7 Android TV Tips and Tricks to Maximize Your TV Time

Watching TV is one of the most common ways to relax and enjoy your free time. Android TVs can take this experience to the next level by offering on-demand streaming, customization, personalized recommendations, and even video games. Plus, new features are always added to improve your experience, so there’s always something more to discover.

So that you don’t miss out on some of these cool features, we’ve rounded up the best Android TV tips and tricks for you to try. Most of these are quite simple, so you don’t need a lot of technical knowledge, nor do you have to get started with a boring manual.

Do you have a Google TV? Check out our guide to the best tips and tricks for Google TV.

Sony Android TV home screen

Use voice assistant for hands-free operation

Imagine putting on a cool new movie and getting up to grab some snacks. You come back and realize you left the remote in the kitchen. Well, you don’t have to get up anymore. You can simply use the voice assistant to control playback and volume.

Step 1: Just say “OK Google” or “Hey Google” to activate the voice assistant.

Step 2: Give your command. You can say something like, “Turn the volume down.” You can even ask the voice assistant to switch episodes, put on a new show, search the content library, check the weather, and more.

To see all the options you can use with the voice assistant, just say, “What can you do?” This will give you a list of commands you can try.

Android TV remote app.

Use your smartphone as a remote control

Returning to forgetting your remote situation, there is another way to control your Android TV without the traditional remote control. Use your smartphone! Here’s how to set up and control your phone to work as a remote.

Step 1: Download and open the Google TV app on your smartphone.

Step 2: At the bottom right, select the At a distance choice.

Remote option for Google TV app.

Step 3: Choose your TV’s name and follow the on-screen instructions to complete pairing. Now you can use the buttons on the screen of your smartphone as a second remote control.

You can also use one of the third-party apps for Android TV available on the Google Play Store.

Create a watchlist

With so many new shows coming out every month, it can be hard to keep track of everything you want to watch. Fortunately, Android TV allows you to create a watchlist to store all your content to watch.

Step 1: Search for your favorite show or find it on the Discover tab. Hover or long press on the title and you’ll see an option to add it to your watchlist.

Step 2: You can also click on the title to see the detailed view and select the “Follow List” option.

If you are using the Google browser on your laptop or computer, you can search the name of the show and add it to your watchlist directly from the web by clicking the button Watchlist icon under the name of the show.

Watchlist option on Android TV.

Step 3: Now content from your watchlist will appear on your home page for easy access.

Watchlist content on Android TV on the home page.

Improve your Tinder-style recommendations

If swiping on dating apps isn’t enough, you can swipe on shows to improve your recommendations on Android TV. Here’s how to use this feature.

Step 1: Go to the To discover tab on the home screen of your Android TV.

Discover tab on the Android TV home screen.

Step 2: Find the Top picks for you section and you will see a Improve your recommendations knob. Using this option, you can like and dislike movies and TV shows with simple thumbs up and thumbs down icons.

This tells the algorithm what you do and don’t want to see in the future.

Improve your recommendations tool on Android TV.

Customize the home screen

Is your home screen full of irrelevant recommendations from apps you don’t use? Do you hate auto-playing trailers that disrupt your browsing? Well, now you can customize the Android TV home screen according to your unique needs. Here’s how.

Step 1: Go to Settings on your Android TV.

Settings on Android TV.

Step 2: Go to Device Preferences > Home screen.

Android TV home screen settings.

Step 3: Now you get several options to customize your home screen. You can enable or disable previews (trailers), mute/unmute audio previews, and reorder the apps and games that appear on the screen.

Customize the Android TV home screen.

Save money with data saver mode

Don’t feel like paying a hefty internet bill? You can save data using data saver mode on Android TV. Here’s how to enable it.

Step 1: Go to Settings > Network and Internet.

Network and Internet option on Android TV settings.

Step 2: Click on the Data Saving choice.

Android TV data saving option.

Step 3: Choose the appropriate data alert settings to stay under the data limit of your current internet plan.

Android TV data alert settings.

Mirror your phone with Chromecast

If you have a cool video on your phone that you want to watch on the big screen, you can mirror your phone (or laptop) using the Chromecast built-in feature. Here’s how.

Step 1: Make sure your smartphone or laptop and the TV are connected to the same network.

Step 2: Open the file you want to play on your smartphone or laptop. You can also open apps like YouTube and VLC Media Player.

Step 3: Now look for the cast icon at the top. It allows you to mirror the content on your phone to your TV.

Cast icon on YouTube.

Step 4: You can also use the cast feature from your Google browser. Just open the content you want to play and click on the three dots in the top right corner of your browser window. Then select the Form choice.

Cast option in Google browser.

Step 5: Now select the name of your TV and you can mirror everything including photos, videos, files, streaming content and more.

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