Hey there! Got an Android TV device like NVIDIA Shield, Xiaomi Mi Box, or Tivo Stream? Tired of the boring stock home screen that came preloaded? Looking to customize the interface and remove those annoying ads?
Well you‘ve come to the right place. In this guide, I‘ll show you how to completely customize your Android TV‘s home screen using a killer app called ATV Launcher.
With ATV Launcher, you can:
Refresh the layout with more rows, columns, and custom backgrounds
Add useful widgets like weather, system stats, calendar, and more
Clean up unused apps and hide them from view
Create folders to neatly organize streaming services, tools, games, and other apps
Remove in-your-face banner advertisements from the stock launcher interface
And tons more options to tailor Android TV to your needs!
I‘ll walk you through everything step-by-step from downloading ATV Launcher to configuring the optimal layout.
Let‘s get started…
Why Customize the Android TV Home Screen?
Before we dive in, you might be wondering "Why do I need to customize the home screen on my Android TV box?"
Great question! Here are 3 key reasons:
1. Boost Usability
The default Android TV interface is designed to be very simple out of the box. But this means key features and customization options are hidden from users.
By customizing the home screen, you can significantly boost usability:
- Display your favorite apps up front with larger icons
- Add useful widgets like weather forecasts without opening any apps
- Organize apps into folders so you can find what you need faster
- Hide little-used apps to declutter the interface
- Switch to list view for quicker text navigation of apps
2. Remove Annoying Ads
Nothing‘s worse than booting up your TV expecting to stream the big game only to be bombarded by loud video ads.
Many Android TV devices come with ads baked into the stock launcher. Customizing the interface with ATV Launcher provides an ad-free experience.
3. Make It Your Own
Let‘s be honest, the stock Android TV layout is pretty boring and sterile. With a custom launcher, you can inject your own style:
- Set a stylish wallpaper that matches your viewing room
- Use icon packs to change all the app icons
- Customize title text colors and background colors
- Add custom themes for a unique look and feel
So in summary – a customized home screen makes your Android TV box work better, remove ads, and reflect your personal flair.
Next let‘s look at why ATV Launcher is one of the best launcher apps for the job…
Why ATV Launcher is One of the Best Launchers for Android TV
There are actually tons of different Android launcher apps out there – so how do you know ATV Launcher is a good choice?
Here are some of the key benefits that make ATV Launcher a top pick:
Completely customizable – Tons of options to tailor the home screen to your needs. You‘re in complete control.
Intuitive controls – Easy to navigate categories and settings with your remote. No need for a wireless keyboard or mouse.
No ads – Removes those pesky banner ads from the stock interface.
Active development – The ATV Launcher devs are continuously adding new features and improvements.
Lightweight – Slim app that won‘t slow down your Android TV‘s performance.
Free to use – 100% free with no hidden paid "pro" features. Premium version optional.
Premium support – Paid premium version includes priority email support.
4.7-star rating – Loved by users with nearly 270,000 downloads.
Compared to alternatives like Wolf Launcher, Leanback Launcher, and HALauncher, ATV Launcher hits the sweet spot of customization, ease of use, and lightweight performance.
And the best part? It‘s 100% free!
Now that you know why ATV Launcher is a great choice, let‘s go through how to install and configure it…
Step 1: How to Download and Install ATV Launcher
Downloading ATV Launcher from the Google Play Store only takes a minute.
Using your Android TV remote, open the Google Play Store app. This is preinstalled on most Android TV devices.
In the search bar, type in "ATV Launcher".
Select the "ATV Launcher" app from the search results.
Click "Install". It‘s 100% free.
Once installed, open the ATV Launcher app.
Follow the on-screen instructions to set ATV Launcher as your default home app.
That‘s it! After restarting your Android TV, ATV Launcher will replace the stock home screen interface.
Time to customize this bad boy…
Step 2: Add Useful Widgets
One of my favorite features of ATV Launcher is the widgets. Widgets show useful information right on your home screen without needing to open any apps.
Here are some great widgets to consider adding:
- Weather – See your local weather forecast at a glance
- System Monitor – Monitor system resources like CPU, RAM, and storage
- Calendar – See upcoming appointments
- Clock – Digital or analog clock widgets available
- VPN status – If you use a VPN, show connected status
- Notes – Jot down quick notes like grocery items
Here‘s how to add widgets:
From the ATV Launcher home screen, long press the center button on your remote over any icon. This brings up the widget menu.
Select "Pick Widget" to view available widgets.
Choose a widget to add and follow the prompts.
Repeat to add more widgets along the top row. You can add up to 3 widgets.
I recommend starting with a Weather widget and System Monitor widget. But feel free to mix and match to your needs!
Step 3: Customize the Layout
By default, your apps are displayed in a few rows on ATV Launcher. Let‘s customize the layout further.
Change Rows & Columns
You can add more rows and columns for apps if needed:
Long press on any icon to bring up the menu
Select "Launcher Settings"
Choose "Sections" > "Apps"
Adjust the column and row count as desired
Resize App Icons
Adding more columns will shrink the icon sizes. You can resize icons bigger or smaller:
Pick an icon and long press the center button
Choose "Resize" from the menu
Use the left/right remote buttons to scale icons up or down
Experiment to find the ideal grid size and spacing for your screen.
By default apps are sorted alphabetically. You can also:
- Sort by Most Used
- Sort by Last Updated
- Sort by Install Date
Try sorting by Most Used to pin your favorite streaming apps first.
Switch to List View
The default view shows app icons in a grid. Switch to list view to quickly scroll apps alphabetically:
Long press on an icon
Pick "Launcher Settings" > "Sections" > "Apps"
Change Layout Style to "List"
List view is great when you have tons of apps installed.
Don‘t use certain apps often? You can hide them from view:
Long press and select "Launcher Settings"
Choose "Hidden Apps"
Select apps to hide from the home screen
Hidden apps are still installed but won‘t clutter your home screen.
Phew! That covers the key parts of customizing the app layout. Keep tweaking until you have it just right!
Step 4: Set a Custom Wallpaper
The default ATV Launcher background is basic black. Let‘s spice it up with your own wallpaper.
Long press on an icon and pick "Launcher Settings"
Choose "Wallpaper" > "Select Wallpaper"
Pick an image file from your Android TV‘s internal storage
Set as wallpaper and enjoy your new background!
I recommend using wallpaper with dark or muted colors since bright colors strain the eyes on a TV.
Some other quick tips:
- Wallpapers around 1920 x 1080 resolution look best
- Pick wallpapers with the subject in the center since icons cover the edges
- Change it regularly to keep things fresh!
Step 5: Organize Apps with Folders
Once you have a lot of apps installed, folders help organize them logically:
Highlight an app icon and long press the center button
Select "Create Folder" from the menu
Name the folder something descriptive like "Streaming Apps"
To add apps, highlight the app icon, press the center button, and choose "Move To Folder"
Select which folder to move it to
Here are some examples of handy folder names:
- Streaming Apps
- Music Apps
- Kids Games
Group similar apps together for quick access. No more hunting through a sea of icons!
Step 6: Troubleshooting Tips
ATV Launcher should work smoothly on most Android TV devices. But if you run into any issues, here are some troubleshooting tips:
Make sure ATV Launcher has permission to be your default home app. Some devices require you to toggle the "Home app" setting.
If the launcher is unresponsive or freezes, press the home button to exit and reopen. Also try rebooting your Android TV device.
Check that you‘re running the latest version of ATV Launcher and it‘s updated. Bug fixes and optimizations are pushed frequently.
As a last resort, uninstall and reinstall ATV Launcher if anything odd occurs. Your customizations will be remembered.
Join the active ATV Launcher community online to ask questions and learn tips. The developer is very responsive.
Stuck on anything? Don‘t hesitate to ask in the comments below!
Going Beyond the Launcher: Advanced Customization Options
We‘ve focused primarily on ATV Launcher, but you can customize your Android TV experience even further:
Switch launchers – Don‘t like ATV Launcher? Wolf Launcher, HALauncher, and Leanback Launcher are all good alternatives to try.
Icon packs – Apply custom icon packs to give all your app icons a fresh new look.
Re-map remote buttons – Use Button Mapper to assign new functions to remote keys.
Overclock CPU – Speed up performance by overclocking the CPU with SetCPU.
Sideload apps – Install any Android APK apps not available in the Play Store.
Modify Settings – Apps like X-plore give deep access to system settings.
The possibilities are endless! A customized launcher is just the beginning to making Android TV your own.
Wrap Up: Revamp Your Android TV Home Screen with ATV Launcher
Phew, we covered a ton of ground here!
Let‘s recap the key points:
Android TV‘s stock launcher is limited – customizing it unlocks more capabilities
ATV Launcher lets you completely revamp the home screen with folders, widgets, wallpapers and more
Customizing improves usability, removes ads, and adds personal flair
Step-by-step walkthrough covered downloading ATV Launcher and tailoring it to your needs
Take the time to play around with all the settings until your Android TV home screen is optimized for your usage.
I hope this guide to customizing your Android TV interface was helpful. Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to help fellow streamers.
Ready to give your home screen a much needed makeover? Download ATV Launcher today!