Android TV was first announced as a Smart TV platform back in 2014, and we’ve come a long way since then. Where Android TVs were originally only made by TV manufacturers choosing to add the Android TV operating system to their flagship TVs, now we can buy TV boxes and convert any TV with an HDMI port into an Android TV. These TV boxes have made Android TVs a lot more accessible and affordable to a lot more people. So, if you’ve purchased an Android TV box, or if you’re using an Android TV, here are the 20 best Android TV apps you should be using in 2020.

Note: Like it is with Android smartphones, Android TV comes in different flavors thanks to the custom skins used by different TV manufacturers. However, don’t worry as these apps will work on all Android TVs such as the OnePlus TV, Xiaomi Mi TV line-up, Samsung’s Android TVs, iFFalcon TVs, TCL TVs, Nokia Smart TVs, and more. 

Best Android TV Apps You Should Use in 2020

1. SlingTV

If you are looking for the best Android TV app that offers you a great range of live TV channels including sports, lifestyle, news (local and international) then SlingTV is the perfect pick. To name a few, the app has channels such as the ESPN network, NFL, The Food Network, CNBC, BBC, and more. While the app is completely free to install, you will have to pay for the live TV service. Talking about the app, it’s quite slick and well designed. I was able to quickly move between channels just like traditional TVs. All in all, SlingTV seems to be the best app for watching live TV channels on Android TV given that it also comes with a cloud-based DVR (Digital Video Recording) support.

1. SlingTV

Install: Free, starts at $20/month

2. Send files to TV (SFTV)

Send Files to TV is one of my favorite apps on Android TV, bar none. There are times when you want to transfer videos, photos or music files to your TV and that’s when you realize that you need a thumb drive to transfer the files. However, Send files to TV app makes everything seamless through wireless transfer. You just have to install the app on both your TV and smartphone and you will be able to send the files as if you are sending a WhatsApp forward.

2. Send files to TV (SFTV)

Keep in mind, you will have to be in the same WiFi network for this to work. Talking about the reliability of the app, the transfer speed is pretty good and I have rarely seen any failed transfers. Simply put, if you are on a lookout for the best app to transfer files on Android TV, SFTV is the one you should pick.

Install: (Free, offers in-app purchases)

3. Solid Explorer

After the fall of ES File Explorer, Solid Explorer has rightfully earned its position as the best file manager on Android and it’s true for Android TV as well. This file explorer is the perfect replacement for ES File Explorer and you are truly going to love its unique blend of design and function. The app brings a two-pane layout interface which makes it very easy to navigate through folders and interact with files. The best part is that you can manage the internal storage of your Android TV right from Solid Explorer. It allows you to uninstall, delete and also install third-party APKs on Android TV. Not to mention, you can add your FTP server if you want. To sum it up, Solid Explorer is not only the best file manager but among the best apps for Android TV.

3. Solid Explorer

Install: (Free, offers in-app purchases)

4. Photo Gallery and Screensaver

Android TV comes with a native screensaver feature, but it’s very limited and you can’t set your own photos. Secondly, the Google Photos integration on Android TV was awesome, but it’s gone now due to a security issue. So basically, you can’t display your personal set of photos either from your Google account or internal storage. In that case, this Photo Gallery and Screensaver app comes to the rescue. The app is specifically designed for Android TV and brings all the screensaver features that you want on a large TV screen.

5. Photo Gallery and Screensaver

You can choose your photos, change the aspect ratio, apply a transition effect and do much more. And the best part is that through this app, you can even connect your Google account and it can pull your photos and display them as a screensaver. To bare it all, Photo Gallery and Screensaver is among the best screensaver apps for Android TV, if not the best.

Install: (Free, offers in-app purchases)

5. VLC

VLC media player is a very popular video playing app, and with good reason. The app supports almost every file format, and can playback videos encoded in a wide variety of codecs. VLC can even easily decode videos that use the HEVC H.265 codec. Add to that the intuitive interface, and the stability that VLC offers, and you’ll know just why VLC is so widely used. The VLC app automatically categorizes your media into Video, Audio, and other. Plus, with the settings inside the app, you can control things like hardware acceleration, and more. VLC comes pre-installed on Android TV boxes like the Mi Box, but can be easily installed as it is available on the Android TV Play Store.

Install: (Free)

6. Aptoide

Aptoide is simply one of the best apps for Android TV because it lets you access thousands of Android apps without any geo-restriction or Android TV compatibility issue. In case, you are not aware, Aptoide is a third-party app store just like the Google Play Store. You can discover and install apps that are otherwise not available on the Play Store. If you are worried about the app integrity, well Aptoide is directly supported by the developers so there are no middlemen repackaging the apps. Simply put, if you are unable to find your favorite apps on Android TV through the Play Store, the Aptoide app store will take you right home.

4. Aptoide

Install: (Free)

7. Spotify

When it comes to streaming music, Spotify is undoubtedly the best way to go. With the Spotify app on your Android TV, you can stream music directly through your Android TV, itself. The best part about using Spotify, is that it has a free tier service, as well. However with the paid subscription, you get unlimited track skipping, and no ads between songs. On Android TV boxes like the Mi Box, Spotify comes pre-installed, and you just need to sign in with your Spotify account in order to start streaming music.

Install: (Free, with in-app purchases)

8. Netflix

Netflix is to video streaming, what Spotify is to music. It is one of the most popular movie, and TV show streaming platforms in the world. And now that Netflix is available almost everywhere in the world, chances are, you have a subscription already. Even if you don’t, I highly recommend that you give Netflix a try. It has a wide variety of Netflix originals, TV shows, animated series, and movies to choose from, and you will definitely find something that interests you. The Netflix app comes pre-installed on many Android TVs and you can simply log in with your Netflix account to get started with binge watching your favorite TV series.

Install: (Free, with in-app purchases)

9. Haystack

Android TV boxes such as the Mi Box come packed with a plethora of applications, ranging from music and video streaming apps, to news applications. However, if those news apps don’t meet your needs, you should check out Haystack. Haystack is a news app that you can use to stay updated on a variety of topics, from Science and Technology, Politics and Current Events, to Games, and Movie Trailers.

News items are presented in a nice fluid interface, which is perfect for an Android TV set up. Also, the way things are laid out is exceptionally well thought out. Haystack brings news curated from a number of sources, such as AP, BBC News, CBS, and many more. Plus, there is a handy “weather pane” on the bottom of the window to keep you updated with the weather in your location.

Install: (Free, with ads)

10. Kodi

Kodi is perhaps one of the most powerful media server applications out there. The app can be used to manage all your media into one central location, which can even be set up to be accessed remotely. Along with that, Kodi’s abilities can be enhanced with a number of Kodi add-ons that add on a lot of power to the application. You can learn how to install Kodi on different operating systems by clicking on the link.

You should definitely use Kodi on your Android TV if you have a lot of offline media, and are looking for a way to quickly organize all of it, with a proper hierarchy. Any extra media that you may add to your device after you’ve set up Kodi, will automatically be sorted into the proper categories, and arranged into the locations you have decided. Kodi’s add-ons also help it support almost any audio, and video format that you may throw at it, making it a very versatile solution for consuming media on your Android TV.

Install: (Free)

11. Plex

Another really great media center application that you can use, is Plex. The Plex application is not as powerful as Kodi, and doesn’t really have as many plugins either. But where Plex shines, is in the simple way things are laid out in the app. Where Kodi might look (and feel) intimidating, Plex has a user interface that is immediately friendly, and will have you hooked in no time. That is, once you have figured out how things work.

To use Plex on your Android TV, you will need a Plex server on another laptop, or computer, which can be accessed by your Android TV over WiFi. Once that is done, you can playback any media file on your Plex server, directly on your Android TV, without the hassle of any wires, transferring files, etc. If you are not happy with Plex, you can also look at some of the best Plex alternatives to get the same set of features.

Install: (Free, with in-app purchases)

12. Tunnelbear

Having a VPN application never hurts. It helps to keep you anonymous while browsing the internet, and can be used to circumvent geographical restrictions placed on a lot of online content. Unless you want to pirate stuff, Tunnelbear is one of the best VPN apps you can use on your Android TV. Even though the app is not yet optimized for Android TV, it works perfectly fine, and actually looks rather good.

Tunnelbear gives you 500 MB data free every month, and you can buy one of their paid subscriptions to increase this limit. For basic browsing, though, 500 MB will probably suffice you. Do note that Tunnelbear will not let you download items that use P2P protocols, for security, and legal reasons. There are a lot of other free VPN apps that you can use, as well, should Tunnelbear not meet your expectations.

Install: (Free, with in-app purchases)

13. Google Chrome

Android TVs don’t come with a web browser installed, which is understandable, but still quite disappointing. However, if you want a web browser on your Android TV, you can easily install a browser such as Google Chrome. With Google Chrome installed, you can browse the web, and do a lot more on your Android TV.

Since we are installing a fully fledged Android app, it will have every feature that the Google Chrome app has on an Android phone. However, Google Chrome is not available in the Android TV Play Store, which means you will have to sideload it. You can read our article on sideloading apps on Android TVs to learn how you can do this.

Install: (Free)

14. Google Drive

If you like the idea of having access to your files on your Android TV, there is no better way than using Google Drive. With Google Drive on your TV, you can easily access all of your cloud data, and view it on your Android TV. While the Google Drive app is not yet available on the Android TV Play Store, you can easily sideload the APK from websites such as APKMirror. If you don’t want to use Google Drive, you can check its alternatives to store your data on the cloud and access it from your Android TV.

Install: (Free)

15. Sideload Launcher

You must have noticed that a lot of the Android apps we’re installing on our Android TV have to be sideloaded. This is perfectly fine, but the problem is that sideloaded apps do not show up in the default Android TV launcher. This is exactly where Sideload Launcher comes into play. The app is developed by Chainfire, and displays all of the sideloaded apps on your Android TV.

This is the only way you can launch sideloaded apps on an Android TV; at least as of now. So, if you’re planning on sideloading apps on your Android TV, you should definitely install this launcher. There are some other launchers that perform the same function as Sideload Launcher, but I found this one to be the best.

Install: (Free)

16. The Weather Network

The Weather Network is a beautiful weather app for your Android TV. The app has been specifically designed to work well with Android TVs, and it really shows. There are a number of sections inside The Weather Network, including “Videos”, “Weather”, “Maps”, and more. You can go to the “Weather” section to view the current weather at your location, as well as a 36-hour, and hourly forecast. The app even gives a 14 day forecast, if you need to check the weather that far off.

There are definitely a lot of potential advantages to using this app, including the fact that you can quickly get a glance at the weather conditions (along with the traffic on your route) every morning before you leave for work.

Install: (Free)

17. Twitch

If you’re a fan of watching live streams of various players (both professional, and amateurs), showing off their gameplay, Twitch is the place to be. The app is kind of like the place where people post live streams of them playing different games. While this may sound like a silly past-time to a lot of you, for gaming fans, this is a great thing. It’s always a lot of fun to watch others play, both for entertainment, as well as for learning new things about the way they approach the game, and the challenges it offers. You can also check out some Twitch alternatives if you are not happy with the service.

You should definitely check Twitch out, if you’re even a little bit into gaming.

Install: (Free)

18. AirScreen

Android TVs come with support for Google Cast, so you can easily cast any audio, video, or image from your Android device to your Android TV, and watch it there. However, what if you own an iPhone, and you’d like to stream music, or videos playing on your iPhone to your Android TV? iPhones don’t support Google Cast, but they do come with AirPlay – the feature that allows users to stream content to Apple TVs.

If you want to stream media from your iPhone to your Android TV, you can use an app like AirScreen. This app puts an AirPlay server on your Android TV, and basically makes your iPhone think that your Android TV is in fact an Apple TV, allowing you to cast your iPhone’s screen to your Android TV.

Install: (Free, with in-app purchases)

19. iHeartRadio

Do you want to hear your favorite radio stations on your Android TV? Well, there is an app for that and it works quite well. iHeartRadio is particularly designed for those users who love listening to radio stations, music playlists, and podcasts. The best part about this app is that it supports thousands of AM and FM radio stations from both local and global sources. And that is not all, you can listen to sports stations like ESPN Radio, Fox Sports and more. In terms of design, the app is pretty clean and looks very similar to Spotify. However, it has many radio station labels ranging from music, news, sports, talk, and comedy. All in all, iHeartRadio is certainly a great app for Android TV and if you are a radio lover, it’s a cherry on the cake.

6. iHeartRadio

Install: (Free with ads)

20. Steam Link

If you want to play desktop-quality games on your Android TV– irrespective of your TV’s hardware then Steam Link is the best app to try out. However, there are a few caveats: Steam should be installed on your PC and running; your Android TV and PC should be connected to 5GHz WiFi with Ethernet and of course, you need a Steam membership. To simply put, Steam Link works by mirroring the display from your PC to the Android TV so you need faster connectivity and lower latency. This will allow you to play desktop-level games on a much larger screen. And on top of that, you can even connect a Bluetooth controller to the TV and play in real-time in front of your TV. So, if you are looking for a way to play graphics-intensive games on Android TV, this is a great option to consider.

7. Steam Link

Install: (Free)

SEE ALSO: How to Set Up and Use Android TV Box (Mi Box)

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. 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 200 best Android TV apps you can use on your smart TV. As always, we would like to know your thoughts so drop them down in the comments section below.

Comments


  1. They should also recommend on 100fm Radius eventho the logo is in a language i dont know the program itself is in English and it has millions of songs music for free

  2. You should really update this article as ES File Explorer doesn’t do anything on my android box. I downloaded it so it would control my downloads. Ha my box still downloads using the old downloader, comes with no instructions and otherwise doesn’t do anything at all, not even manage files. Just waste of space. From what little research I just did on it, apparently most reputable places are taking it off their “best app” lists because it is now full of garbage, malware and continuous ads requesting you to download other stuff. Its more like a virus now.

    • Not sure what ‘articles’ you’ve been reading but ES File Explorer is pretty much mandatory for android tv. !st go into es settings and set it up quickly, then go to ES homepage and everything is there, stupid easy and easy to navigate. 2nd get the PRO version, cheap and your ‘ad’ issue will be gone. As for Malware, only if YOU’VE downloaded a bad apk version or some other shit file but not in any ES FE ive ever seen for many years. 3rd, stop reading idiot articles and start reading articles from sites operated by smart people, ES FE is #1 for a reason, 100,000 +++ million users cant be ignored for some fuckwit websites ignorant ‘article’……..

      • Incorrect

        “To say that ES File Explorer has had a rocky few months would be an understatement. It has gone from being the best file explorer on Android to being one that we can no longer recommend. And for one main reason: an intrusive advertising mechanism that ruins its user experience. This is why we’ve decided to remove ES File Explorer from our best Android apps lists.”

        (Source: – https://www.androidpit.com/this-is-why-you-should-not-use-es-file-explorer )

        “ES File Explorer was removed from the Google Play Store in April 2019, along with several other apps created by DU Group. It was reported by BuzzFeed News.

        It was claimed the company who owns ES File Explorer, DO Global, was committing ‘click fraud’ by clicking ads in users’ apps in the background without permission.”

        (Source: – https://malware.wikia.org/wiki/ES_File_Explorer )

        “ES File Explorer is now offering a dodgy option called Charging Boost, which supposedly makes charging 20% faster. It’s total rubbish, of course, and for me at least, is insulting enough that I’ve uninstalled it for good.

        Charging Boost appears prominently in the middle of the main ES File Explorer screen and in the Tools section of the nav drawer. Once enabled, it claims to speed up charging by 20%. How it does this isn’t explained because it’s a load of bollocks. If you’re silly enough to turn it on, all you get is a replacement lock screen, complete with ads…”

        (Source: – https://www.androidauthority.com/uninstall-es-file-explorer-691930/ )

        “…ES File Explorer has become adware that interferes with the way your phone works to bombard you with ads. Yes, there’s a paid version, but the free one should not screw with your phone like this…”

        (Source: – https://www.androidpolice.com/2016/05/10/es-file-explorer-updated-with-super-shady-speed-charging-adware/ )

        Please refrain from posting inaccurate opinions or statements.

        ES File Explorer is malware, which is why Higher removed it, and a suite of other apps by the same company, from Google Play.

        End of discussion.

  3. Mobdro and Terarium besides using illegal sources are loaded with spyware and hackware. Unfortunately alternative android market places suffer from the same issue.

  4. I have Nordvpn android app – best investment so far. I did not know I needed it until I understood that it gives total freedom online, no more blocked youtube videos, sites or services like Netflix. 5/5 stars from me, would recommend others to check it out.

    • If the Mi remote does not work use a wifi or bluetooth keyboard & mouse. These work much better on Google than remote.

    • Samsung TVs don’t use Android TV
      Yeah it’s a shame but they have Tizen installed as the OS instead of Android

      • The one redeeming feature of Samsung “Smart” TVs is they are based on the Media Player which was built into the DLink Boxee Media Player; which Samsung bought. Boxee player was based on the Open Source XBMC player; now known as Kodi.

        The last time I gave a Samsung TV any time it appeared they hadn’t done much work with the media player code since buying access to the XBMC (Abbreviation for XBox Media Centre) code.

  5. is there a website/forum that gives us the latest apps available on playstore that can be downloaded onto Mibox w/out sideloading?

    • The playstore available on the Mibox is dedicated to Android TV; so all apps found on it “should” work well without needing to sideload. This is easily seen by the small number of available apps in this “special” Playstore.

  6. Don’t forget Wake On Lan. Simply awesome if you want to wake your NAS or the PC you have your videos on from your android Media Center

  7. Quite bias and actual poor article. One of the dead giveaways is the writer said Tunnel bear works “perfectly”. The other is saying only the side load launcher (most people don’t use the term side loading rather installing an app) will work which is bogus. Just select any app you downloaded and install from the device’s built in native launcher.

    Additionally, there is no mention of sites like Shafa and other alternative Android market sites. The two most popular apks for your android box is Terrarium and Mobdro…yet they go unmentioned.

    If anyone thinks this is a good write-up, they probably think Trump is a good president.

    • You copuld ‘ve just said thanks and moved on, you didn’t have to trush talk the guys for mentioning some useful apps. Actually the apps that they have shared really helped me and im sure it helped alot more ppl than you. Just wanted to say< great work guys for sharing those apps with us.

    • Mobdro and Terarium are both apps that use illegal media sources the apps reccomended above are all proper legal apps

    • The term sideload is for apks not in the play store. Why the Trump comment? He’s done more than that pinko Obama did in 8 years.

      • Totally agree! Ultra left wing nutballs can’t seem to pass up any opportunity to bash Trump and show the world how uninformed and brainwashed they are.

  8. I have the Xiaomi Mi TV 4A 55″ and want to install the latest apk’s for Kodi and english language.

    Does anyone have any idea as to how I can do this WITHOUT the Mi Box – You should be able to simply do this through the TV. I have tried with the latest release of Kodi (17.4) and yes I asked my TV to ‘allow’ external content to be installed…but still just says “installation not completed” (or something along those lines.

  9. Great article Akshay,
    When I sideloaded some local (Australian) Free to Air TV apps onto my Xiaomi Mi Box they displayed incorrectly. The apps showed content as if the TV should have been standing up like a smart phone in portrait mode.

    Is there some setting I have missed on the Mi Box which can tell the app to play content in the correct orientation; like the auto-rotate setting on a smart phone? Hope you or one of your readers knows how.

  10. es explorer and kodi are awesome.
    what i am looking for is a decent app to sort tv channels.
    thats just terrible in android tv.

    • yep es explorer is great … on mobile phones. don’t expect it to be even remotely usable on from android tv though. Lazy devs have not changed the ui to be compatible with android tv