8 Amazing Android TV Apps That You Didn’t Know Existed
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Cast your mind back to April 2010: Apple had just released the first iPad, thus firing the starting gun on the tablet revolution.

If you had one of those early Apple or Android tablets, you’ll probably remember the utterly miserable experience of using apps. Most developers hadn’t adapted their products for a tablet’s larger screen size, forcing users to install the smartphone version instead.

Of course, the problem no longer exists with tablets. But it does exist on the Android TV platform. Sure, you can install any mobile or tablet app by sideloading it 3 Easy Ways to Access Sideloaded Apps on Android TV 3 Easy Ways to Access Sideloaded Apps on Android TV If you have sideloaded apps on your Android TV, you need a good way to access them. Read More , but the experience isn’t as enjoyable as using a dedicated Android TV app. Often, you won’t even be able to use the Android TV remote to navigate sideloaded apps.

Thankfully, developers are starting to catch up. In this article, we’re going to reveal some popular apps that you probably didn’t know offered an Android TV-specific version.

1. Plex

We’re huge fans of Plex here at MakeUseOf. If you have anything resembling a media library on your computer, there’s no better app for managing, organizing, casting, and controlling the playback on every screen in your house.

Plex has been hard at work making its Android TV app a polished product. The company’s effort has paid off. The app is fast, slick, and easy to navigate.

Plex on Android TV is now so good that the company uses it almost exclusively to roll out new features. Plex News Plex News Should Help Keep Cord-Cutters Happy Plex News Should Help Keep Cord-Cutters Happy Plex has launched Plex News, which is comprised of news clips from an array of sources from across the political spectrum. Keeping you up-to-date with what's happening in the world. Read More and Plex TV Plex Live TV: Everything You Need to Know Plex Live TV: Everything You Need to Know Plex has added live TV channels to its service, but what exactly is Plex Live TV? We have everything you need to know about this exciting new option for cord-cutters. Read More both landed on Android TV before any other platform.

Download: Plex (Free)

2. Plex Media Server

You can even use Plex on Android TV as a media server. Android TV is the only non-desktop platform that offers server functionality.

You’ll need to install the Plex server separately from the Google Play Store.

amazing android tv apps didn't know existed plex media server

Note: At the time of writing, thumbnails cannot be saved on Android TV’s adoptable storage How to Add More Storage Space to Android TV How to Add More Storage Space to Android TV Android TVs can use external drives for additional storage if you make these simple tweaks. Read More . If you’re planning to buy an Android TV box specifically for use as a Plex Server, make sure you have enough internal storage for your needs.

Download: Plex Media Server (Free)

3. HopWatch for Reddit

Reddit finally has an official Android app Reddit Releases Official Mobile Apps, but Do You Need Them? Reddit Releases Official Mobile Apps, but Do You Need Them? Reddit finally released official apps for Android and iOS, but do they stand up against the third-party apps? Read More in the Play Store, but it’s nowhere near as good as some of the third-party alternatives. And, more importantly from the perspective of this article, the official app is not Android TV-compatible.

Not having a specialized Reddit app on Android TV would be a blow. If you know where to look, it’s just as easy to spend hours watching videos, TV shows, and movies on Reddit as it is on YouTube; it’s a valuable addition to any cordcutter’s armory.

amazing android tv apps didn't know existed hopwatch

Luckily, there’s a fantastic Android TV-compatible Reddit app in the shape of HopWatch.

You can enter your favorite media-based subreddits, and they’ll all be accessible via the hidden panel on the left-hand side of the screen. By default, you’ll see recently upvoted content, but you can toggle the mode between the last week, month, and year, just like on the main site.

Download: HopWatch for Reddit ($0.99)

4. Haystack TV

Haystack TV is one of the most underappreciated apps in the Google Play Store. Given it’s so difficult to find live news if you’re not a cable subscriber 5 Free Streaming News Channels for Cord-Cutters 5 Free Streaming News Channels for Cord-Cutters One of the biggest drawbacks of canceling cable TV is the availability of news. Or lack thereof. Thankfully, things are changing, and here are now plenty of free news channels for cord-cutters. Read More , it’s amazing more people don’t use it.

In case you’re not aware, Haystack is an algorithm-based customized live news feed. The more you watch, the more the app learns what you enjoy hearing about. Over time, you can build up a rolling 24/7 feed on content you’ll love.

Haystack has been available on the mobile version of Android and iOS for some time, but many people don’t realize there’s also a dedicated Android TV version. It shouldn’t be surprising — the nature of the app lends itself perfectly to the big screen.

Download: Haystack TV (Free)

5. VLC and MX Player

For the last few years, VLC Media Player has been stuck in a colossal battle with MX Player for the title of “best Android media player 8 Best Mobile Video Players for Android 8 Best Mobile Video Players for Android Every smartphone needs a video player -- let us help you find the best one for your needs. Read More .”

With no sign of a clear winner emerging, the war has moved onto the latest battlefield: Android TV. Both developers were quick to get Android TV-compatible version of their apps into the store, and they’ve now comfortably ensconced themselves as the two leaders, just as they did on mobile Android.

amazing android tv apps didn't know existed vlc mx player

Both apps offer almost unlimited file and codec recognition, a seamless library management tool, and the ability to stream content from other devices. As for which one you should choose? We’ll leave that decision up to you.

Download: VLC (Free)
Download: MX Player (Free)

6. AirScreen

Some people will be heavily dependent on the Apple and iOS ecosystems, but will still have an Android TV device. Perhaps they’ve (rightly) decided Apple TV boxes are incredibly overpriced compared to their competitors, or maybe their new smart TV came with Android TV built-in.

If you have lots of videos and music saved on your Apple gadget and you want to stream it to your Android TV, don’t worry. You can use AirScreen. The popular app turns your Android device into an Apple AirPlay server. In simple terms, it makes your iPhone think your Android TV is an Apple TV box.

AirScreen works on all versions of Android, but there’s an Android TV-specific release that makes it easy to use your remote to browse the content on your iPhone or iPad.

Download: AirScreen (Free)

7. Almost Every Video-on-Demand App

Rather than bore you by listing all the on-demand streaming apps individually, it makes more sense to group them into one.

Every top-tier streaming app you can think of has a dedicated Android TV-compatible app, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, SHOWTIME, HBO Now, HBO Go, CBS All Access, FOX Now, FOX Sports Go, and many more.

amazing android tv apps didn't know existed netflix

Only 18 months ago, that wasn’t the case. There were significant holes in the market — you had to stream content from your mobile using a Chromecast. Today, that’s no longer the case. In fact, it’s almost impossible to find a streaming service that doesn’t have an Android TV app.

As you’d expect, all the apps are designed to take advantage of a TV’s larger screen size. Menus are easier to navigate, thumbnails and posters are given a high level of prominence, and everything is navigable using the remote.

8. Twitch

For millions of people around the world, watching other people play video games is as entertaining as watching sports or going to a music concert.

But while sports fans and music lovers have been able to enjoy their hobby on a TV screen for decades thanks to cable TV, gamers haven’t been so lucky.

amazing android tv apps didn't know existed twitch

The arrival of game streaming app Twitch has changed everything. And now, thanks to the Android TV app, you’re not just limited to watching on your mobile or tablet — you can display the content on your 70-inch high definition screen in seconds.

Just sign up, log in, and start browsing to see what’s available.

Download: Twitch (Free)

Which Android TV-Compatible Apps Do You Recommend?

In this article, we’ve introduced you to a host of Android TV-compatible apps. Rather than enduring smaller screen sizes, why not pick up an Android TV box Best Android TV Box on the Planet for All Budgets Best Android TV Box on the Planet for All Budgets Looking for the best Android TV Box on the planet? Moe Long rounds up the top three Android TV boxes around, for budget, midrange, and high-end needs! Read More and start enjoying Android apps on a larger display instead?

Which apps do you use on your Android TV device? Which apps are made for the TV screen? As always, you can leave all your suggestions and recommendations in the comments box below.

Image Credit: hemul75/Depositphotos

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  1. Gil
    November 16, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    My dear sir, where is KODI?

  2. Sg
    November 16, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    Amazon prime has no android tv app for mi box. So the article does.not apply to all android tvs

  3. Paul Usprich
    November 16, 2017 at 11:45 am

    Directv now needs an Android tv app

  4. Paul Usprich
    November 16, 2017 at 11:45 am

    Directv now is slacking.... still no Android TV app

  5. TJL
    November 15, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    Really, two of these apps were plex. Pretty sure most of the people who own an Android TV box know about Plex. May as well said YouTube. Here's a few must have apps that are lesser known

    Pluto TV - free ad supported content

    HDHomerun (requires additional hardware) - full live TV

    Moonlight - stream PC games