Android TV Box is one of the best streaming devices on the market. They can act as Kodi boxes, Plex servers, and even game consoles. However, they have a strange and significant drawback: they don’t have a pre-installed browser.
If you search the Google Play Store on your device, you’ll find several Android TV third-party browsers listed, but Google Chrome doesn’t. So can you install Chrome on your Android TV? That’s right, here’s how:
How to install Chrome on Android TV
Previously, you could use your computer to install Chrome on an Android TV, or (on some Android TV devices) use voice commands to instruct your device to install an app. But now, none of these methods apply.
However, there are two new methods you can use. They all require you to do some side-loading on your Android TV to get the Chrome browser.
1. Use a Third-Party App Store
There are several Google Play alternatives for you to download apps on Android. In the process described next, we will use Aptoide.
Aptoide is an independent Android app store with over 2500 apps for you to download. All of the store’s apps are free, which means it’s worth installing the store on your device regardless of this specific process.
First of all, you need to install Aptoide on your Android TV box. You do it in two ways:
Via a browser: Although Google Chrome is not available in the Android TV version of the Google Play Store, other Android TV browsers are available. The best is arguably Puffin TV-Browser. If you install the browser, you can navigate to aptoi.de/tv, download the installer, and run it from your device’s default file manager.
Via USB: If your Android TV box has a USB port, you can download the Aptoide APK on a desktop machine, move it to a USB, and run the installer from your file manager.
Once you have installed Aptude on your Android TV box, the process of installing Chrome on your Android TV becomes simple and straightforward.
Just launch the Aptoide app and run Google Chrome Search (using the search box at the top of the page). Click the correct search result to select the Install button from the list of options at the top of the list information.
Follow the on-screen prompts to confirm the installation and Aptoide will take care of the rest.
Once the app is installed, you’ll find that it’s listed in all the other apps you have on the platform.
Other third-party app stores worth considering include the Amazon Appstore, F-Droid, SlideME, and Humble Bundle.
2. Download the Chrome APK for Android TV
The other approach is similar, but instead of using a third-party app store as a middleman, it relies on you grabbing a copy of the Google Chrome APK and sideloading it yourself.
There are pros and cons to doing so. On the bright side, you can control the version of Google Chrome you install. This is useful if a version has a bug or isn’t working well on your device. The downside, however, is that the app doesn’t update automatically; when Google releases new Chrome features, you’ll need to update the app by crawling and reinstalling the new APK.
So, how do you use the app’s APK file to install Chrome on Android TV?
To begin, you need a get a copy of the APK file in question. There are lots are places to find Android APK files, but we recommend APK Mirror or APK Pure. Both are among the best sites for safe Android APK downloads. You can download them either via the Puffin TV-Browser mentioned earlier or download them on your computer and transfer it to your box using a USB stick.
Thereafter, use a file explorer on your Android TV device to locate the APK and click on it to start the installation process. There will be a couple of on-screen prompts you’ll need to agree to, but the whole process is fast and painless.
Access Chrome on Android TV
If you have Chrome installed on your Android TV, you may not see it listed on the Android TV home screen (depending on the make and model of your device). Some devices don’t display side-loaded apps with other regular apps.
If side-loaded apps don’t appear automatically, there are several ways to access them.
Settings menu: You can access a complete list of your apps (sideloaded and regular) from the Apps section of the Settings menu.
Use a sideload launcher app: Several third-party Android developers have created apps that live on your home screen and provide one-click access to sideloaded apps on your device. Some of the most popular include Sideload Launcher, Sideload Channel, and Sideload Channel Launcher 2 for TV. Each of the apps has different features, so make sure you try a few to see which one best meets your needs.
Regardless of which method you use, there’s one setting you need to change when you launch Chrome for the first time. Click on the three vertical dots, scroll down, and mark the checkbox next to Request Desktop Site. It will ensure the app takes full advantage of your TV screen’s real estate.
Should You Even Use Chrome on Android TV?
While using the Chrome browser on your Android TV box is appealing, for example – you can access your extensions, bookmarks, browsing history, and all the other customization features.
But using chrome on an Android TV isn’t a particularly enjoyable experience. The app isn’t optimized for using a remote control, which means browsing the web and typing in search queries can quickly become a tedious task. That’s why apps like Puffin are so good; they’re optimized for TV remotes, so the whole experience is much smoother. Frankly, it might be better to cast your Android phone screen directly onto your streaming box and then use the Chrome browser from there.
The lack of an Android TV-optimized version of Chrome remains one of the platform’s big mysteries. However, we are stuck with these workarounds until Google decides to address the issue. At best, we’d recommend installing Chrome on Android TV as a backup browser. It’s fine for accessing certain information but stick with an Android TV-optimized browser for your day-to-day browsing.