How to Build an Android TV Box With a Raspberry Pi

You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a new TV to get Android TV. In fact, all you need is a compact $50 computer and a microSD card. You can create your own Raspberry Pi Android TV box for a fraction of the price of a new TV and configure it however you want.

Learn how to install Android TV on Raspberry Pi 3, 3 B+ and Raspberry Pi 4 and 400 computers.

Android TV on Raspberry Pi

Before we get started, it’s important to understand that the Android and Android TV versions used in this project are beta standards. As such, they have certain shortcomings that you may not encounter with an actual Android TV device.

Four Raspberry Pi models are suitable for running Android TV:

  • Raspberry Pi 3
  • Raspberry Pi 3 B +
  • Raspberry Pi 4
  • Raspberry Pi 400

You’ll get the best results with a Raspberry Pi 4 with 8GB of RAM.

The steps for Raspberry Pi 4 and Raspberry Pi 400 kare are below. Different steps are required to install Android TV Raspberry Pi 3 and Raspberry Pi 3 B+, ​​will follow.

If you want to build a Raspberry Pi smart TV without spending money on a new Android TV, here’s what you need to do.

Install Android TV on Raspberry Pi 4 or 400

To build your own Raspberry Pi 4 based Android TV, you will need:

  • Raspberry Pi 4 (preferably 4GB or 8GB)
  • A good quality microSD card (16GB or more)
  • Raspberry Pi 4 PSU
  • USB keyboard and mouse (alternatively, a combi remote)
  • USB flash drive
  • HDMI cable
  • Ethernet cable (optional)

MAKE A VIDEO OF THE DAY

With the items collected, you’re ready to get started.

Step 1: Download and install Android TV

To install Android TV on your Raspberry Pi 4, start by grabbing the Android TV LineageOS 18.1 build.

Download: LineageOS 18.1 Android TV by KonstaKANG

Next, download and install Etcher from Balena. This is a versatile disk imaging tool, used here to create a bootable SD card for the Raspberry Pi.

Download: Etcher

Then you should install LineageOS to SD card using Etcher. Refer to our Raspberry Pi operating system installation guide for more details.

Step 2: Configure Android TV, TWRP and GApps

Unlike the Raspberry Pi 3 build, the Android TV setup on the Raspberry Pi 4 is ready to use out of the box. Having said that, you will need to install a few apps that are not included, not least GApps. However, a few tweaks are needed.

First, however, you’ll need to know how to use Android TV with a keyboard.

  • F1 = Home page
  • F2 = Back
  • F3 = View open applications
  • F4 = Menu
  • F5 = Strength
  • F11 = Volume down
  • F12 = Volume Up

Once connected to your Wi-Fi network, enable developer options:

  1. Go Settings > Device Preferences
  2. Open About
  3. Move to Build number and click repeatedly until you see a message about Developer Options
  4. To go Backside and you will see Developer Options menu in Settings

With the Developer Options available, you can configure the Advanced Reboot option to allow access to the TWRP recovery menu:

  1. Open Settings > Device Preferences
  2. Selection Developer Options
  3. Here, click Advanced Reboot

This gives you access to TWRP, which is needed for flashing and sideloading, which is where the GApps package comes in.

Google Apps (GApps) packages for Android TV on Raspberry Pi 4 are currently a beta build. This means that features may be missing or unstable. A dedicated version of GApps for Android 12 is available for download on Android Filehost

Download: GApps for Android TV on Raspberry Pi 4

Select the tvstock or tvmini package and download the ZIP file to your computer, then copy it to a removable drive that you can connect to the Raspberry Pi.

Once you’ve done that, boot into TWRP:

  1. Open Settings > Device Preferences
  2. Selection Reboot > Restore

In TWRP:

  1. Selection Setting
  2. Browse to the GApps ZIP file
  3. Use Swipe to confirm flash and wait
  4. Next, choose Erase > Factory Reset

To get rid of TWRP, restart the Raspberry Pi 4 using the Restart option.

Step 3: Restart your Raspberry Pi 4 to use Android TV

Now that you have your Google apps sorted, you can restart your Pi 4 to start using Android TV. Log in to your account, download media streaming tools, or connect your own media to the system. That’s all for you!

Want more configuration? This version of Android TV for Raspberry Pi 4 has a number of tweaks you can make to get it set up. This includes everything from hardware power node setup to SSH configuration. You can also enable the IR remote and send audio through the 3.5mm jack instead of HDMI.

You will find Raspberry Pi 4 specific options in Settings > Device Preferences > Install Raspberry Pi.

Editing and troubleshooting tips can be found on the download page at the KostaKANG website. If not, you now have Android TV Raspberry Pi 4!

Install Android TV on Raspberry Pi 3 and 3 B +

If you have a Raspberry Pi 3/3 B+, ​​the installation steps are slightly different. Before you begin, make sure you have:

  • One Raspberry Pi 3 or Raspberry Pi 3 B +
  • A good quality microSD card
  • Reliable Raspberry Pi Power Supply
  • USB keyboard and mouse (or combi remote)
  • USB flash drive
  • HDMI cable
  • Ethernet cable (optional)

To install Android TV on your Raspberry Pi 3 or 3 B+, ​​you will need to download the following software:

Ready to get started? Let’s go.

Step 1: Extract and install Android

Installing LineageOS on your Raspberry Pi gives you the benefits of the Android operating system. This means potentially better support for multimedia software, such as YouTube and Kodi. However, with the right Google apps installed, your Android-powered Raspberry Pi makes for a great Android TV.

This is doable with multiple versions of Android for Raspberry Pi, but for best results use the version of LineageOS linked above. Before continuing, make sure that the ZIP file is unzipped.

Then you should install LineageOS to SD card using Etcher. After successful installation and startup, LineageOS requires basic configuration. Define the usual things: set the country, time zone, etc.

Step 2: Prepare Android TV for Google Apps

Your Raspberry Pi is currently running Android. This is an AOSP-based version which means no Google apps are installed – you’ll need to install them manually.

You must have downloaded the GApps package to your PC. Go to opengapps.org and select:

(It’s tempting to choose the Android TV option over Pico — don’t. It’s simply a larger file and doesn’t really do anything other than cause problems.)

Selection Download, then when the GApps file is saved to your PC, copy it to your USB flash card. Safely remove and insert it into your Raspberry Pi.

Next, on LineageOS, open the app drawer and select Settings > System > About tablet. Here, scroll down Build number and click it repeatedly. Finally, this will add the Developer Options menu to the previous screen.

Click again until you exit Setting app, then open it again and navigate to System > Developer Options. Selection Root access and choose Apps and ADB optional, click ALRIGHT when the warning is displayed.

Next, scroll down to Local terminal and enable the application. This gives you local shell access, which means you can type commands via the keyboard.

Go back to the app drawer and open the Terminal app, then Allow app permissions to access your device.

Next, enter the superuser command:

su

A Privacy Protection warning box will appear. Test Remember my choice (to secure future permission for what you’re about to do) and then Allow.

Next, enter the command

rpi3-recovery.sh

This will load the recovery script. Enter the restart command to start it up.

reboot

The Raspberry Pi will boot into the TWRP recovery console. Here, select Setting, Later Select memory to select your USB flash device.

Select the GApps file, then Install zipand in the next screen test Reboot after installationLater Swipe to confirm Flash.

Once the device reboots, you will be able to access the Play Store.

Step 3: Configure your Android TV interface

By now, you’ll have noticed that the interface of LineageOS on your Raspberry Pi essentially looks like Android, not Android TV. To change this you will need a launcher.


Some are available; we used ad-supported launcher, Free ATV Launcher from Play Store. Just sign in with your regular Google account, search for it and install. (Note that your first sign-in to the Play Store will take a few minutes to complete thanks to the verification steps.)

With a streamlined interface, you’ll need a few more useful media apps. Things like YouTube, Plex, Amazon Prime Video, Kodi, etc all work and are all available on Google Play. Just install these as you normally would to take advantage of your existing subscriptions.

Note: The performance of these apps has been proven to be the best. For best results, follow YouTube. If you are looking for other apps, do your research to find the best version to install.

Step 4: Control your Raspberry Pi 3 Android TV

With everything set up and ready, you’ll probably want to disconnect your mouse and keyboard to switch to something lightweight. Several remote options are available for the Raspberry Pi, which will work with Android TV.

One option is the Mini Wireless Keyboard/Air Remote, which is a configurable LED-backlit combo device.

Also you may like iPazzPort Wireless Mini Keyboard with Trackpad. This combines the keyboard and trackpad along with the D-keyboard and media controller into one unit.

Both devices are wireless and come with a dedicated Wi-Fi dongle that is locked separately for the remote.

You will now have an Android TV Raspberry Pi 3 or Raspberry Pi 4 Android TV streaming video, music and playing games thanks to the LineageOS operating system and Android TV user interface. For all intents and purposes, you have a DIY Raspberry Pi TV box powered by Android TV.

Admittedly you might run into trouble with performance, so make sure your microSD card is intact. Also, check that you are using an approved Raspberry Pi power supply. This will ensure the Pi gets the power it needs without the risk of low voltages and damage to the microSD card.


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https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/build-android-tv-box-raspberry-pi/ How to Build an Android TV Box With a Raspberry Pi

Sarah Ridley

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