Since the recent release of Android TV on multiple connected devices and TVs (such as Sony, Sharp, Razer, Philips, and Panasonic), it appears that Android TV is Google's attempt to own the app marketplace in the living room.
Google debuted the Nexus Player in the fall and showed off some amazing apps and games on the platform. It's clear that the device is focused on entertainment. After all, when we're planted on the couch in our living room, that's exactly what we need.
The Nexus Player hit retail stores Sunday, and the lineup of additional devices running Android TV should be coming out later this year. So I've put together a list of the top 10 entertainment apps on Android TV:
1. Pluto TV
A new but fast-growing app, Pluto TV hits the platform with a goal of "entertaining the planet." Pluto TV has more than 100 TV-like channels in every category, including news, sports, comedy, entertainment, and kids. The content is a mix of online videos, full episodes, and live broadcasts. Pluto TV is free, and yes, it has a 24/7 Cats channel.
My guess is you've probably heard of this one. Netflix is the first word in cord-cutting entertainment. The app is as clean as the usual online interface. With all of its award-winning and watercooler-monopolizing original content, Netflix is increasingly becoming an entertainment force of its own.
3. HULU Plus
Hulu Plus is well worth the $7.99 a month if you are cutting the cord and still want to see all of your favorite primetime shows within a day of them airing. You can also catch up on earlier seasons of current hits such as "The Good Wife" or classic TV such as "Family Ties." The movie selection can't begin to rival Netflix, and the $7.99 won't get you out of having to sit through ads, but for TV shows, it really can't be beat.
4. HBO GO
HBO recently announced that the new year would bring a new subscription service, where you can have HBO GO independent of any other HBO subscriptions. Essentially, you can have the app without having the cable bundle. This is an app for the cord cutters and money savers alike. It's perfect for Android TV because HBO GO has a stellar mobile app you can sync with your Android TV.
This app is for the gamers. Watch live broadcasts, chat with players, and more--all on the large screen your television provides. Covering a wide variety of games and developers, Twitch is a great integration of social interaction, new games, and your old favorites. This app is for the gamers who want more out of the gaming experience.
VLC is the video player that's known for supporting a huge number of different file types. The app will integrate with Android TV's interface and voice search, and the beta version currently has the ability to adjust playback speed and aspect ratio, audio playback, album art and subtitles.
This is your go-to free app for podcasts and talk radio. It has over 100,000 live radio stations, podcasts, and other channels of content for your listening pleasure.
This is the Cards Against Humanity for the digital age. One of the best things about having Internet-capable televisions is that you can use them for so much more than just watching TV. Cardcast is the perfect app for utilizing your TV to bring game night into the 21st century.
9. Just Dance Now
Android TV, like the phone, is great for games. Just Dance Now is already popular on handheld devices, but it's even better on larger screens. With new music added regularly, it stays updated while other dance games fall behind.
Chances are that your teenager has already been using 8tracks to find new music and share it with others. The site now has more than 2 million playlists to show for it. Not your usual music player, it's Pandora for those who have gotten tired of Pandora. 8tracks is only limited by the music tastes of its users, who create playlists all the way from "Daydream" to "Mathematical Concept." 8tracks provides a more human music experience--now on your television.
Many popular apps are already part of the Android TV app store, and the number of available apps will only increase with time. If you're looking to add additional entertainment beyond the cable-box, an Android TV-powered device will bring numerous other entertainment options straight to your living room.