Android TV: 23 tips and functions to master your Smart TV
By Sigismondo Eisenhower 2019-08-05 3596 0
Make Android TV as a Chromecast
We start with one of the basic functions of Android TV, one of those that serves as a weighty argument for its use. And is that most devices include Google Cast technology, which in turn allows you to use your TV or box connected to Android TV as Chromecast. In cases like those of devices like the Mi Box TV, which cost similar to a Chromecast, is a good reason to bet on them.
Another advantage of being able to use Chromecast technology is that it will allow you to see your mobile screen on TV using the mirroring option. So, if there's something on your mobile that you want to show everyone you're going to have very easy.
Add a remote control for your games
Android TV also has its small catalogue of adapted games. They usually allow you to play using the remote control of the device on which you install them, but this does not always give you the best and most comfortable experience. That's why Android TV also lets you connect a Bluetooth remote.
All you have to do is enter the Settings option and choose the add device option. In devices like the Mi Box you can find a Remote control and accessories for it. You can also use the remote to navigate through the menus as well as play. Remember that both the PS4 and the latest versions of the XBox One controller can also work via Bluetooth.
You can also use keyboard or mouse
And by the same token, you'll also be able to sync a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. To do this, you also have to go to the Settings menu and choose the option to sync devices. Remember that to perform the process, mouse and keyboard must have Bluetooth and be in sync mode. This can help you, for example, to type better when you want to search or surf the Internet with your Android TV.
Also useful for surfing the Internet
Although Android TV allows multiple browsers, many may not work well or may not be easy to use without a keyboard and mouse. As you've just seen these you can connect them via Bluetooth, but if you don't have this possibility you can also use other alternatives.
One of them is TVWeb Browser, a browser adapted to work better on TVs and be easier to use. Its negative side is that the interface is quite ugly and poor, but it fulfills the function of being used well without keyboard or mouse. If you know other alternatives, I invite you to tell us in the comments.
Use your mobile as a remote control
If you're one of those who never knows where you left your remote, there's an application that lets you turn your smartphone into a remote for any Android TV device. The application is called Android TV Remote Control, and all you need is to have both devices connected to the same WiFi.
When you run the application, after asking you for some permissions you will go to a screen that will show the name of the compatible Android TV device that is within reach of the mobile. After clicking on the name of the device, the app will ask you to enter a code that will have appeared on the screen of the TV where you have connected the device. Enter it and you're done, your mobile will sync and now it will show you a remote control interface.
Send images and files to any device
One of the most difficult things about this device is moving any type of local file to your computer. The easiest thing is to use a file explorer to send these photos and files to a USB, and from there to the computer, but sometimes these applications fail or are not able to copy several files at once, which is what happened to us with the screenshots in this article.
The solution is the cloud. If you install the ES File Explorer application, in the left column you will have a Cloud section where you can configure your Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive or Dropbox account. Even so, as ES File Explorer is getting worse lately, there are other alternatives like MiXplorer or even the Xiaomi file manager that may also interest you.
Install applications by other means
Like the conventional mobile version of Android, the TV version should also allow you to install applications from external sources such as a USB, or even download your APK from the Internet. To do this, you only have to activate the option to install them from unknown sources, which is usually in the Security and Restrictions section.
To do this, look for the APK you want and download it or put it in a USB. Then use a file browser like ES File Explorer to browse the unit and run the APK file with the app you want to install. Keep in mind that if it is not an Android TV application it may not work properly.
Use voice control
Most Android TV devices have a dedicated microphone button on the remote control. It opens up a wide range of options, such as being able to search for content directly with your voice, open applications, or make changes to settings. But it's not all or the best you can do with it either.
Don't forget Google Assistant
And the best thing is that since December 2018 Google Assistant has begun to reach Android TV, and that allows everything you can do with your device to multiply exponentially. And if your TV remote doesn't have a microphone, you can also install the Android TV Remote Control application that we told you a while ago.
As for what you can do with Assistant on your Android TV, you can control everything from volume to playback to get started. You can also use it to open and control YouTube videos, Netflix movies and series or your Spotify music, not to mention all the other actions the wizard allows you to perform.
Blocks offensive words
If you want to prevent the person using the device from searching for bad words with the voice functions, you can activate a specific protection for this. To do so, you'll need to enter the Device Settings and search for voice preferences where you can activate the option to block offensive words.
In the same configuration, you can also activate the safe search filter to prevent the voice wizard from being used to search for content that isn't suitable for everyone.
Blocks access to apps with restricted profile
Android TV has a system called restricted profile. You can activate it in the Security and Restrictions options, and in doing so you will have to enter a PIN. When you set the PIN, you will see a list of your installed apps and you will be able to choose which ones you have access to with the restricted profile and which ones you do not.
This serves as a sort of parental control. Once you have configured it, if a user wants to see more applications than you have set up, they will have to enter the PIN you have configured. No more applications can be downloaded or purchased without this PIN.
Block Google Play purchases
In Google Play settings you can also set up the Request Authentication action, which you can use to ask for your Google Play password every time you go shopping or every 30 minutes. This will prevent accidental and unwanted purchases on your profile.
Take a screenshot
Yes, with Android TV you can also take screenshots, and it's as easy as taking them on your mobile. The method may change depending on the device, but usually you only need to combine two buttons at once, such as the power button and turn down the volume of the remote control. You will see a capture animation, and it will be saved in the path /sdcard/Pictures/Screenshots/.
Expand internal storage space
Each Android TV device may have a certain amount of internal storage which can sometimes be too limited. For those cases, you can expand it by connecting a USB and configuring it as internal storage from the device settings in the Storage and Restore options.
Here click on the USB drive, and in its configuration click on Delete and format as storage device. The USB will be formatted, and then you can use it as a second hard drive for your device. Here's a more detailed explanation if you need it.
Move games and apps to USB
If you have a USB connected to your Android TV, in many models you can also move your games or applications there, whether you have it configured as internal storage or not. To do this, in the applications menu click on the game, so you will see a menu with their data and options such as to open it. Here, click on the Storage used option.
When you do, you will see on which storage unit you have installed the game, which will usually be the internal storage. If you have a USB connected it will also appear, so to move the game you only have to click on USB Flash Drive to start the process of moving the files. But look at the available storage, because if it's bigger than that you'll get a message telling you there's no room for the game.
Disable automatic app updates
But if you don't have the ability to use a USB to increase the storage capacity of your Android TV, you also have other options when it comes to controlling a little bit of the space you have to avoid slowing down your device or TV. For example, disable automatic updates of all your applications and only let certain apps do it.
To do this, you'll need to enter the Google Play Store application and go to its settings. In them you will see some option related to the automatic update of applications, where you will be able to deactivate them to your liking.
Show more content on your sleep screen
When your Android TV goes into sleep mode, all it displays is a black screen or wallpapers. However, you also have the ability to display more useful information such as time, date or weather information. But that's not all, as there are third-party applications that help you display even more information.
Although it's not compatible with all Android TVs, there are apps like Lucid Daydream that show you information like calendar events or notifications. Another interesting one (and this one works in my My Box) is Photo Gallery and Screensaver, which allow you to use several fonts like Google Photos to put your galleries as wallpapers.
Take the audio from your TV to your mobile
This is a curious little trick you might be interested in. Imagine you're watching something at night and you don't want to bother your family or your roommates with the noise of the TV. Well, there is the possibility of taking the audio from Android TV to your mobile while the picture is still on the TV.
This is one of several options in the LocalCast application, which works on multiple devices and allows you to route sound from one to another with a single click. Just go to the Now Playing screen and click on the Send audio to phone option. It's an option still in beta phase, so maybe some time it still fails.
Create your own Netflix or Spotify
And since we're talking about third-party applications, don't forget Plex. You'll be able to do a lot of things with it, but on your Android TV you'll surely get more out of the possibilities of setting up your own Netflix with the content you have on your computer or your own Spotify. Having a native application for Android TV, everything will be much easier when consuming this content that you have synchronized from a PC.
Play with the developer options
As with the mobile version, on Android TV you can also turn on hidden options for developers. To do this just enter the information about the device within the settings, and click seven times on the build number with the central button on the remote control.
When you do, the new developer options menu will appear. In them you will see some options like changing the scales of the animations to make the system seem more fluid, and many other things. However, as they are very advanced options, I advise you not to touch them too much if you don't know what you're doing, as it could affect the performance and operation of your Android TV.
Shut down applications by force
If there is an application that is giving you problems, Android TV allows you to close them by force without having to wait until I finish loading to do so. To do this, go to Settings, and once inside, in the Device section go to Applications. Now, in the Installed Applications category, click on the app that is malfunctioning.
When you click here on an application, it will not open directly, but will first show you a menu with options. In it, click on Force Stop to force it to stop. You will also have an option to Uninstall applications to delete it directly from the device if the problem persists.
Configure (or remove) recommendations
Android TV also allows some applications to show you recommended content, both from the manufacturer of your TV and YouTube, Hulu, Google Play, Netflix and other applications. You may or may not like this, but whatever it is you will always be able to change it from the settings in the recommendations options that will be in the home screen section.
In these options you will be able to activate individually the recommendations of the various applications compatible with them that you have installed. This means that you will be able to activate all of them, just some, or deactivate them completely to have the home screen as clean as possible. It's up to you.
How to reset the factory data
And finally, Android TV will also allow you to reset the device to leave it as if you just bought it as you can do on your mobile. To do this you will have to go to the device settings, and find the Restore factory data option that may be inside the Device section. Once here, you can proceed to delete all the applications and changes you have made.
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