If you couldn't make it to Google I/O, and thus couldn't get one of the first Android TV units as part of the developer swag, you can still start developing your apps for the platform's retail debut later in 2014. Google has included Android TV modules in the official Android SDK, underneath the Android L (API 20) package. That includes an emulator specifically for TV, so you should be able to build and test apps without any extra hardware. There was a similar emulator for Google TV.


That being said, an emulator usually isn't an ideal solution, since it will almost certainly be slower than the ADT-1 developer hardware. Considering the higher demands of the media-heavy apps that Android TV will feature, that could be a big hurdle for developers. The more processor power and RAM available on your development machine, the better off you'll be, but there's no avoiding the performance hit inherent in emulation. It will also be difficult to simulate the input of the controller included with the ADT-1.

android-tv1 android-tv2 android-tv4

Developers should be able to modify existing apps to run on Android TV, but depending on your needs, it may be simpler just to start from scratch. To set up the emulator, head to this page, download the latest version of the Android SDK, and follow the setup instructions.

Thanks, TheManii and Ruben Roy!

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • djakdekiel

    How to flash it on my tv?

    • http://communityfirstdigital.co.uk/ Luke Arran

      Please say you're joking. :-/

      • Grahaman27

        what does his profile pic tell you?

        • Giovanni Coutinho


      • djakdekiel


    • Zyre

      No man you need to flash it on your phone. No seriously didn't you read what Android TV is? It's for a big ass phone.

      • djakdekiel

        So I have to flash my tv with phone? Throw it on tv or what?

        • Zyre

          Just throw your phone trough the TV and you're done! Android on you're TV!

          • djakdekiel

            Like this?

          • djakdekiel

            Guys, it doesn't work. Don't do it. Now my tv doesn't work. Maybe not booting?

          • Zyre

            The battery might be dead!

          • djakdekiel

            No, I see sparks

          • Matthew

            Try connect to charger

          • AtiRage

            I think you bricked it.

          • http://patrollpl.tk/ Cadence

            Did you try to turn off and on?

      • Nevi_me

        telephblet, a merger of a tv, tablet and phone.

  • Grahaman27


  • weeeecomments

    Does it have Chromecast support?

    • Marvin R.

      it seems so. Look at the screenshot!

      • Ralph Yozzo

        the Chromecast support is amazing there is no internal wifi requirement anymore

    • Franco Rossel

      Yes, full Cast support.

  • Gonçalo Santos

    Is a there a stable release? so i can flash android TV on any android box, and play it trough HDMI? and does it recognize the optical channels? this gonna replace my non smart TV Interface =D

    • Ambroos

      Stable release? Dude, we're talking previews here, the stuff was just announced. Wait half a year and you'll probably be able to buy an Android TV box from Sony.

    • Peter Oliver

      Not even close.

  • dhdhdhdhd

    Does it support 4k?

  • _artem_

    sorry for offtop but wth new tab has AP favicon for me?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      We're taking over.

  • NF

    The Google TV emulator only existed for Linux as some sort of add on. One couldn't simply run it in an emulator. So this is good progress. Though performance may be poor, at least it gives me the ability to test function and design, which is really important.

  • supremekizzle

    I hope the hardware that comes from third parties is better than Google's. No hdmi passthrough and one usb port?

    • Gus70

      I second this HDMI pass through is very important for me.

    • tmack8001

      you guys understand that the ADT-1 isn't a consumer device... it is meant to give developers (game, content, etc) something physical to run and test their devices on.

  • yeshu

    Android TV was part of the developer swag? What else was given away in addition to this and the watches?

    • tmack8001

      Yes the ADT-1 (https://developer.android.com/preview/tv/adt-1/index.html) was handed out to developers that went to the Android TV specific session. Not to everyone at the conference, though IMHO would have been a better move as the consumer market I think is larger in the living room media box market than in the wearables market (at least right now).

  • TedPhillips

    so, i won't have a chance to futz with the emulator for some time.

    i'm guessing this is just for app development/layout usage, and doesn't have the drm stack. (so testing things like live tv are out) I mean, the level one widevine is hardware backed.

  • Zimmerman

    How's this different from Google TV? Weren't devs able to makes apps for that??

    • http://socialwrapper.com VidiMan

      Google TV was very selective and different from stock Android (one of the reasons it failed). The UI was designed for the 10 foot view (not phone, tablet). Your app had to be especially coded for the Google TV platform, a very small subset (Honeycomb if I recall).

      • Zimmerman

        Well said my friend. You just won!

  • Stéphane Loeuillet

    API 20 is KitKat, not L/5.0

    • Mike Reid

      SDK has branch for API Level 20 (Not entirely documented yet) and another for "API Level L":


      Don't think we know exactly what 20 is yet. Could be/likely? 4.5, and still called KitKat, assuming "L" is L..., whatever comes after KitKat.

      For all we know, there could be a KitKat 4.6, 4.7, etc.

      • Nevi_me

        Google is trolling us, there's still KitKat 4.5 coming before L, don't be fooled yo

  • ashutos jain

    How much time emulator takes to boot ?

  • redmafia

    No local file playback, right? :/

  • Thomas Cai Jinzhan

    the emulator still takes forever to boot....at least mine does....and i am running on a core i5 with 12gb of ram...not exactly state of the art but still...............

  • DarleneCartangyf

    as Thelma explained I cannot
    believe that a stay at home mom can make $7420 in four weeks on the internet .
    more info here R­e­x­1­0­.­C­O­M­

  • shabbypenguin

    Any chance of the launcher apk being pulled and handed out? i imagine people with ouya's and M.O.J.o's would love to try it.

  • Shamal Harkison

    In all seriousness though, anyone want to upload the Android TV launcher apk so we can try it on current TV boxes? 😁

  • Google_apk