Android TV boxes have become very popular for streaming media and playing games.
While mainly used as entertainment units, they are capable of much more.
Here we list some of our favorite tips and tricks to help keep your box running fast, and some features that can come in handy.
Tips and Tricks For Android TV Box Owners
- Turn Off the On-Screen Keyboard
- Install a Retro Game Emulator
- Use Aptoide TV to Install Apps
- Stop Overheating with USB Cooling Fan
- Close All Background Apps
- Edit MS Office Documents
- Use a Mini Keyboard Remote Control
- Hook Up a USB Web Cam
- Use a Keyboard to Restart an Android TV Box
While it may not be a problem for occasional typing, the popup screen can be annoying when a lot of typing is done.
A simple fix for this uses the Null app from the Google Play Store that turns it off.
After it installs go to Setting–>Keyboard–>Current Keyboard and select the Null Keyboard option.
Installing a retro game emulator turns an Android TV box into a nice arcade game box.
There are several emulators available with the most popular called Happy Chick.
It is an app which allows you to download and play pretty much all of the classic games such as Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Neo Geo or pretty much all of the old formats even PlayStation 1 games.
The games are downloaded and played directly thought the Happy Chick app.
I would recommend getting a good Bluetooth controller made for Android such as the GameSir G4S Bluetooth Gaming Controller.
Other controllers such as PS3 units will also work but can have lag at times.
Aptoide TV is an alternative to the Google Play Store and Amazon App store.
Aptoide works on almost any Android device including Fire TV Sticks which gives a great way to break free from Amazon and install what you want.
Many android TV boxes are prone to overheating mainly when playing games.
There are many USB Fans available such as the ELUTENG 1500RPM unit.
Apps running in the background using up unnecessary memory causing slowdowns which can be freed up for better use.
Android TV does a good job at memory management, but sometimes apps don’t close right, or have an error and keep running in the background.
Some apps can still be running in the background even after powering down a unit.
It is easy enough to close out of background apps depending on the controller used.
Closing Background Apps with a Remote Control
Some boxes don’t work with this method; if it doesn’t work for you read the keyboard method next.
Closing Background Apps With a Keyboard
An alternative method is to use a keyboard. This method has worked on all the units I have tested.
It can be any keyboard from the small mini ones to large USB keyboards.
While Android TV boxes do a great job playing videos and playing games, they can do a lot more such as edit and work with Microsoft Office documents.
It is free to do and simply requires downloading an app from the Play Store.
There are several apps available with one of the best being Smart Office.
The standard remote controls that come with Android TV boxes can be limiting at times.
A much better way is to use a mini keyboard with a touch-pad or one of the many other types of controllers.
The onscreen keyboard does work but it is much faster and easier to have a small keyboard to type with.
There are many low-cost keyboards available in all shapes and sizes.
Android TV boxes make for great video chatting devices.
They plug into a USB slot and stream the video on a TV, which is a nice feature if you do a lot of Skyping with friends or relatives.
Not all Web cameras work with Android but many will. I use a Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 which works very well.
If you already have a Web Cam it likely will work, be sure it has a built-in microphone to pick up audio since most android boxes will not have a built-in mic.
If you use a Keyboard there is no need to physically get up to restart a unit having problems.
Like desktop or laptop computers Pressing Ctrl+Alt+Del will reset the box.
The above tips are just a few of the many things that can be done with an Android TV box.
There is no doubt many more good ideas such as adding a printer or USB hub.
While most will continue to use their boxes for entertainment, keep in mind they are nothing more than small computers that can do many things a standard computer can do.
Do you have any favorite tips or tricks? Let us know in the comments below.