Over the course of our Android TV coverage, there is often reference made to using the Android TV Remote Control app on your smartphone. However, we have not particular covered what the remote control is. As a result, for those new to Android TV, the Nexus Player or those who simply have not tried the remote control app, here is a quick catch-up.
The Android TV Remote Control app is an official Google offering and can be picked up from the Play Store. The actual app is quite simple to use and does not contain much in the way of features. However, when it comes to searching for programs and general navigating, the app often performs better than both the Asus remote control or GamePad. To download the app, head over to the Play Store listing. Once downloaded and opened, you will immediately be presented with a screen showing your nearby Android TV devices. That is, as long as you are connected to the same WiFi network.
Simply click the device you want to control. At which point you will be presented with a connecting screen.
This will be followed by a code appearing on the Android TV main screen.
Now, the app does not come with any main instructions, but there are a couple of extra features. In its launch mode, the app will appear in a D-Pad layout. In this layout, you can simply click the directional arrows to navigate in the direction you want. With the center button representing your 'enter' button.
However, there is a brief settings menu up in the right-hand top corner of the screen.
By clicking here and then clicking on "Layout" you will be presented with two options "D-Pad" and "Trackpad".
If Trackpad is selected, then the control of the device will change to a trackpad based one where you can simply glide your finger across the screen to control the on-screen navigation. Including clicking anywhere in the trackpad box to enter, play, pause and so on.
Of course, one of the biggest benefits of the remote control app is the on-screen keyboard, which can be used to more quickly type searches or web browsing, instead of using the slow on-screen controls and the physical remote control.
Other than that, it is worth pointing out that you do not need to keep the app permanently open. Once you have selected a program or function, you can return to your main homescreen on your phone. The control will then appear as a notification on both your lockscreen and in the notification panel at the top left-hand of your screen. From here, you can quick launch the app or close it indefinitely if you want.
Overall, the app is not perfect and is missing a lot of features like a complete lack of customization and also a lack of ability to control the volume. Either way though, if you do own an Android TV device, it is worth downloading as there are times when it will come in handy. Especially, when you cannot find your physical remote control.