Desktop Program Re-Compiles APKs for TV

The APK2TV tool

There are over a million apps in the Google Play Store, and the majority of them are designed to look and work best on a phone. These apps could scale their layouts for tablets and even TVs in a single apk. A lot of them don’t look very good on these form factors, but they can still run.

In fact, many phone apps can be sideloaded to a TV and they’ll work fine. You’ll be able to use a remote to navigate and do actions just like on a phone. It won’t look fantastic, there won’t be a cinematic experience, but it’ll be usable. There are in fact only a few steps that are required to make an app run on Android TV.

  • Make sure there’s support for Dpad input
  • Add a banner
  • Add a LEANBACK_LAUNCHER intent
  • State that a touchscreen is not a required feature
  • Set a few other optional attributes

Some developers don’t want to put in the effort to test their app on a TV, but a new program created in part by user Shane_R_Monroe on the Nvidia GeForce Forums gives anyone the ability to add TV support to their favorite apps.

The program works by decompiling the apk, editing some lines in the manifest, adding a custom banner, and then recompiling the app with a fake signature.

It’s a simple tool that is primarily designed to add support for the Leanback Launcher. If the app didn’t run well on Android TV this will not fix it. All the same, if you know of a particular app that you’d like to sideload, you can download and install the tool APK2TV.

Nick Felker

Nick Felker

Nick Felker is a student Electrical & Computer Engineering student at Rowan University (C/O 2017) and the student IEEE webmaster. When he's not studying, he is a software developer for the web and Android (Felker Tech). He has several open source projects on GitHub ( Devices: Moto G-2013 Moto G-2015, Moto 360, Google ADT-1, Nexus 7-2013 (x2), Lenovo Laptop, Custom Desktop. Although he was an intern at Google, the content of this blog is entirely independent and his own thoughts.

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