As someone starts to tinker with the Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, or Fire TV Edition television, it’s almost inevitable that they install a file manager. Now that File Commander has sadly dropped support for Fire TV devices, the list of good and free file managers in the Fire TV Appstore consists of ES File Explorer, Total Commander, and Data Manager, so it’s notable when a new one joins the group. TvExplorer is a new file manager that just arrived in the Fire TV Appstore a few days ago. Unlike the other three file managers mentioned, it was made specifically to be used on a television streaming device.
TvExplorer’s biggest advantage over other Fire TV file manager apps is its simple interface and remote-friendly navigation. It might not be able to do as much as an app like ES File Explorer, but its simplicity might make it the preferred file manager to choose if it’s able to do what you need to get done. Unfortunately, the app was clearly designed for Android TV first and then ported over to the Fire TV. This causes issues and a lack of certain capabilities.
Most apps not created specifically for the Fire TV don’t handle the difference between internal and external storage correctly, and TvExplorer is one of those apps. It treats internal storage as the /system directory and external storage as the /sdcard directory, even though both of those reside on the Fire TV’s internal storage. As a result, the app is unable to access data on actual external storage through the USB port, microSD card slot, or an OTG cable.
TvExplorer has a pretty good and quick search function to find files. A search icon is always at the top of the screen and can be used to search the directory, including sub-folders, that you’re currently viewing. Just ignore the prompt to “Speak to search…” since that’s an artifact of the app’s Android TV origin. To use the Fire TV’s speach-to-text capability, you must first bring up the onscreen keyboard, as you would in any app.
The app has the usual file management functions that you’d expect, such as renaming, deleting, and moving files. Although the “cut” capability seems to be broken, so you’ll need to copy and then delete a file to move a file. Viewing the properties of a file will display the full path, file size, and modified date of the file.
TvExplorer can handle many types of files internally thanks to its various viewers. It has a PDF viewer, an audio/video player with the ability to resume playback, a photo viewer, a code viewer, and a text viewer built in. If you select an APK, it will begin installing it if you have apps from unknown sources enabled in the Fire TV’s settings.
The file manager has a screen to display current disk usage, but it’s mostly useless. All it does is display the above screen without any way to dive into the breakdown of specific directories. Since the app handles internal vs external storage incorrectly, you’re better off using the Fire TV’s default storage display under settings.
One of TvExplorer’s most advanced features is its “WIFI Share” capability that allows you to upload and download files to and from your Fire TV remotely through a web browser on a PC or mobile device. After starting the server, you enter the IP address given by the app in a browser to view the Fire TV’s files remotely. You can download any file off of the Fire TV, but can only add files that are less than 5MB unless you pay $1.99 to unlock unrestricted uploads.
The WiFi sharing feature also suffers from the app’s Android TV origin because it does not work over ethernet. The app complains that WiFi is disabled when the Fire TV is connected over ethernet, so the remote management feature only works when your Fire TV is connected to your network through WiFi.
When you are connected over WiFi, the sharing feature works very well. The browser interface is very easy to use and even gives access to the same search functionality found in the app. While uploading files to the Fire TV, the transfer rate is displayed on the Fire TV, which is a nice touch.
TvExplorer is not going to dethrone ES File Explorer as the top Fire TV file manager, but it’s a decent alternative for those looking to do very simple file management, especially if you’re fed up with ES File Explorer’s navigation issues. If you just need to quickly rename, delete, move, unzip, or open a few files on the Fire TV, TvExplorer is worth a look. If the developer addresses some of the current issues in a future update, it has the potential to be a great file manager.