A smart TV is becoming a common thing in the living room and so is a web browser for TV. It is beneficial to access the internet from your smart TV and take advantage of the large screen.
Android TV does not come with a built-in web browser. Partly because most people won’t use a web browser on a TV, and even if they do, the remote is not built for that kind of browsing experience. However, there are times when you want to use TV to browse the internet of things.
Android TV is a kind of smart TV that uses an Android-based operating system. Its main advantage compared to other smart TVs is the app ecosystem. This gives them a huge advantage compared to other non-android smart TVs that will have a much-limited number of supported applications.
If you are a Google user primarily on other devices, the Google Chrome browser will be a great choice because you can sign in and get access to all your history, bookmarks, and all that you love about your Google account. This allows the user to import all of their activities from Chrome on their PC or smartphone.
The Play Store for Android TV does not even include Google Chrome. As a result, you can only sideload the Android TV app from your smartphone.
The user can connect a wireless mouse and keyboard to your Android TV to experience full Chrome. You can still use the browser, if you don’t have a mouse & keyboard, but without the same level of refinement.
Firefox for Android TV
This browser keeps things very simple for TV users.
The top row is a simple set of icons to Navigate Back and Forward, Reload the current page, Pin (bookmark) the current webpage and switch Turbo Mode off and on,a really cool feature that blocks third-party trackers so you can browse without being tracked. It also speeds up the web pages slightly.
Underneath that are several rows of pinned tiles that you can customize to fit your browsing habits.
You can sign in to your Mozilla account and share tabs between your desktop and your Television. You also have the ability to sync all of your bookmarks and passwords across devices
When you navigate to a page, the URL and search bar remain at the bottom of the screen, but all other buttons and menus disappear.
The biggest drawback to Firefox on Android TV is you need an air mouse to use it, and it’s not available through the Google Play Store, install it through the Aptoide TV app store and with APKMirror websites.
Puffin TV Browser
Puffin has an oversized side menu that disappears as soon as you navigate into the rest of the screen. Clicking into your bookmarks brings them into focus, and everything else gets out of your way.
Another cool feature is that Puffin fills your entire TV screen with the web page you’re on.
There’s no menu or search bar taking up valuable space. You can click a button and pull it up, but it’s not wasting space.
Finally, you don’t need an air mouse to navigate around the screen. There’s a large cursor that you can move around using the D-pad.
The browser features a full-screen mode that enhances viewing experience, as well as a design optimized for TVs.
Puffin offers the ability to download videos from YouTube, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and more.
- Fully compatible with Android TVs
- Fast and smooth browsing experience with interactive and intuitive user interface.
- Watch videos from a variety of websites without any restrictions
- Comes with a bevy of features that make browsing easy, like in-app language translation, inbuilt video streaming service and voice search.
- You can use your TV’s remote to easily browse through movies, TV Shows, and much more.
- It also has an inbuilt media player for playing back all your content
- It’s a standalone app and available to install with no fuzz from the Android TV’s Play Store, making it easy to install and run it on your TV set.
- It has its own QR-generating function, so you can send addresses to your TV by scanning the QR code with your phone.
- You can also use the app as a remote control for your Android TV device (using the same wifi network)
- Unlimited access to your project
- It also supports both Flash and HTML5 video streaming from any website with a YouTube-like player.
- It has limited free usage every day. Once you exhaust that limit, you need to subscribe to its paid plan. If you find the browsing experience seamless then you can go for the paid plan.
TVWeb Browser is specifically designed for the big screen. So, navigation is very intuitive, the UI is laid out making it easy to use the different menus and access web browser-specific things like search engines and history.
The app works well with voice commands and voice search, so you can use your remote to search history, bookmarks and the web, etc. You can even use your Android remote as a mouse cursor within this Android TV web browser.
The TVWeb Browser has the following features
- Inbuilt voice search to help you find anything effortlessly.
- Organize your bookmarks and browsing history at a glance.
- UserAgent switching
- Search engine selection, which allows switching between your desired search engines seamlessly.
- compatible with the Android TV remote for best of experience
- It brings all the content that you need to your fingertips, without the clutter.
- It is open-source and uses Android’s built-in web rendering engine (WebKit). It’s fully compatible with Android TV’s remote and supports tabs, bookmarks, history, shortcuts, and voice search as well, not excluding a tabs in sync feature
- Offers a powerful, intuitive quick browsing experience that lets you browse effortlessly on Android TV.
- It comes with a download manager and allows you to download videos from YouTube and other popular video streaming websites.
- Unlimited, free access for all users.
- The remote control is compatible with the Android TV and it features smooth scrolling for a better reading experience, and scroll through your favorite blogs without having to use the mouse or keyboard.
- Tabs are preserved when you close the browser, so you can start where you left off.
- It has support for multiple tabs, so that you can have more than one TV show episode or video running at any given time.
- The browser is not available on the Play Store so you will have to sideload it on your Android TV.
However, it is currently still under development.
JioPages is made by Reliance Jio and aims to provide optimal browsing experience on low-end devices and is available directly from the Play Store, for hassle-free installation on your TV.
You get a selection of curated videos and the browser supports regional languages as well. Moreover, you can use incognito mode for private browsing
There’s also a built-in PDF reader, a great download manager, and a section for news so you can stay updated with the latest happenings around the world.
It has an inbuilt data saving mode to save on data costs and other features such as Web Push notifications, video streaming, search engines and offers support for various social media
Users can also use the “Off-line Mode” feature which allows browsing without being connected to the internet. This comes in handy for people who are travelling or find themselves in areas with poor internet reception.
Amazon’s Silk Browser for Smart TV
Silk Browser is a 100% free Amazon-proprietary mobile application and is compatible with Android devices that use split-browser architecture to increase loading speeds. It operates on its cloud system and uses machine-learning algorithms to ensure a smooth experience.
The user also doesn’t have to connect a separate remote control as everything can be controlled from the smartphone.
The cloud system allows it to run seamlessly, reducing bandwidth consumption, and saves your storage space, making it a fast, smooth to surf with when online. The only downside is the cloud raises issues of security and privacy.
The best part about using this browser over any web-based option is that there will never be any buffering when trying to stream video so users can expect consistent quality every time they press play.
DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser
DuckDuckGo is another web browser that is popular for protecting searchers’ privacy. It includes several customization options for you to personalize your surfing experience as a Smart TV browser.
Some of the features include:
- Blocks any invasive ads, videos, images – an ad-free browsing experience
- Lets you download any media without other people knowing what you’re viewing.
- Specifically optimizes UI for the large TV screen
- Provides a diverse range of content that is tailored to your preferences instead of relying on algorithms
- A dark mode that’s comfortable for the eyes!
Kiwi browser retains all the functionality of the mobile version and you can use it with a gaming controller or a mouse and keyboard. It offers a sleek interface and clean look, you can even turn the night mode on from the settings which gives it an edge over other browsers.
Kiwi Browser also has an adblocker built in so you can browse without any interruptions and annoying ads.
The integrated translation feature allows you to translate entire web pages to your native language with just a few clicks.
It might not be optimized for Android TV, but the developing team keeps working on it.
Navigation is simplified with a clean user interface, making it comfortable to explore the web.
Samsung Internet Browser
Samsung Internet browser is fast, supports adblockers to block ads and trackers that may be presenting online security risk
The best part of using the Samsung Internet browser on your Android TV is the high contrast mode. This healthy color mode feature would let you browse the internet during night time and help you see better in high-glare or low-light environments. The night mode also lets you tweak the display for a comfortable viewing experience
It also supports multiple languages, including English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian and Spanish.
It has a simple interface that ensures that you’re able to quickly track your activities.
The font size automatically adjusts to the screen size
It also has a feature to let you take screenshots too.
Cast phones screen to the TV
All android tv comes with Chromecast built-in. So, you can easily open the web browser on your phone and then cast it on your TV. Alternatively, if you don’t have Chromecast, you can use third-party apps to cast to Android TV.
Android TV boxes come with built-in Chromecast technology. As such, you can use Chromecast to cast your computer screen to your TV, again allowing you to use any desktop browser you’ve installed.
The downside of using Chromecast to access a browser on Android TV is the lag. It will not be a suitable solution for some tasks, but it’s more than adequate for streaming video and listening to audio.
There are a lot of browserts like Opera, TVWeb, Kiwi, etc. that claim to work on Android TV but they are not optimized for the TV platform.
All the web browsers on this list have been confirmed to work effectively with the remote navigation on Android TV.
Some web browsers trick their users into believing that they are compatible with Android TV, but one thing is running an app, another is getting the best of experience from using the app on a particular device.