Android TV boxes let you bring pretty much anything you can do on your Android cell phone to your big screen. This includes streaming and gaming, but what about browsing the web?
Android TV boxes don’t tend to come with a web browser installed, because Android’s standard web browser doesn’t play well with Android TV. Why not? It is meant to be used with a touch screen, and on Android TV all you tend to have is a basic remote with very few buttons.
If you do want a web browser for your Android TV box, then, you need to install it yourself. It may seem like extra work, but that can be good news as it means that you can choose one that works well with both the Android TV setup and your preferences.
Read on for our recommendations for the best web browsers for Android TV boxes.
Best Web Browsers For Android TV Box
Below are our picks of the four best web browsers for Android TV boxes. Some are streamlined for the activities that you are most likely to do on Android TV, but we also have some of the mainstream browsers since there is nothing more convenient than using the same browser across all of your devices.
1. Puffin Android TV Browser
Available directly from the Google Play Store, Puffin is one of the few web browsers designed specifically to work with Android TV and its simplistic remote.
- Available in the Google Play store
- Optimized for Android TV
- Fast loading times
- Simplistic interface for easier navigation
The experience looks and feels like an app, with a large side menu that lets you browse, go to bookmarks, return to recently viewed items, or see what is popular or trending.
When you search, the search bar comes up in the middle of the screen, with other content thrown into shadow. You’ll need to use the on-screen keyboard to type in your search terms, but there is a quick navigation menu to get to things like search, back, and reset.
When your desired web page comes up, it takes up the entire screen–without a big URL and search bar taking up valuable real estate but they are also only a click away when you want to move on.
Optimized for Android TV, Puffin is fast; you can spend as little time in your browser as possible and more time enjoying your content.
2. Downloader For Android TV
Most people think of Downloader as a tool for downloading APKs and sideloading apps, but to do that you need to be able to browse the web. Because of that, Downloader can also be used as a decent web browser.
- Available in the Google Play store
- Ideal for finding and sideloading apps
- Works well with standard TV remote control
You can install Downloader from the Google Play store, and then download apps that aren’t in the store from there.
The browser can be used with a standard TV remote, with a red circle functioning as the cursor. You can move this cursor around using the navigation on your standard remote.
This is the ideal browser if the principal reason you go online on your TV box is to download APKs to sideload apps. Downloader also supports installation, making the whole thing a seamless process.
3. Firefox For Android TV
Mozilla has also created a version of their Firefox browser for Android TV that works well. It is not available in the Google Play store, but the APK can be downloaded directly from Mozilla.
- Requires sideloading
- Can be synced with your other Firefox browsers
- Needs an air mouse
What we love about this app is that you can sync with your other Firefox browsers, so you can easily access bookmarks and history that you have made on other devices. Also, there is no clutter at the top of the screen while you are viewing your content, just a discreet search bar at the bottom of the screen.
On the flip side, you do need an air mouse to use this browser properly so if you don’t have one, you’ll need to get one. There is no way to navigate the browser with just the up and down buttons.
4. Google Chrome
If you use Google Chrome on your other devices, there is nothing more convenient than being able to use it on your Android TV as well, as you can sync up to all your other online activities. They don’t make an Android TV version of their app, though, so you will need to sideload the web version of Chrome to get it working properly.
- Sideload from Google Chrome
- Sync across all of your devices
- Requires an air mouse
You can do basic browsing on Chrome with your standard TV remote, as you can scroll and hit the search button, but anything more complex than this will require an air mouse.
The truth is that when it comes to browsing the net, your Android TV box is not the best device to use. You are generally better off whipping out your smartphone for a quick Google, or sitting down with your laptop to disappear down the rabbit hole.
There are times when you want to get online, though, and your TV is the device to do it. In particular, if you want to download anything to install on your Android TV box that isn’t available in a pre-installed app store, or maybe navigate to a website or online video that you want to share with a group.
If you are one of those people who only needs a browser on your Android TV box for functional reasons, and to pull up the rare web page, then you probably want to choose one of the browsers that have been optimized for the box, like Puffin or Downloader. You get limited functionality but they are much easier to use, especially if you are using a basic TV remote.
If you think you will want to browse quite a bit, though, you probably want one of the mainstream browsers that comes with complete functionality. Aligning with the browser that you normally use is probably the main consideration when choosing which browser is right for you.
Bear in mind that while you might get limited functionality with your standard Android TV remote, you really need an air mouse to be able to get these browsers working properly. To that end, you can find our recommendations for the best air mouse devices for Android TV boxes here.
Do Android TV boxes have web browsers?
Android TV boxes do not come with a web browser pre-installed, but you can install a web browser from the Google Play Store, or by downloading an APK.
Which web browser is best for Android TV?
The Puffin web browser is probably the best browser app for Android TV. It is one of the few that have been optimized to work on the device and with the standard TV remote that comes with most Android TV boxes.
While your Android TV box will probably not be your preferred device for browsing the web generally, there are definitely times when you might need to search for and download things.
Which browser is right for you depends on what you want to use it for. If it is just for the occasional search and APK download, you’ll appreciate apps that have all the junk cleared out and are optimized to work with Android TV, such as Puffin TV web browser or Downloader.
If you think that you are going to need more browsing power and functionality, then one of the mainstream browsers that have made an attempt to optimize for Android TV along with an air mouse would be better. These include Firefox and Chrome, and which is right for you probably depends on which one you use on your other devices.
What web browser do you use with your Android TV box? Share your recommendations with the community in the comments section below.