Android TV boxes are some of the best streaming devices on the market. They can act as Kodi boxes, Plex servers, and even gaming consoles. However, they have one odd and significant drawback: they don’t come with a pre-installed browser.
If you search in the Google Play Store on your device, you’ll find a couple of Android TV third-party browsers listed, but Google Chrome is not there. Is it possible to install Chrome on Android TV? Yes! Here’s how.
How to Install Chrome on Android TV
Previously, you used to be able to either install Chrome on Android TV using your computer or (on some Android TV devices) instruct your device to install the app using a voice command. Sadly, neither of those methods works anymore.
Instead, you have two new approaches available to you. Both require you to do some sideloading 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. For the process described in this article, we are going to use Aptoide.
For those who don’t know, Aptoide is an independent Android app store with more than 2,500 apps available for you to download. All the apps on the store are free, meaning it’s worth installing the store on your device regardless of this specific process.
First, you will need to install Aptoide on your Android TV box. You do so 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 Aptoide on your Android TV box, the process of installing Chrome on Android TV becomes straightforward.
Just fire up the Aptoide app and run a search (using the search box at the top of the page) for Google Chrome. Click on the correct search result and select the Install button from the row of options at the top of the listing’s information.
Follow the on-screen prompts to confirm the installation, and Aptoide will take care of the rest.
Once the app is installed, you will find it listed among all your other apps 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.
Doing so has both pros and cons. On the plus side, you’ll have control over which version of Google Chrome you install. That’s useful if one version has bugs or doesn’t work well on your device. However, the flip side is that the app will not automatically update; as Google unveils new Chrome features, you will need to update the app yourself by grabbing a reinstalling a new APK.
So, how can you install Chrome on Android TV using the app’s APK file?
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.
Accessing Chrome on Android TV
Once you have installed Chrome on Android TV, you might not see it listed on your Android TV home screen (depending on the make and model of your device). Some devices will not display sideloaded apps alongside your other regular apps.
There are a couple of ways to access sideloaded apps if they don’t appear automatically:
- 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?
We understand the appeal of using Chrome on your Android TV box. You’ll get access to your extensions, bookmarks, browsing history, and all your other customizations.
But using Chrome on Android TV is not a particularly pleasant experience. The app is not optimized for use with a remote control, meaning that navigating web pages and entering search queries can quickly become a tedious task. That’s why apps like Puffin are so good; they are optimized for TV remotes, and thus the entire experience is much more fluid. Frankly, it is probably better to cast your Android phone screen directly to your streaming box and use Chrome 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.
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