Google TV gives the new Chromecast a home screen of curated content from your various streaming subscriptions, but just that – a home screen app. Underneath, Google’s new dongle runs Android TV, which means that the start screen is just a launcher that can be installed on countless other televisions and set-top boxes.
Google may make this new user interface available to other Android TV devices such as the Nvidia Shield, Mi Box, and Sony TV. Until then, however, you can download them from the page. You’ll have to use a computer to send an ADB command to the TV, but this process has recently been streamlined to the point of being practically a click of the mouse.
What you will need
- Android TV device with Android 9 or higher
- Windows, Mac or Linux computers
: Download the Google TV LauncherX home screen app from the side
On your computerFirst, download LauncherX. This is the actual home screen app extracted from the new Chromecast that offers the Google TV user interface.
Now you need to download this file from the site to your Android TV device. Here is a quick guide for that:
- Upload the LauncherX APK to Google Drive.
- Install File Commander from the Play Store on your TV.
- Add your Google Drive account to File Commander.
- Click and open the APK to download.
- In the popup, click on “Settings” and enable the “Install other apps” permission for File Commander.
- Return to Google Drive in File Commander.
- Click the LauncherX APK again.
- At the prompt, click Install.
If this is your first time sideloading an app on Android TV, or if you just need a little more help with this part, check out our full tutorial below:
Step 2: enable developer options
On your televisionNext, you need to enable the hidden Developer Options menu. For most devices, go to the main settings list, select Device Settings, then About. On some televisions, the Info menu may be in a different location.
In the Info menu, scroll down and highlight it To build Listing. Now press OK or Select on your remote control 7 times in a row. It’s like quickly clicking the build number over and over again. If done correctly, a toast message displays, “You are now a developer!”
Step 3: enable wireless debugging
Now go to the newly unlocked menu by going to the list of Android TV settings, selecting “Device Settings”, then scrolling all the way down and selecting “Developer Options”.
Activate the switch next to “Network Debugging” in the middle of the list. After 5 or 10 seconds, the text under the heading “Network Debugging” should change to “Enabled On” and then to an IP address. Take a picture of this IP address, you will need it later.
Some devices may not have the wireless debugging option. In this case you need to enable USB debugging (also in the developer options) and connect your computer to your TV or set-top box with a USB cable.
Step 4: Get the Platform Tools from Google
Now back on your computer, download the platform tools from Google. This is a small first-party ZIP file that contains files that your computer can use to communicate with your TV or set-top box using ADB commands.
After downloading, extract the zip file to your desktop. You’re going to want to place that Platform tools Folder right on your desktop.
Step 5: Open a command window in Platform-Tools
If you’re on Windows, press the Windows key on your keyboard, type “cmd” and press Enter to open a Command Prompt window. If you’re on Linux or Mac, just open the Terminal app.
Now enter CD At the command prompt, add a space. but don’t hit Enter yet. Instead, drag the Platform Tools folder that you extracted from your desktop and drop it right above the command window. This will fill in the location of the folder. If so, press Enter.
Step 6: Connect the TV
If you had to use USB debugging in step 3, connect your computer to your TV or set-top box. If you were able to use wireless debugging, make sure your TV and computer are on the same network and type the following into the command prompt:
If you are on Linux or Mac and you get a “command not found” error after sending the command above, all you need to do is send it again with a period and a slash at the beginning. Copy and paste the following command, replace the IP address with yours, hit Enter and you should see that Authentification failed Error.
“Authentication Failed” sounds bad, but it is a good thing. This means that your command window is working properly and ADB will see the TV on your network but the connection has not yet been allowed.
Over on your televisionA popup should appear at this point. Use the arrow keys to highlight the check box next to Always allow from this computer, then press OK or Select on your remote control to enable it. After activation, select “OK” at the prompt.
Back on your computerClick once on the Command window to make sure it’s selected, then press the up arrow on your keyboard. This will re-fill in the last command sent so you don’t have to retype it. So if you see the “adb connect” command again, hit enter and it should say Connected or Already connected.
Step 7: Disable the Stock Home Screen app
Now copy and paste the following command into the command prompt. Go ahead and hit enter. Then the terminal should return a “Success Message” almost immediately.
adb shell pm uninstall --user 0 com.google.android.tvlauncher
If you get the “Command not found” error again, resubmit the command with a ./ at the beginning and you should get this “success” message:
./adb shell pm uninstall --user 0 com.google.android.tvlauncher
If you’re still having problems, you may need to install ADB drivers on your computer. Please see our full guide below for troubleshooting steps to connect ADB.
Step 8: make sure that Google TV is the default launcher
Now press the home button on your remote and you should be greeted by the Google TV setup wizard. If not, a prompt will appear. Select “TV Home” and “Always” to make it your default home screen app. You should then be prompted to set up Google TV.
Step 9: have fun with Google TV!
Now you can play around with the next generation user interface. Your home screen is the To you Tab that starts with a line “Top Picks for You” followed by a customizable line of your Top 12 Apps and an “All Apps” button. If you keep scrolling down, you’ll see why it’s so beautiful – the recommendations are certainly numerous, and if you’re a regular Google user, they are spot on too.
For YouTube TV users, the Living tab is basically an integrated version of your live TV program guide. The Movies and Shows Tab are very similar To you, filtered by media type only.
You will notice some minor glitches like this search tab sometimes kicks you back to the To you Tab after a choppy animation. LauncherX may depend on additional apps from the new Chromecast for some functions. So I’ll keep tinkering with the page loading software and update this page when I find corrections.
Back to the old home screen
If you want to go back to your TV’s old launcher, repeat steps 5 and 6 to get ADB working again, then send the command listed below. Then just hit the home button on your remote and the Google TV interface should be gone.
adb shell cmd package install-existing com.google.android.tvlauncher
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