gaming PC and you want to play your favorite games on your Android TV, then you’ll want to try out Steam Link.
It is an app you can use to stream your game from PC to your Android TV. However, it does rely on your internal network conditions and can get quite spotty depending on how far you are from your actual gaming PC.
Some online content might be restricted from your viewing based on geographic location. That’s why you will need a decent VPN that will help you bypass these restrictions and achieve unfettered access to quality content anywhere across the globe.
There are quite a lot of VPN apps out there. Some are free while others require payments and periodic subscriptions.
Android TVs give you access to tons of applications and services that you can easily download and install to get the best out of your home entertainment system.
That’s why it will not be easy to cover just everything there is. However, with the apps discussed in this article, you’ll set yourself on the right path to maximizing your entertainment.