Having access to apps like YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and more through the Google Play Store makes smart TVs even more useful. But not all smart TVs come with the Google Play Store pre-installed. If your smart TV didn’t come with the Google Play Store, you may be wondering if you can download and install it yourself. The short answer is yes, it is possible to install the Google Play Store on many smart TVs, but the process varies depending on the model and brand. In this guide, we’ll walk through everything you need to know about getting the Google Play Store on your smart TV.
The Benefits of Having the Google Play Store on Your Smart TV
Here are some of the main benefits of having access to the Google Play Store on your smart TV:
- Download popular apps and games – Get official TV-optimized versions of apps like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Spotify, and thousands more. Many apps in the Play Store are designed specifically for the large screen experience.
- Updates – Apps in the Play Store can easily be kept up-to-date with the latest features and fixes.
- Better discovery – It’s easier to find new apps and games tailored for TV with recommendations in the Play Store.
- Seamless syncing – Apps you already have installed on your Android phone or tablet can be easily installed on your TV with your linked Google account.
- More smart capabilities – Additional apps can add new smart functionality to your TV like Chromecast built-in screen mirroring.
Having a unified app store across your Google devices provides a lot more convenience compared to having separate app stores for your phone and TV. The Google Play Store really expands the capabilities of compatible smart TVs.
Which Smart TVs Support the Google Play Store?
The ability to install the Google Play Store is limited to select smart TV platforms and models. Here are the main smart TV operating systems that support the Google Play Store:
- Android TV – Most smart TVs running Android TV come with the Play Store pre-installed. Many Sony, TCL, and Hisense Android TV models support the Play Store.
- Google TV – Google’s smart TV interface meant to succeed Android TV also has the Play Store built-in. It’s available on new Chromecast dongles and select Sony TVs.
- Fire TV – Amazon Fire TV devices have access to the Amazon Appstore, but it is also possible to sideload the Play Store.
Smart TV platforms that do not support the Play Store include Roku TV, WebOS, Tizen, and others. These platforms have their own app stores with more limited selections. Very old Android TV-based smart TVs may also not be compatible if they are running outdated versions of Android.
Steps to Install Google Play Store on Supported Smart TVs
If your Android TV did not come with the Google Play Store pre-installed, you may still be able to download and install it with the following steps:
- Enable “Unknown Sources” – This allows installation of apps from outside the built-in app store. Go to Settings > Security & Restrictions and enable “Unknown Sources.”
- Download the Play Store APK – Get the latest version of the Play Store app APK file for Android TV from a reputable source like APKMirror.
- Transfer the APK file – Move the downloaded APK to a USB drive or upload it to cloud storage. You will install it directly on the TV.
- Install the Play Store – Use a file browser app on your TV to find the APK file on your USB or cloud storage. Select the file and install.
- Log into your Google account – Open the newly installed Play Store app and add your Google account.
Once logged in, you will have full access to the Play Store and any apps you already have installed on other devices linked to your Google account. Keep in mind that newer apps may only be compatible with newer Android TV software versions.
Fire TV Devices
Amazon Fire TV devices use Fire OS software based on Android, but do not come with Google Play services pre-installed. To get the Play Store on Fire TV, you will need to “sideload” it with these steps:
- Enable ADB Debugging – Go to Settings > My Fire TV > Developer Options. Enable “ADB Debugging” and “Apps from Unknown Sources.”
- Download Required Files – Get the Fire TV ADB Helper, Google Login Service, Google Services Framework, and Google Play Store APKs from a trusted source.
- Connect to Your Computer – Connect your Fire TV device and computer to the same WiFi network. Find your Fire TV IP address in Settings.
- Sideload Apps – Open the ADB Helper app. Enter your Fire TV’s IP address. Use the app to install each APK you downloaded.
- Log Into Google – Launch the freshly installed Play Store and log in with your Google account.
This process gives you full access to all your purchased apps, subscriptions, and recommendations from Google. Keep in mind that sideloading Google apps violates Amazon’s terms of service.
Alternative App Stores for Smart TVs
If your smart TV doesn’t support the official Google Play Store, there are a few alternative third-party app stores you might be able to use instead to get more apps. Here are some top options:
Aptoide TV has over 1,000 Android apps optimized for TVs. Apps need to be sideloaded individually, but the selection includes many popular media apps not found in some TV’s built-in app stores.
AppStarter claims to offer over 2,000 apps compatible with LG, Samsung, Sony, and other smart TV brands. It requires creating an account and sideloading apps through their website.
Smart TV App Store
This app store is designed specifically for Samsung Tizen smart TVs. It provides easy sideloading of many popular apps directly to compatible Samsung TV models.
While the selection is more limited compared to the Google Play Store, these alternative stores can help provide apps and functionality not available through your smart TV’s default app offerings.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does installing the Play Store void your smart TV’s warranty?
Technically, installing apps outside of the default smart TV app store could void your warranty in some cases. However, simply enabling “Unknown Sources” and sideloading extra apps is unlikely to cause any issues that would require warranty repairs for most users.
Can I uninstall the Play Store after installing it?
Yes, just like any other app, you can uninstall the Play Store anytime. This will remove access to all the apps installed through the Play Store as well. Your data and account details will remain intact if you decide to install it again later.
Will all Android apps work on my TV with the Play Store?
The Play Store on Android TVs and Google TVs contains apps optimized specifically for TVs. Other Android apps may not work properly with a remote or large screen even if sideloaded. Apps designed for touchscreens don’t translate well to TVs.
Can I use mobile apps on my TV with the Play Store?
Some mobile apps may work on Android TV devices, but it is not guaranteed. Limited compatibility and control issues often arise. For the best smart TV experience, you should stick with apps designed specifically for televisions from the Play Store.
Is sideloading Google apps illegal?
Sideloading unauthorized apps violates the terms of service on some platforms like Fire TV and risks account bans. While unlikely to be prosecuted, sideloading Google apps does fall into a legal gray area in many cases.
Having access to the Google Play Store opens up a world of possibilities for your smart TV. It provides easy access to thousands of apps optimized specifically for the large screen experience. With some tinkering, the Play Store can be installed on select smart TV platforms like Android TV and Fire TV.
Follow the steps outlined for your TV brand to successfully download and install the Play Store. Be aware that sideloading apps does violate some manufacturer terms of service. While unlikely, warranty coverage could technically be denied for TV issues after sideloading. Overall though, enjoy access to many more useful apps and functions with the addition of the Google Play Store on your smart TV.