Android TV: The must-have apps for 2023 [Video]

Android TV: The must-have apps for 2023 [Video]

In many ways, Android TV is one of Google’s best-kept secrets. It’s a powerhouse for untold smart TVs, projectors and home theater setups around the world, and Google doesn’t shout about it enough. Android TV can be even better with a few apps.

We go beyond Netflix, YouTube and default Android TV apps. Everyone has different streaming services available in their regions, so it would be unfair to recommend different platforms if everyone can’t get them. Instead, we focus on apps that most people can use and enhance their TV experience without requiring additional fees or paying for features.

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TV Bro

There aren’t too many browsers that work well with Android TV when using a remote or phone. TV Bro is our top pick for this reason and doesn’t need a mouse, keyboard or other peripherals to make your TV work properly.

Sure, it’s not the most attractive. It’s purely functional and the user interface is basic at best. Complaints aside, it’s the best way to browse the web on a big screen device with a remote. The built-in cursor support is much more useful than wild tapping trying to get the interface to work properly on a large display. Quick links are a nice option and you can easily get to common pages or set your home screen for faster navigation.

Send files to TV

Coupled with a good file management app, you should definitely check out Send Files to TV. This app is a godsend when you want to send and receive files between your Android TV devices and your smartphone. It’s usually a laborious process that requires cables and even USB drives or SD cards to get the file from your phone to your TV.

Send Files to TV uses your local network to connect your phone directly to your TV, bypassing the frustration of cables and confusion. You can share many kinds of file types, so it’s useful for everyone. If you want to sideload apps, then downloading the APK file and sending it through this easy-to-grab system can work. It also helps that the interface is also super easy to understand with only two options to choose from “Send” and “Receive”.


app for android tv

Cord cutting is getting harder and harder because too many competing services offer different plans and subscriptions. Knowing where to watch something is sometimes like walking through a maze. This is where Stremio is a useful option as a basic media hub to help you find, manage and stream content from a variety of services.

Previews and trailers are linked to episode synopses to help you choose the right one to watch as well. The add-on tool gives you access to even more services and introduces new features.


app for android tv

You can’t natively share your iPhone screen to Android TV. Not everyone has an Android phone, and that’s okay with AirScreen. This app allows you to send iOS device screens and screen mirror to Android TV. AirScreen works by opening AirPlay functionality for iOS and MacOS hardware on your Android TV devices. This means you can mirror your screen almost natively without the need for an Apple TV set-top box.

This solution means that you just need to install AirScreen on your Android TV device. We know that iPhone users don’t like to download apps for useful extra features, so it’s nice that you don’t have to install or open another app on your iOS devices. There is support for 4K UHD video, which is an added bonus as you can enjoy content not normally seen in native resolution on your iPhone or iPad.


Ads can ruin your native Android TV experience. It’s not that much of a problem on a normal smartphone, but on Google TV in particular, there are occasional annoying banners showing content from services that you may never intend to subscribe to. FLauncher is an alternative open source launcher for Android TV that may offer delay on certain devices.

It’s clean, simple, and uses the familiar tile layout for all installed apps. You can change the wallpaper like on your phone and even create basic categories to sort your home screen. It’s a simple app that’s perfect for most people.

Pluto TV

While we didn’t want to recommend a streaming platform, we will make one exception with Pluto TV. It’s one of the biggest and best free TV and movie streaming services out there and you should definitely check it out if it’s available in your region. The app works on Android and Android TV, with hundreds of live broadcast channels showing classic content from CSI to Mad Men.

Every channel broadcasts live, but as a DVR you can go back to the beginning and watch at your own pace. It’s like the best hybrid of TV and streaming, plus it’s completely free and 100% legal. For families with young children, children’s channels are ideal for leaving them in the background.

MX player

Normally we would recommend VLC as a toolkit media player, but it wouldn’t be fair to MX Player. It is a perfect alternative that will play almost all file formats that you can use. When playing video, the interface is actually more attractive and the performance is on par with VLC. Both options are great, but MX Player is a great alternative for all media types.

Button mapper

Button Mapper is a must-have app for Android TV if you want to tune your remote to work the way you want it to. This is a great option because it allows you to customize what each button on your physical remote can do, and even lets you disable certain keys if needed.

By adding the ability to double and long press, you can do a lot more than even the basic or limited drivers out of the box could do. The one-time fee unlocks more options and customization controls, but it’s worth every penny if, like me, you’re frustrated with your Android TV remote.

GeForce NOW

One of the few ways to play triple-A titles on your big screen now that Stadia has settled is through services like NVIDIA GeForce NOW. This paid service allows you to stream high-end games in up to 4K resolution using RTX series graphics cards in the cloud. You can play a large number of your existing games on Steam, Epic Games and

There is a free account that allows you to access the “base device” in the cloud and play for up to 1 hour per session. It’s a super seamless way to turn your TV into a console-quality gaming experience, but with over 1000 PC titles you can play right in your living room.


If you don’t have the connection speed to stream games from the cloud, how about classic console and arcade games? RetroArch gives you the tools to play some of your favorite games from years past. It bundles popular emulators into one easy-to-access and free package. You can even run PS2 titles, provided your set-top box or Android TV has the processing power to run titles from the early 2000s.

Since you can emulate hundreds of platforms, all you need are the ROM files to get started. For a quick way to roll back the years, this is a must-have Android TV app for any system. Moreover, it works perfectly with all kinds of Bluetooth controllers and wired gamepads for an “authentic” experience.

What are your favorite Android TV apps?

Android TV offers a large number of apps and services that you can download and install to maximize the performance of your home entertainment system. This makes it difficult to cover almost everything there is. Do you have any apps you just can’t live without? Let us know in the comments section below.

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