Conversion from Stock Android to Android TV


This video is a demonstration of how a Chinese TV box or stick that cost from around $20 to $70 can run Android TV smoothly even when it’s not Google certified.

As you may know Android TV is basically Android with a custom Leanback launcher. In this demo I modified the build.prop of this device to make it appear as an Android TV device (Razer Forge or Xiaomi Mi Box 3) at the eyes of the google servers, that way it installs google services and all the apps in leanback mode for Android TV.

I also added “tv_core_hardware.xml” and “tv_features.xml” files to system/ect/permissions to avoid the “This version of the App Store is not compatible with your device” error, as well with other apps.

For this tutorial I’ll be using an R-Box Pro 3g android TV Box (a Chinese TV Box has similar specs than other google certified devices and it’s sold for half of the price), but is should work for any other Android TV Box running android 6.0 with decent specs.
I also managed to modify an Android TV stick with an Amlogic S905 processor, it cost around $30 in Aliexpress but the experience is less smooth. It can run, but is not able to play high end games like the demo, I am using the Android TV Stick for a different project that does not require a lot of performance . if you need high performance is always better to go with an Android TV box with decent specs.

The TV Box

– Model: R-Box Pro
– CPU: Amlogic S912 64 bit Octa core ARM Cortex-A53 up to 2 GHz
– GPU: ARM Mali-T820MP3 GPU up to 750MHz (DVFS)
– RAM: DDRIII 3GB, eMMC Flash 16GB
– OS: Android 6.0 marshmallow
– Support HDR10 and HLG HDR
– Support to H.265 HEVC up to 4Kx2K@60fps
– Max 4Kx2K @60 Resolution
– Support 2.4GHZ/5.8GHZ AP6330 Wifi, 802.11a/b/g/n
– Support 100/1000M Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.0
– 4 USB ports supporting webcam and microphone for skype and google voice search.

Buy from: https://www.aliexpress.com/wholesale…Text=r-box+pro

Update if you have an R-box pro 3g q633o you can download a precompiled firmware from here and skip all the steps on this tutorial.

Tutorial:

Disclaimer: As always I supply this tutorial just for fun and without any guarantees, I am not responsible if you break your device.

Step 1:

Required Files

Install these apps from Play Store:

ES File Explorer Manager
System App Safe remover (or similar)
Hide Status Bar (Full Screen)

Download this files in your SD card or a place where you can access them later using a root file explorer on your Android TV box:

Android TV Launcher
Google Play Services Leanback
Google Play Store Leanback
tv_core_hardware.xml
tv_features.xml

Step 2:

Installing Leanback support

In order for you device to be recognised as an real Android TV device you need to make google think you have a Certified Android TV device, for that we are going to modify your build.prop file located at your system/ folder to make it look like a Razer Forge.

For that we are going to use ES File explorer in Root mode, make sure to make a backup of your build.prop file before making any changes.

– First: You need to copy your build.prop to your SD card and make the following changes:

Look for the lines:

ro.product.model=XXXX
ro.product.brand=XXXX
ro.product.name=XXXX
ro.product.device=XXXX

Where XXXX means your device default values.

And change it to:

ro.product.model=Forge
ro.product.brand=Razer
ro.product.name=pearlyn
ro.product.device=pearlyn

NOTE: you can fake any brand and device as long it’s a certified Android TV.

After making the changes copy back the file to the system/ folder overwrite the old one and and correct the permissions to -rw-r-r (again remember to make a backup of your original build.prop file before overwriting)

– Second: Now copy the files “tv_core_hardware.xml” and “tv_features.xml” that you downloaded before to the system/etc/permissions/ folder and apply the right permissions (-rw-r-r).

Step 3:

Installing Leanback apps

  1. Disconnect your device from internet to prevent automatic updates and Uninstall all the updates to google Play Services and Play Store.
  2. Using the App Installer or ES File Explorer, install “Google Play Services Leanback” and “Google Play Store Leanback” you downloaded earlier (do not try to open it at this point because it will crash)
  3. Go to Settings > More Settings > Home and make your default launcher the stock android launcher instead of “Launcher3” or “XBMC launcher”.
  4. Open the “System App Safe remover” app and remove “Launcher3” or “XBMC launcher”, do not remove the “Launcher” or “Launcher2” apps this are the default stock launcher, and do not worry the app will make a backup of all your uninstalled apps.
  5. Restart your device to make sure it boots to the Stock Android launcher
  6. Open ES File Explorer, go to system/priv-app/ and make a new folder called “LeanbackLauncher”, copy inside that folder the Android TV Launcher you downloaded earlier and rename it to LeanbakLauncher.apk (note that the .apk name has to be the same as the folder name) correct the permissions (-rw-r-r) and restart.
  7. When you restart “Android TV Launcher” will be the default Launcher, from here you can activate your internet connection fire up the Play Store and download all the apps you want, they will be all in leanback mode.

Depending on your room you may see that the Status bar will be always on top, even when you play videos, that’s very annoying, for that you can use the Hide Status Bar app and check the options: Run un in root mode, hide the status bar and run at login that will hide the status bar without modifying any system files.

You should also use the “System App Safe remover” app to uninstall the “Launcher2” now that you don’t need it, but do not remove the “Launcher” app, that one is essential for the system to work.

Optional:

If you want to use the Search function of the Android TV Launcher I recommend you to buy an external USB microphone, that way the search function will not crash because of lack microphone, you can also install “Google App for Android TV” from the Play Store and it will give you a better experience.

You can also remove all the bloatware apps from your TV box using the “System App Safe remover”, just be sure not to remove essential system apps, I made a list of safe apps to remove, some of them are in the system folder but you can remove them anyway:

DLNA (you can use KODI, Archos Video Player or PLEX if you want to stream from the network)
Movie Player (MX player will do better)
Music (Play Music or any other leanback music player will also do better, but the newest version of Play Music has a bug that freezes after you launch, to prevent this you can disable automatic updates in google play store or go with another music player I also recommend ALSong for Android TV )
Music FX (if you delete music, this is not necessary)
Live Wallpaper picker and any live wallpaper (in fact you can remove all the wallpapers since Android TV Launcher does not use them at all)
Filebrowser (there are others like ES File Explorer with a much more better interface)
com.android.smspush (not needed for android tv)
com.adndroid.wallpapercropper (only used by the the stock launcher to select wallpaper)
PPPoE (that’s something about ip calls, I don’t use it and I doubt most of you will)
OpenWnn (japanese input method)
Any other bloatware included in your room.

Caveats:

Netflix, Sometimes it works sometimes it does not, depending on the DRM configuration from your TV hdmi input, you can install the patched version but is somehow unstable, the R-Box Pro has a line on the build.prop called “#netflix ro.nrdp.modelgroup=p205” I don’t know exactly what it is for, but apparently it blocks the Netflix TV patched app from connecting into the network, so if you want to try the patched app, you need to delete or comment that line. The android Standard Netflix works but you have to launch it from settings or using an app like the one I made called Apps Drawer.
Amazon prime: non tested
A lot of video apps are still non tested, you can try and post a comment below

Bonus Apps:

PopCorn Time TV (who needs Netflix if you have this?)

Netflix app patched to work with non certified devices:
Netflix 3.1.1
Netflix 2.5.0

TO DO:
Patch the systemUI.apk and framework.apk to hide the status bar instead of using external apps
Even better find a systemUI and framework from a real Android 6.0.1 TV rom
You can report your bugs here
Have fun with your new full featured android TV device

Happy Modding

UPDATE:

Precompiled  firmware for the R-Box pro 3g q633

You can Download it here

known Issues

The initial screen setup only work with mouse pointer and connected via ethernet, after the initial setup you can enable wifi and connect has normal, it’s just the setup screen that is not working.

The newest version of YouTube does not play

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