With the launch of Chromecast with Google TV, Android TV got its biggest interface update in several years. If you do not want to wait to get the new interface on your older Android TV streaming device, you can download it now.
Android TVs will slowly be upgraded to the new “Google TV”; interface in the coming years. The most noticeable change is the renewed home screen. By installing some apps, we can get the new experience right now before the big update rolls out.
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Before we begin, there are some requirements you must meet. First, your Android TV digital box, TV or dongle must have Android 9 or higher. You can check this by going to Settings> Device settings> About> Version.
Note: the instructions in this guide confirm that they work on Nvidia Shield TV. Your performance on other Android devices may vary.
There are a couple of files that we need to download to your Android TV. The first file is the Google TV launcher itself. It does most of what you need, but the Search tab does not work. To make it work, we also need to install an updated Google app.
Download these files on your Android phone or tablet, iPhone, iPad or computer. We need to move them to your Android TV device. The easiest way to do this is with a cloud storage service like Google Drive. Upload the two files either through the website or Google Drive mobile apps.
You can then access Google Drive on your Android TV with an app called “File Commander.”
Once the files have been moved to Google Drive, open them on your Android TV using the File Commander app.
When you select APK, you will be prompted to have File Commander install unknown apps. Select “Settings”.
Turn on the power of the File Commander app. You do not have to do this every time.
Now select APK again and click “Install” on the next screen. Do this for both Google TV Home and Google Base APK files.
Now that we have installed the necessary apps, we can replace the old Android TV Launcher. In order to use Google TV Home, we must first uninstall the old launcher. Because Android TV Launcher is a system app, it requires a little extra work to uninstall it.
First select the gear icon on your Android TV home screen to open the Settings menu.
In the settings, scroll down and select “Device settings”.
Select “About” at the top of the settings.
Scroll down to “Build” and select it repeatedly until a message says “You are now a developer!”
Press the back button on the remote control and select the newly added “developer options”.
Turn on the “Network Troubleshooting” switch. This allows us to send ADB commands to Android TV from our Android phone or tablet.
Then download an Android phone or tablet and install “Remote ADB Shell” from the Google Play Store.
Open the app and enter the IP address of your Android TV device. To find this on your Android TV, navigate to Settings> Device settings> About> Status> IP address. Hold the port number as
Press “Connect” after entering the numbers.
A message appears on your Android TV. Select “OK” to activate the wireless connection.
Your smartphone or tablet is now connected to the TV. We use a command to uninstall Android TV Launcher. Type this command and press Enter:
pm uninstall --user 0 com.google.android.tvlauncher
If the command worked, you will see a message saying “Success.”
Now when you click the home button on your Android TV remote control, it takes you to the new home screen (it may take a few seconds to charge it). Now you have the Google TV experience on your Android TV! And since we installed the Google app, the Search tab should also be functional.
It is worth noting that this is just Google TV on the surface. There are other features, including the redesigned settings menu, that require firmware update. Until then, you can enjoy a whole new look.