When Android TV was first announced as a Smart TV platform back in 2014, people couldn’t help but be skeptical. It was a new operating system that would have to compete with the established players like Roku and Apple TV. But here we are, in 2022, and Android TVs are more popular than ever.
What’s changed? Well, for one thing, they’re everywhere. Not just on TVs anymore—Android TVs are now available as boxes and sticks that you can plug into any TV with an HDMI port. This has made them much more accessible and affordable for many people who might not have been able to afford a “smart” TV before.
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And if you’ve purchased an Android TV box or stick and want to make the most of it? We’ve got you covered! Here are the 15 best apps for android tv you should be using:
If you own an Android TV, how can you even think of missing out on watching Bridgerton, Queen’s Gambit, Money Heist, and other such popular and thrilling TV series on a big screen? Moreover, the latest movies that are upcoming on Netflix this June include Hustle (starring Adam Sandler), Bohemian Rhapsody (a call for all the Queen fans), The Grudge (for some jump scares), and many more. And we’re sure you wouldn’t want to miss any of the binging fun.
Next on our list of the 15 best Android TV apps in 2022 comes Spotify, undoubtedly one of the top free music streaming apps out there. Its Android interface even allows it to be used for playing music in the background while you use other apps in the forefront.
If you are someone who feels inclined towards cord-cutting, then you should definitely check out Youtube TV. Availing its subscription will give you access to a range of popular cable TV channels like CNN, BBC News, FoxLife, ESPN, NBA TV, TNT, VH1, and many more.
Android TV doesn’t come pre-installed with Google Chrome, which is disappointing. However, the Google Chrome Android app is said to be still compatible with the Android TV box. You wouldn’t need to go pick up your phone in the middle of watching a movie to check the meaning of a coined term, the latest movies you can watch on OTT platforms or their star cast. You can directly access Google Chrome for all your queries from your smart TV itself. However, you might have to sideload it as it is unavailable on the Android TV Play Store.
While we are on the subject of sideloading apps on Android TV, let us also introduce the Sideload Launcher app to you. When you sideload an otherwise unavailable app on Android TV, the obstacle that you have to encounter is that the app is not directly accessible from the default Android TV launcher. This is where the Sideload Launcher app comes in. It launches all the sideloaded apps on your Android TV.
Next on our list of the 15 best Android TV apps in 2022 is another cord-cutting subscription-based app, Sling. It provides you with a range of live TV channels from a wide range of categories like sports, news, entertainment, and lifestyle. You can get access to channels like CNBC, CNN, ESPN, Disney, Comedy Central, and much more.
Hulu is said to be one of the best designed Android TV apps, which provides both live TV and on-demand content services to the customers. You can watch movies, new TV shows, Hulu Originals, and much more on the platform.
The next one on our best Android TV apps list is Kodi, which is a free open-source media player. It can help organize and manage all your media files in one place. It also provides a wide range of add-ons that provide access to on-demand videos, live TV, news, weather updates, and much more.
In case you are dissatisfied with the news streaming services that are offered with the pre-installed apps on your Android TV, then you should check out Haystack. It sources news from all major news networks like BBC News, CBS, and more, based on your viewing history and preferences.
Plex is another well-known media application that can be used for casting movies and TV shows on all the devices at your home. It has a pretty decent and user-friendly interface and can even download metadata, movie subtitles, and artwork of ratings automatically.
Wake On LAN
Next on our list of the 15 best Android TV apps in 2022 is Wake on LAN, which is said to be the only Android TV app that helps wake your computer up. It is a very handy application in case you are using apps like Plex or Kodi on your Android TV, which use your computer as a server for the content. It wakes up your computer by sending a signal over the internet, in case the Plex server is sleeping.
Photo Gallery And Screen Saver
The Photo Gallery and Screen Saver app is optimized for smart TV and helps showcase your photos and videos as an Android TV Daydream, screensaver, or slide show. It can source photos from Google Photos, Facebook, Flickr, your local device, SD card, or USB devices.
Send Files To TV
Next on our list of the best Android TV apps of 2022 is this one. Send files to TV enables seamless wireless transfer of files from your Android TV to other devices and vice-versa.
The Apple TV app has finally been made compatible with Android TVs as well by the Apple brand. Not only will you be able to watch content in 4k but also in Dolby Vision and HDR using the application.
Background Apps And Process List
Finally, our list comes to this app which masters finding and closing apps that are running in the background on your Android TV. This thereby helps in saving the device battery, reducing its thermal temperature, saving RAM, and hence speeding up your device and enhancing its performance.
The best Android TV apps
Most video streaming sites
Price: Free / Varies
Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way first. Most streaming services have Android TV apps. The available services include Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO GO, and many others. All of these apps work just fine on Android TV most of the time. You subscribe to them, get all kinds of original and old content, and you can watch basically whatever you want. The list is almost constantly growing, but the most popular ones remain the most popular, at least for now. A simple search on Android TV’s version of the Play Store should yield basically any streaming you know and maybe a few you didn’t know about.
Many music streaming sites
Price: Free / Varies
Most people stream music these days and a lot of popular services are available on Android TV. The list is much shorter than for video (for obvious reasons, TV is a video platform), but it does include some heavy hitters like Spotify, Pandora, Vevo, and iHeartRadio. These function much the same as video streaming sites. You download one, get the subscription (if you want), and use your TV to blast some tunes. Each app has its ups and downs, but it generally comes down to what you prefer rather than any objective comparison. Each one plays tens of millions of songs. Spotify is the heaviest hitter and you can still use Google Play Music until Google shutters the service in late 2020.
Many live TV apps
Price: Free / Varies
Live TV apps hit the world in a big way a couple of years ago. Naturally, most of them are available on Android TV. The list includes Sling TV, YouTube TV, Hulu TV, and a few others. There are also some individual channel apps from stations like SYFY, E!, Oxygen, Brave, USA, and many others. These are great for Android TV owners for the same reason as video streaming sites. It’s even more content you can watch while bored. The prices vary for each one but if a particular channel has a lot of content you want, it’s an easy price to pay. Google also has a Live Channels app to aid in your live TV discovery even further.
Kodi is an excellent app for Android TV owners. It’s an HTPC (home theater PC) UI that controls all of your local music and video content (via USB drive). There are also a selection of channels for things like video streaming, although some channels aren’t actually legal. In any case, this is an excellent place to manage a lot of stuff that you can’t manage through the TV natively or stuff you can manage but it’s not great. This is our first recommendation if you have local music and video that you want to play on Android TV. It’s also entirely free and open source.
Price: Free / $4.99 / $4.99 per month / $39.99 per year
Plex was one of the first Android TV apps. It remains one of the best. Its main purpose is to play videos from your computer or phone to your TV. It also works with other types of files like music, photos, and more. The app also allows streaming from various cloud storage sites like Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive. There are even more plugins to make your experience even better. For instance, Plex partnered with Crackle a while back so you can actually stream ad-supported (but otherwise free) movies and TV shows.
Total Commander is one of our picks for the best Android file managers and it is the best solution for Android TV right now. The app can do basically everything you need it to do, including browse files, side-load apps, and just manage your stuff. It also comes with a built-in media player for audio and video files, so you can kill three birds with one stone here if you want to watch local stuff from time to time. It also supports FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, and LAN servers for networking support. The Android TV UI also includes a dual-panel setup for easier management. X-plore also works well if this one doesn’t for you.
TVUsage is one of the newer Android TV apps comparatively speaking. It introduces digital wellbeing features to Android TV. You can actually view quite a few stats with this, including your daily and weekly usage habits. There are some other features as well. For instance, you can limit your daily screen time limit and get reminders when it’s time to stop watching TV. Additionally, it can pin lock any Android TV app (great for those with kids), exclude apps if you want to track usage, and a few other things. This one is super new so it probably has some bugs, but it worked fine in our testing for the most part.
VLC for Android
VLC is one of the most stable, reliable video players on Android. It also works quite well with Android TV. It lets you view most local video content. The app also works with music files, but the UI isn’t quite set up for that and it may not be the most seamless experience. In any case, the app supports subtitles (as long as you have the correct files), has an audio equalizer, and more. We said it’s not great for music, but there aren’t any really good music players on Android TV so we recommend VLC first for local music playback as well.
Wake On Lan
Wake On Lan is a very unique Android TV app. It lets you wake your computer, NAS storage, etc from your Android TV device with just one click. If that didn’t make sense, that’s okay, this one is a bit more for the tech savvy than most apps. With the ability to wake up your computer or NAS storage, you can simply sit down, turn your stuff on in one location, and watch your stuff without any extra work. The app can’t put devices back to sleep. However, there are ways to automate that on your computer anyway. We definitely recommend this one.
Price: Free / $12.99 per month
YouTube is a bit of a cheap pick for Android TV apps. We admit that. The service has more video than 1,000 people can watch in a lifetime. That includes comedy, tech, music, and even politics if you really want to make yourself angry. You can get an ad-free experience with YouTube Premium for $12.99 per month and that also lets you download videos for offline viewing. The Android TV version of this app has its ups and downs. In some cases, it may even be easier to cast from the app on your phone. Additionally, with the death of Google Play Music, Google integrated a music tab on YouTube to give you access to YouTube Music alongside regular YouTube. That makes it a decent one-two punch for video and audio streaming stuff.
List of Android TVs that Support These Apps
Below, we have created a list of popular Android TVs that support all the apps mentioned in this article. This list is by no means exhaustive and is to serve as an example.
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The Best Android TV Apps You Can Use
Android TVs come with a lot of really awesome apps pre-installed, but there are a lot of other apps that you can install on your Android TV to get even more out of it. Also, sometimes the pre-installed apps have bloatware and show you ads on the home screen of your Android TV. So, it’s better to find a third-party alternative. You can also disable ads on home screen in Android TV.
There are apps to keep you updated with the latest news around the world, tell you about the weather, help you relax with a movie, after a long day at work, and a lot more. These were the 20 best Android TV apps you can use on your smart TV.