Google has introduced some restrictions on Android TV apps and games. You can either download the app through the Play Store on the TV itself or browse your computer and install remotely. Even so, there are many apps that appear to be compatible with the Web Play Store, but when installed they are nowhere to be found in the Android TV Leanback Launcher. This usually means that the app is not fully optimized for Android TV, but it could still be working properly (with remote and / or controller compatibility), except that you can not access it by default. The solution so far has been installation Launch of Sideload, an app that shows you all your Android TV apps, including hidden ones. But now there is another alternative: Tv App Repo.
Instead of showing your hidden apps, Tv App Repo (TAR for short) lets you create shortcuts for them in Leanback Launcher, allowing you to access them right away from your carousel or list of apps without having to open them. something like Sideload in advance.
The application is very simple to use. If you have some applications for which you want to create shortcuts, you will complete them in a few minutes and you will not need to open them again until you have installed another non-optimized application.
When you first start TAR, you see the main section: Leanback shortcuts. These are the applications you have installed do not you have icons in Leanback that you might want to create shortcuts for. In my case, Causality is a game I installed from the Play Store where it appears as compatible with NVIDIA SHIELD, but does not appear on the launcher.
Tv App Repo menu (left) and list of hidden applications, including Causality (right).
Once you have selected the application for which you want to create a shortcut, you can either start the process immediately or start Advanced Settings. There you will find a switch to set this game and a URL field to select an icon / banner.
Pop-up window for creating shortcuts (left) and advanced settings (right).
With either the basic or advanced settings, press Create a shortcut and wait about 10 to 20 seconds. In such a short time, TAR creates a small APK for an application that will appear in Leanback Launcher and act as a simple shortcut to open the selected application / game. A toast informs you that the application has been created and downloaded, and then the installation starts immediately. You must enable third-party installation if you are in Nougat or grant a TAR application installation license if you are in Oreo.
Once installed, your shortcut should be in the list of apps and games on Android TV. As you can see in the picture above, Causality is now part of my launcher, although I did not change the icon and the default seems too small. However, when I click on this icon, the full Causality game starts in a few seconds. This is a job well done.
The APKs you created are displayed inside the TAR at Download APK section so you can reinstall them if you ever remove them. Speaking of uninstalling, you can uninstall the shortcut app directly from the launcher, as you would any other, or you can open Android TV settings, go to Applicationsand scroll to find what you want to remove. Keep in mind that there will be two: the μικρό 150KB mini shortcut application and the full application / game that probably weighs a lot more than that.
All my downloaded APKs (left). Two causality applications are installed, one of which is the shortcut (right).
TAR does what it wants to do and packs some other add-ons. For example, there is one Custom shortcuts section for creating shortcuts to your favorite bookmarks (to open in any third-party browser you use) and a setting to delete all downloaded APKs.
The application is hosted on GitHub so you can check his code, write it and contribute to it. If you prefer to go normal, Tv App Repo is free and available in the Play Store.