Google held their annual developer conference last week and there were a number of new announcements that came through including the confirmation of a number of new incoming Android TV devices like the Xiaomi Mi Box. That is as well as a number of apps which will be gaining support for the platform too. Whether you already own an Android TV device, or are starting to consider picking one up, there are a number of staple apps you should install. Some offer improved functionality, while others lead the way in performance. Either way, they are the must-have apps for Android TV.
ES File Explorer
For Android TV users of any level, ES File Explorer is an app you should have installed on your system. At the more superficial level, this is the most Android TV-optimized file manager app, while at a more advanced level, this one offers a number of advanced features like the ability to easily transfer files from another Android device that also has ES File Explorer installed. Great tool app for Android TV
This one will come as no surprise as this is one of the most popular video content apps out there. With Android TV designed for the TV, there are few apps which are so naturally Android TV-ready as the likes of Netflix. You do need a Netflix subscription of course, but otherwise, another must-have app.
Another app which any advanced Android TV owner will tell you to download is Kodi. And they are right. Kodi is a great all-round app and offers a nice way to view or play all kinds of content including your videos, pictures, audio and so on. For the more advanced users, Kodi has some neat tricks up its sleeves too.
Now this app is not exactly ready for Android TV and as such, you cannot just head over to the Google Play Store and download it. In spite of being a Google App, it has yet to gain official support for the platform. However, you can sideload it to your Android TV by using an app like ES File Explorer. If you have an Android TV device which has a dedicated storage option, like the NVIDIA SHIELD, then you can place a copy of the app on an SD card and sideload it that way. Once installed, the user interface is not the most friendly (after all, it is not yet fully optimized) but it will provide you with easy access to all your Drive contents.
If you do do sideload Google Drive (or any app for that matter) then you will want an app like Sideload Launcher. When you sideload an app, as it is not yet optimized for Android TV, there is no icon on the main menu (leanback launcher) – this app will fix that exact issue.
If you are someone who is seriously considering cutting the cord, then Sling TV is likely going to be the first step in weaning yourself off traditional subscription TV packages. Sling TV is a no contract option which for a fixed monthly sum will provide you with a selection of live channels. Great options for those who want to take that first step to going cable-free.
Interestingly, in spite of Spotify being one of the most popular music streaming apps on the market, it had yet to be optimized and released for Android TV. That has now changed though thanks to the newly released Spotify app. If you are a Spotify subscriber (and even if you are not), this one will be worth downloading.
The Weather Network
One of the best aspects of Android TV is how universal it is. While you can consume audio and video content, it can also act as an information portal, just like your smartphone. And for that reason apps like The Weather Network are great additions to your Android TV app catalog.
Now this app is more for those who have picked up the NVIDIA SHIELD than any other Android TV device as it does seem perfectly optimized for the SHIELD, due to the SHIELD's high-emphasis on gaming. However, whatever device you do own, Twitch is a great app to watch others game.
If Twitch is the YouTube of the gaming world, then it should take little explaining as to why you should have YouTube installed on your Android TV. This is by far one of the most useful Android TV apps for new and existing owners alike, although, chances are you do already have it installed.