Browser Plugin now available for Downloader app on Android TV

When I released my Downloader app on the Google Play Store for Android TV devices, I was forced to remove the built-in browser because Google would otherwise not approve the app. I’m happy to say that I have come up with a solution that allows Android TV users to restore the browser part of the app back in by sideloading a browser plugin that I am releasing today.

Installing the Downloader Browser Plugin is very simple. Just enter browser.aftvnews.com into the address bar on the Downloader’s home screen and the plugin will download and install. Since it is being sideloaded, you, of course, have to first have enabled “Unknown sources” from the “Security & restrictions” menu in Android TV’s settings area. Once the plugin APK is installed, Downloader will automatically detect it and the built-in browser will be available, just like it is on the Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, and Fire TV Edition television.

I gave Troy over at TROYPOINT.com early access to the browser plugin and he created a great video showing exactly how to install the browser plugin. He also goes over the Downloader’s functionality as well as showing how to sideload Downloader on generic Android streaming boxes that don’t have access to official Android TV apps.

This browser plugin for my Downloader app on Android TV devices is currently in Beta and does have a few minor issues. The most notable one is a bug that occasionally causes the mouse cursor in the browser to disappear when selecting text fields on web pages.

I would love to pay my developer to fix these last few remaining issues, but I’ve already sunk way more funds into the Android TV version of my app than I originally anticipated, due to Google requiring the browser be removed which necessitated the creation of the browser plugin. I can’t justify improving the Android TV version of the app any further until at least enough donations come in to cover what I’ve already paid my developer up to this point. Please consider donating to the app through the in-app donation buttons on the home screen if you appreciate me bringing the app to Android TV and if you want me to continue improving the app. Alternatively, you can support me and the app through Patreon.

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11 comments
  1. tech3475 says:

    Did they give a specific reason for the removal? Android has a web browser as part of the SDK and third party browsers exist, so it seems weird to me to not allow yours.

    • AFTVnews says:

      I agree, it was very weird and unexpected to get rejected, since there are already full fledged browsers approved for Android TV. All they said is “we do not accept browser functionality in Android TV at this time” and when I pointed out the other browsers they said “any perceived compliance or non-compliance of other developers’ apps has no bearing on the compliance of your own apps.”

  2. Scott says:

    Any future plans to bring this amazing app to fire tablets?

  3. Charlie says:

    Installed browser plugin and successfully installed Kodi on my Nexus Player. Nice alternative to always using ES.

  4. Joe says:

    Why would one sideload a plugin for a browser when presumably one could sideload the original app that had the browser included? Just seems like that would make more sense if already going the sideloading route?

    • AFTVnews says:

      It’s always best to install an app from an appstore when possible because then the app will automatically update when a new version is available. If you sideload the entire Downloader app, which anyone is more than welcome to do, you’ll need to manually update it yourself every time a new version is released.

      I’ve coded Downloader so that if you install the Google Play Store non-browser version and sideload the browser plugin, the main app coming from Google will automatically update the plugin if necessary so you never need to sideload any updates in the future.

      • Charles says:

        I’ve been unable to get this plug-in to load on my Shield TV. Each time I get a “An unknown error has occurred. Check your URL and connection” message. Even though I’ve carefully checked the URL and I know the connection is fine. Any suggestions or tips on how to make this work for me? Thanks again for all the great work you do with this site (I have 3 Devices and the Shield) and the software.

        • AFTVnews says:

          For anyone interested or having the same issue, I emailed Charles and we determined that the issue was due to not allowing the Downloader app permission to access the device’s file system when Android makes the request the first time the app is launched.

  5. Jon says:

    Ok I am following the steps to load this on my Minix android box but the app is not showing up in the google play store. Where can I download the app from?

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