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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24 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.

          • Brian D McCloud says:

            Was there a fix for this issue?

          • AFTVnews says:

            The fix is to give the app file access permission. This can be done under the device settings or by uninstalling and then reinstalling the app and making sure to ALLOW permissions when asked.

          • Brian McCloud says:

            Thanks for the response. I have tried the fix you mentioned to no avail. I have uninstalled and reinstalled and still get the restricted access on the browser tab of downloader. I have downloaded the add on 2 different ways and still not working.

          • AFTVnews says:

            I’ll look into it soon to figure out what’s going on.

          • David Moore says:

            I have the same issue as Brian and nothing has worked to resolve this problem. Have you possibly come up with a correction? I have the app on a second shield tv and it works without issue as well on my fire tv boxes too.

          • David Moore says:

            Disregard my reply as I got it working. Instead of having downloader get the browser plug in, I downloaded on my laptop, put on a thumb drive, used File Commander and installed from there.

            Now Downloader is working perfectly!

            Thanks

  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?

  6. Malgorzata Cholewinska says:

    Hello all. I’m pretty new to this android tv adventure. Could you please advice me why I get the pop up with information that file was downloaded to sdcard/Downloader /download file.bin? It won’t open. It was very cheap android box though. Maybe it’s not going to cope rate. I wpukd be very grateful for solution

  7. Aden Taylor Jr. says:

    browser.aftvnews.com it does not work to get the browser plug it says an unknown error has occurred. Check your url and connection and I’ve done that and nothing

  8. tony says:

    downloader does not work on a tx2 box it will load the page i type in but will not bring up keyboard to sign in to my site where i have apk links stored………..again page loads but will not bring up keyboard same thing if i go to fb page will not bring up keyboard to log in…………please help & fix browser plugin thank you…….any other browsers that allow full screen on android box that will download apk’s?

  9. Karen Ann Kinnard says:

    Today April 24, 2018, just received MECOOL M8SProL using your video for setup and the browser plug in will not load at all. Keeps getting connection error. Even tried the url in the downloader and still error no connection.

  10. Steve says:

    doesn’t work……

    Just says error:no connection

    However there is a connection. You tube, Netflix, Hulu and everything else seems to have no issues with a connection. Just this.

  11. tom42 says:

    Thank You, worked great

  12. Maurice Mcdougle says:

    I have the x96 mini verison 7.1.2 and the play store does not have the downloader in side of it. then i try to side load it from their web page and message said not compatible . i have kodi already installed just needa the build and addons

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