14 Android TV apps to supercharge your Smart TV

Android TV has been slowly but steadily evolving as a platform since its introduction in 2014. As the battle for supremacy between Samsung, LG, Sony, Philips and other smart TV platforms heats up day by day, the Android TV platform still has a dominant voice thanks to its integration with the latest Google technologies and a myriad of applications. If you own an Android TV or have purchased an Android TV box, these are the best Android TV apps to give you a breathtaking experience.

1. Spotify

The benefits and reputation of some of the apps on this list are more obvious than others, and it’s probably fair for us to assume that Spotify requires no introduction. The extremely popular music streaming app is available on all devices, making it easy to put music online on phones or laptops, and then stream it to your TV.

Best Android Spotify TV Apps

You can also use the Android TV Spotify app directly via the TV, using your remote control or even voice activation to listen to your songs. It should also be added that Spotify has recently made a big effort in podcasting, buying tons of great podcasts for exclusive license agreements (most recently, the Joe Rogan experience for $ 100 million).

2. NordVPN (or other good VPN)

This list is not going to go into details of the best VPN apps for Android (we have a separate article for that). Whether you choose to use NordVPN or another like PrivateInternetAccess or ExpressVPN, a VPN app is a great idea to have on your Android TV, as you can use it to watch content blocked by region.

Best Android TV apps Nordvpn

Best Android TV apps Nordvpn

You can watch HBO Now or ESPN from the UK, BBC iPlayer, all three outside the UK, or any number of restricted regional apps from around the world. Just open your VPN, select a country through which you want to route your Internet connection (the same one where the application with regional restrictions is based), and you’re away.

3. Retroarch

The super popular all-in-one emulation frontend works on most Android TVs as well as on PC and mobile devices. For the uninitiated, Retroarch brings several of the best game console emulators together under one roof, allowing you to download the emulator files as “cores.”

Kodi with Iagl updating Retroarch

Kodi with Iagl updating Retroarch

It takes a little getting used to, but once you’ve learned the tricks of Retroarch, you’ll have the best emulation experience available for NES, SNES, PS1, N64 and many other game consoles. It has tons of features that allow you to increase the game’s resolutions and graphics far beyond what their original consoles could do. Take a look at our N64 Retroarch and PS1 Retroarch guide to get an idea.

Since many of these older games don’t use a lot of hard drive space, you can either install them directly on your TV or run them from an external hard drive. Of course, you must have the actual games that you want to run through an emulator for legal reasons.

Want to know if you’re on the right side of the law? Here’s everything you need to know about the legality of game emulators.

4. X-plore file manager

With ES File Explorer disappearing from the Play Store earlier this year due to questionable associations with Chinese spyware, the title of “Best File Management Software for Android TV” has been canceled. Intensified X-plore file manager to steal the show.

Best Android X TV Applications Plore File Manager

Best Android X TV Applications Plore File Manager

This file manager allows you to explore all the files and folders on your Android TV in a granular way as you can find on a desktop operating system like Windows or macOS. Delete, move and copy files as you like, sync your files to cloud storage services like Google Drive and Dropbox, and share files via Wi-Fi. This is a handy app for those who wish deepen their Android TV.

5. Puffin TV

Internet browsing has always been a weak point of smart TVs, TV remotes and on-screen keyboards never coming close to the simplicity of doing it on a computer. the Puffin TV The browser does a lot to solve this problem, removing the traditional PC-optimized browser interface with an address bar and all other dull bits in favor of a bold tile-based interface that feels good on the TV.

best-android-tv-apps-puffin-tv

best-android-tv-apps-puffin-tv

It syncs with your phone, lets you bookmark using QR codes, and makes websites incredibly fast. It is the merit of Puffin that he really does not look like a web browser, but rather like a multimedia center based on Internet browsing. This gives us a little insight into the future of web browsing on TV.

6. Kodi

The mega multimedia platform that doesn’t need a lot of introduction, Kodi, is one of the best ways to stream from a variety of home devices over your home network – from Wi-Fi media centers to PCs. But for many people, the real selling point here is the endless wealth of add-ons that give you access to streaming services from all over the world. Some of them are legitimate sites like Fox Sports and BBC iPlayer.

best-kodi-add-ons-sports-uk-turks

best-kodi-add-ons-sports-uk-turks

Other add-ons for Kodi are a little more sneaky, offering streams configured by Kodi users around the world that let you watch free TV, cable, and international movies. It’s up to you to judge what is legal and what is not, but the fact is that there is a huge quantity of things for which Kodi can be used.

7. Steam link

In May 2018, the Steam Link app arrived on the Google Play Store, allowing streaming from your PC to all Android devices – from smartphones to your Android TV. Yes, that means that with a good internet connection, you can now stream your Steam games directly to your TV – up to 4K resolutions at 60 fps, nothing less. (You will need to access advanced settings to switch from 1080p by default.)

best-android-tv-apps-steam-link

best-android-tv-apps-steam-link

We strongly recommend that your TV and Steam PC be connected to your home network via Ethernet for this to work properly. Beyond that, good game!

8. Netflix

When it comes to video streaming services, Netflix reigns. It is one of the most popular movie and TV streaming platforms in the world. Best of all, it is among the cheapest video streaming services. And now that Netflix has gone global, it’s likely that you already have a subscription.

android-tv-apps-netflix

android-tv-apps-netflix

If you already have a Netflix subscription, using their dedicated app for Android TV will give you a more immersive experience. The service offers a wide variety of movies, TV shows and documentaries. It is also one of the few video streaming platforms that support 4K and HDR video. Netflix comes preinstalled on most of the latest Android TVs, but if you don’t have one, you can download it from the Google Play Store.

9. HayStack TV

HayStack TV is a smart news app that has grown in popularity on an unprecedented scale in recent years. His biggest adulation came in 2017 when HayStack TV was named by Google as the best TV experience at the “Google Play Awards 2017”. But all the admiration is not without reason. HayStack TV takes a different approach when it comes to keeping up with the latest news.

android-tv-apps-haystack-tv-1

android-tv-apps-haystack-tv-1

HayStack gets you started by letting you choose your most trusted interests and sources from a list of topics. It tells you about yourself and your interests from the subjects, categories and sources you have selected. It will then use this information to match your daily journal to your interests. HayStack collects information from over 100 local and international news stations.

10. AirScreen

Android TVs are compatible with Google Cast. They allow you to stream any video, audio or images from your Android device to an Android HDTV. What if you are an iPhone user and also purchase an Android TV? Technically, you would face serious compatibility issues. Indeed, iPhones do not support Google Cast. They come with Airplay, a feature that allows iOS users to stream media files from an iPhone to an Apple TV.

android-tv-apps-airscreen

android-tv-apps-airscreen

However, Google has made life easier for iOS users by introducing AirScreen: an application that allows iPhone users to stream multimedia content from an iPhone to an Android TV. AirScreen creates an AirPlay server on your Android TV, allowing you to mirror your iPhone screen on an Android TV.

11. Twitch

If you enjoy watching a live stream of players showcasing their gaming skills, then Tic is the place to be. Twitch is a live video platform where players post live video game streams. Watching live video streams may seem boring for ordinary people, but for game fans, it is not only fun but extremely important.

android-tv-apps-twitch

android-tv-apps-twitch

Watching gameplay on Twitch allows players to learn new game tactics and new ways to play different games and also gives them a new understanding of the different levels and difficulties that a game offers. This can greatly help players stranded at one level to learn how to progress to the next level. If you’re a hardcore gamer, you’ll appreciate what Google has done to make Twitch functionality in the list of Android TV apps.

12. Google Drive

If you want to access all of your files on your Android TV, you can try the Google Drive app. Installing the Google Drive app on your TV can give you unlimited access to all of your cloud data while still allowing you to see everything on the big screen.

android-tv-apps-google-drive

android-tv-apps-google-drive

The only problem is that the Google Drive app is currently not available on the Android TV Play Store. But that doesn’t mean you can’t install it! You can always load it aside or install it easily using apps like ES File Explorer. Alternatively, you can place a copy of the APK on an SD card and install it from there.

13. VLC Media Player

If you want a breathtaking video playback experience on your Android TV, the VLC Media Player is the app you need. This impressive media player supports almost all video codecs. It also supports network streams, most types of audio files, and DVD ISOs. It is probably the best versatile media player in Android TV applications.

android-tv-apps-vlc

android-tv-apps-vlc

In addition, the VLC player will automatically categorize your library into audio, video and more. Additionally, using the player settings, you can control playback as desired and control other things such as hardware acceleration. The VLC media player is available for download from the Android TV Play Store.

14. Plex

android-tv-apps-plex

android-tv-apps-plex

Plex is also one of the best Android TV apps for organizing and managing media. If you have a media library on your Android TV, you will find Plex very useful for organizing, managing, broadcasting, and controlling playback on every screen in your home. Plex went to great lengths to make the Plex app on Android TV a success. The app is clean, fast and easy to navigate.

Which Android TV apps do you recommend? For more information about the TV, see our guide on how to clean and disinfect your TV remote control. To stream movies and TV from your Android phone to your Smart TV, read our list of the best DLNA streaming apps for Android.

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