Since streaming set-top boxes and consoles first hit the market people have been trying to figure out how to make them do more than they were originally designed to do. That was, for instance, the impetus behind XBMC the unofficial Xbox Media Player.
Right now the most powerful Android TV set-top box on the market is the Nvidia Shield. There has been a lot of confusion about Android TV and its relationship with the Android ecosystem. There are a lot of differences between say an Android TV console like the Nvidia Shield and say a Nexus phone. One of the biggest differences is that phones and tablets come installed with a browser. Android TV devices, on the other hand, do not.
Why would you want a browser on a TV box?
There are a few reasons. First of all, there may be websites with video content you want to access. In some cases you may want to get a look at pictures online on a bigger screen. If you are telling your kids about a volcano in Hawaii it is nice to be able to use a TV as a visual aide. But in the case of the tinkerers out there, browsers aide in sideloading devices and adding programs that were not in place, to begin with, but maybe should have or could have been. Until recently browsers had to be added to Android TV devices via a number of tricky means. But now you can add a very good TV based browser to the device directly from the Google Play Store. It’s called Puffin TV. The browser installs in seconds and sets up a great app like home page complete with bookmarks and shortcuts to make accessing websites a breeze.
Just go to the site and get it
So you keep hearing about this great new app you want to try that isn’t in the store. Go get it. The browser can be explored using the basic remote for your device without any extra programs or apps. Need to scroll down? Press the directional button down and a cursor button will drag the page right where you want it. Want to click a link, move the curse over and press ok. And when you do download content you can download it directly to your device or save it to cloud sources like Google Drive or Dropbox. Puffin TV is sort of the solution we have all been waiting for.
One Thing You Need
Besides the Puffin TV browser, you will need a file browser in order to access your devices downloads folder. There are dozens in the Google Play Store. My favorite is actually the TV File Commander. It works great on Android TV devices and has a simple interface. After you download a program to your device you will need to access the file explorer in order to load the new content. With those two tools, you should be ready to go.
See our video for a full demonstration