I bought a cheap Chinese Android-based set top box for the bedroom. It came with a few apps preloaded, amongst which YouTube and Netflix.

Unfortunately, the developers of this box seem to have missed a few steps, and the device does not seem to be configured properly as an Android TV device. The result is that the installed YouTube app is the Android TV version, but the installed Netflix app is not. Needless to say, in this situation the Netflix user experience is suboptimal. When I try to install the Android TV version of Netflix, Google tells me that the device is not compatible.

Due to the whole lockdown situation, replacing the device by one that is done properly is complicated right now (courier services are in lockdown as well where I live, and the shop where we bought it is not currently in operation until after the lockdown), so I would like to explore the possibility to override these restrictions somehow. I don't mind hacking the device, as long as it doesn't require rooting the thing, as that might mean Netflix won't work anymore at all, which obviously I wouldn't want.

How do I figure out why the Android TV version of Netflix won't install on my device, and is it possible to override this restriction somehow?

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    Instead of trying to force an installation you should first find out why Netflix TV app is incompatible. Therefore I would suggest to enable Developer mode + ADB and connect the TV box via USB to your computer. Then try to install the Netflix TV app via adb install netflix.apk and see what the error message is.
    – Robert
    Apr 19, 2020 at 10:12
  • As it might be relevant lateron: have you root-access on the device, or can you obtain it?
    – Izzy
    Apr 19, 2020 at 10:20
  • @Robert that makes sense, and I had a look at it, but it turns out this device doesn't have a USB port (at least not an external one -- I did say it was cheap). Before I resort to a screwdriver, is there another way to do this? It does have two USB A host ports as well as a micro SD slot, if that helps. Apr 19, 2020 at 11:05
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    @izzy as I said in the question, I'd prefer not to root the device if it's possible to avoid that, as that can cause certain apps to refuse to install (including Netflix in some circumstances, I've found) Apr 19, 2020 at 11:29
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    @Robert thanks. The only way I can find to configure adb over WiFi is to first connect through USB, and then to run adb tcpip to enable the wireless method. Am I missing some other option? Apr 19, 2020 at 14:35

1 Answer 1


I fiddled with this a bit more, but eventually gave up and decided to just buy a slightly more expensive device that's a proper Android TV one. The new one does not have the issues of the other device, and I can use proper Android TV apps now.

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