10 Most Common Android TV Questions: A Beginner’s Guide
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The Android TV operating system comes in many different forms.

For example, it powers the Nvidia Shield (the ultimate set-top box for cord cutters), it’s the OS of choice for anyone who wants to buy a Kodi box, and it’s found in hundreds of smart TV models.

But like any tech, it’s not always plain sailing. Questions can—and do—arise. So without further ado, here’s our ultimate Android TV FAQ guide.

Note: This guide applies to the stock version of Android TV. Processes might differ slightly depending on your device’s manufacturer.

1. How to Close Apps on Android TV

Android TV Switch Apps

Before we answer this question, remember you do not need to close apps on Android-based operating systems in the same way you do on a desktop OS.

By regularly closing apps, you’re forcing the system to work harder. The operating system is good at self-management; if it senses you’re running low on memory, it will close apps automatically.

However, sometimes a force-close is necessary.Perhaps the app has frozen, or you need to reboot the app into a fresh state.

In such cases, you can close apps by holding (or double-tapping) the Home button on your remote, selecting the app you want to close, then clicking on the X icon. Alternatively, you can go to Settings > Apps > [App Name] > Force Stop.

2. How to Update Kodi on Android TV

The method for updating Kodi on your Android TV box depends on how you installed the app in the first place.

If you installed the app from Google Play, you can install any updates using the same store. However, if you grabbed the official APK from Kodi’s website and used that instead, you’ll need to download an entirely new APK file and sideload it.

Luckily, both the processes are the same as updating Kodi on the mobile version of Android How to Update Kodi on Android How to Update Kodi on Android Updating Kodi on Android can either be a lot simpler or a lot more complicated. It all depends on how you chose to install the app originally. Read More , so follow those instructions for further guidance.

3. How to Install Chrome on Android TV

The Android TV edition of the Google Play Store comes with a few browsers you can use to surf the web. Oddly, Google Chrome isn’t among them.

But don’t worry, you can still install the world’s favorite browser on your box.

You have two options. You can either use your voice (assuming your set-top box is voice-enabled), or you can send the app to your device using the Google Play Store on a desktop or laptop.

We have covered both approaches for installing Google Chrome How to Install Chrome on Android TV How to Install Chrome on Android TV Is it possible to install Chrome on your Android TV device? Yes! Read More in detail.

4. How to Watch Live TV on an Android Box

Android TV boxes are a pirate’s dream. Hundreds of apps let you watch illegal streams of the most popular television networks.

However, using these streams (whether via an Android box or via piracy on Amazon Fire Stick) can land you in a lot of trouble with the law.

Instead, why not stick to one of the great free apps that let you legally watch live TV on your Android box How to Watch Free Live TV on Android TV How to Watch Free Live TV on Android TV Want to watch live TV from your Android TV device? Here are the best Android TV apps you can use to stream TV after cutting the cord. Read More ?

5. How to Reboot Android TV

Shut Down Android TV

There are multiple ways to reboot your Android TV box.

The usual way is to scroll to the bottom of the home page, highlight and select the Power icon, then choose Restart.

You can also perform the task using the Settings menu. Just head to Settings > Device > About > Restart.

Thirdly, if your remote has a Back button, you can hold it down for a few seconds to access the shutdown menu.

Lastly, of course, there’s the nuclear option. If your box is entirely unresponsive, disconnect it from the power source, wait 10 seconds, then plug it in again.

6. How to Install an APK File on Android TV

We’re going to assume you already have your hands on the APK file you want to install. If you don’t, a simple Google search should reveal what you’re looking for. You can also try the APK Mirror subreddit.

Next, install the ES File Explorer app. Unlike the mobile and tablet apps, the Android TV version is not an ad-ridden nightmare. It genuinely is the best tool for the job.

Once that’s done, follow these instructions:

  1. Upload your APK file to either Google Drive or Dropbox.
  2. Open ES File Explorer.
  3. Go to Network > Cloud in the menu on the left-hand side of the screen.
  4. Select either Google Drive or Dropbox and enter your credentials.
  5. Find your APK file and download it.
  6. When the download finishes, select Install in the popup box.

You can also use the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) utility, but it’s a complicated process and beyond the scope of this article.

Note: Some Android TV set-top boxes have a USB port. If yours does, you can use it to transfer the APK.

7. How to Mirror a Screen on Android TV

Some Android TV devices—such as the Nvidia Shield—have Chromecast functionality built into them. In such cases, you need to cast your phone or tablet’s screen How to Cast Your Screen: Wired and Wireless Solutions to Share Your Screen How to Cast Your Screen: Wired and Wireless Solutions to Share Your Screen There are many situations where you might want to mirror your smartphone or PC display to the giant TV in your living room. There are multiple ways to do this, both wired and wireless. Read More to your set-top box in the same way you would for a regular Chromecast.

If your device does not have Chromecast support, you’ll need a third-party app. We recommend Screen Stream Mirroring Free. It uses VLC (which is available on Android TV) to mirror your mobile device through your Android TV box.

Note that the free version of the app has a time restriction, so you’ll need to upgrade for unrestricted use.

8. Are Android TV Boxes Legal in the US?

Yes! Unequivocally, yes.

If you follow the latest goings-on in the world of cord cutting, you will know that Android TV boxes—commonly referred to as “Kodi boxes” What Are Kodi Boxes and Is It Legal to Own One? What Are Kodi Boxes and Is It Legal to Own One? In this article, not only do we explain what Kodi boxes are, but also offer you a definitive answer on their legality. Read More —have drawn criticism from copyright lawyers.

But don’t worry, there is nothing illegal about the boxes themselves. As long as you don’t use unlawful Kodi add-ons to watch pirated versions of popular TV shows, you’re not doing anything wrong.

9. How to Install Apps on Android TV

Android TV boxes have their own version of the Google Play Store. Unlike the web version of the store, it only shows you content that’s Android TV-compatible. It’s also entirely different visually.

However, despite the different user experience, the fundamental process for installing apps is the same. You need to find the app you want to add to your device, open its Play Store listing, and select Install.

You can also use the web version of Google Play. Head to the apps listing, click on Install, and select your Android TV device from the dropdown menu.

Install app on Android TV from Google Play

10. How to Update Android TV

Finally, let’s look at how to update your Android TV operating system.

In theory, you should see an on-screen popup when an OS update is available, but perhaps you missed it or accidentally dismissed it.

In that case, navigate to Settings > Device > About > System Upgrade.

Answering More Android TV FAQs

These 10 questions answer some of the most common Android TV questions on Google, but we’re aware that we might not have covered the topic you were looking for.

But don’t worry, we’ve covered more on Android TV. Check out our Nvidia Shield setup guide for lots of advice and tips, or our complete guide to the Android TV Settings menu The Complete Guide to the Android TV Settings Menu The Complete Guide to the Android TV Settings Menu If you have an Android TV device, this guide will help you decipher all the various settings available to you. Read More .

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  1. Neal Davis
    June 11, 2018 at 3:21 am

    Hi Dan,
    As a complete novice, struggling to learning everything about TV boxes, I found this piece to be tremendous helpful. Thank you so much, from Bangkok, Thailand.

    I'm writing not only to express my gratitude, but also to ask whether there's hope for my situation. I have a Minix box that I no longer use -- the service that I used (it was illegal) in Thailand was closed by the Thai authorities. But, now I have legally subscribed to Netflix, and have been watching it on my desktop widescreen Mac monitor. My question: Is there any way that I can use my Minix box to watch my Netflix subscription? I can connected the box the internet; and I can connect my old non-Smart Samsung TV to the Minix TV box, but I don't have the Netflix program downloaded. I'm stuck. Do I have to buy a special new Android TV box in order to set up watching streamed content on my TV? I would be grateful for whatever comment you might have. Can I load Netflix onto my Minix box? If yes, how"

    Thank you.
    Neal Davis