How to Add and Manage Apps on a Smart TV

Here's how different brands handle the process

Smart TVs are internet-connected devices that let you access, stream, and manage media content without an external connector, such as a Roku device. The Smart TV universe is built around apps, which are like internet channels. Smart TVs come preloaded with a varying assortment of apps, but it's often possible to add more to customize your viewing experience. Here's a look at how to add apps to Samsung Smart TVs, LG Smart TVs, and more.

The process for adding apps to Smart TVs varies across manufacturers and models. This article offers some general guidelines that are likely similar for your Smart TV brand. Consult your documentation for your device's specific steps.

Someone adding PLuto TV to a smart TV
Lifewire / Maddy Price

Add Apps to a Samsung Smart TV

If you have a Samsung Smart TV and want an app that isn't on your home page (also referred to as your Smart Hub), download it from the Samsung App Store. Here's how:

  1. Navigate to your home page or press your remote's Smart Hub button.

  2. Select Apps from the menu bar.

    Add Apps to Samsung Smart TV by selecting the Apps icon
  3. You're now on the My Apps screen, where you'll see your preloaded apps and other app categories, such as What's New, Most Popular, Video, Lifestyle, and Entertainment.

    The MyApps screen in the Samsung Smart TV App Store
  4. Browse to find an app you want to install, and then select the app's icon. In this example, we're looking in the Most Popular category and selecting Red Bull TV.

    Add Apps to Samsung Smart TV – Step 3

    Alternatively, select the magnifying glass to search for an app by name.

  5. When you select an app, you'll go to its install page. Select Install, Download, or Add to Home, depending on your TV model.

    Select Install to add an app to Samsung Smart TV

    After the app is installed, you may be prompted to open it. If you don't want to open the app, just leave the menu and open it later from My Apps.

Add Apps to an LG Smart TV

LG Smart TVs use the webOS platform, which includes app management. Like many other smart TVs, LG includes a package of preinstalled apps you'll see on the home screen. Here's how to add more apps:

  1. Press the Home button on the Remote control.

    LG TV Remote with Home Button Highlighted
  2. Select the LG Content Store from the home page.

    LG TV Home Page Content Store Highlighted

    On some LG TV models, you may need to select More Apps from the home screen before you're able to select the LG Content Store.

  3. In the LG Content Store, access the Apps section, and then select a category of apps or search for an app.

    LG Content Store – Apps Selection Example

    The LG Content Store also has both paid and free movies and shows available for download.

  4. Choose the app you want to download to go to its dedicated screen.

    LG Content Store with the Crackle app selected
  5. Select Install. The app will begin downloading.

    LG Content Store Crackle App Selected

    If the app requires a fee, there will be a notification and additional prompts for payment options.

  6. When the app finishes downloading, select Launch to launch it immediately, or access it later from the home screen.

    LG Content Store Crackle App Installed

Add Apps to a Vizio Smart TV

How you add apps to your Vizio Smart TV depends on whether it's running the SmartCast, Vizio Internet Apps, or Vizio Internet Apps Plus system. Here's a look at what's involved.

If you want to watch Disney+ on a Vizio Smart TV, see Vizio's official statement

SmartCast

On Vizio SmartCast TVs, apps are preloaded, but you can't install new apps. If you want to use an app that's not preloaded, cast it to your TV via a compatible smartphone or tablet, just like using a Chromecast device. Here's how it works:

Make sure your mobile device is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the TV.

  1. Using your mobile device, go to the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, and then select and install an available Chromecast-enabled app. Once installed, the app becomes part of your cast selection.

  2. Open the app on your mobile device and select the Cast icon.

  3. Press the Cast icon and then choose your Vizio Smart TV. Your content should start playing automatically.

    Cast Logo Example on App

    If you have more than one Vizio SmartCast or Chromecast device, choose the device you want to cast to.

Internet Apps and Internet Apps Plus Systems

If your Vizio TV uses the Vizio Internet Apps (VIA) or Vizio Internet Apps Plus (VIA+) system, it's easy to install apps to your TV from the Vizio App Store.

  1. Select the V button on your Vizio TV remote control to open the Apps Menu.

    Vizio VIA TV Remote – V Button
  2. Select one of the App Store options in categories such as Featured, Latest, All Apps, or Categories.

    Vizio TV Via Apps Screen – App Categories
  3. Highlight the app you want to add to your Vizio TV (make sure it's not already preloaded).

  4. For VIA systems, press OK and go to Install App. After the app installs, it will be added to your viewing selection.

    Vizio VIA Remote – OK Button
  5. For VIA+ systems, press and hold OK until the app has been added to the My Apps list.

    Vizio VIA Apps Screen – My Apps Logo
  6. Select the app to watch it.

Add Apps to a Smart TV With Built-In Chromecast

Although Vizio incorporates Chromecast within its SmartCast platform, there are other TVs that have Chromecast built-in as their core streaming apps platform. These include select models from Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, Philips, Polaroid, Skyworth, and Soniq.

The steps for using an app that isn't preloaded on a Chromecast Built-In TV are similar to those we listed above for Vizio SmartCast TVs.

Make sure your mobile device is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the TV.

  1. Using your mobile device, go to the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, and then select and install an available Chromecast-enabled app. Once installed, the app becomes part of your cast selection.

  2. Open the app and tap the Cast button.

  3. The content from your mobile device will be cast to your TV.

Add Apps to an Android TV

Select TVs from Element, Hisense, LeECO, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, and Westinghouse incorporate the Android TV operating system. Here's how to add more apps to your Android TV platform.

There may be slight variations in the screen's appearance depending on the brand and model of your Android TV.

  1. From the Android TV Home screen, go to the Apps section.

    Apps icon and app suggestions row on Android TV
  2. Select the Google Play Store.

    Google Play Store Icon on Android TV
  3. Browse, search, or select Get more apps to find an app you want to install.

    Get more apps button on Android TV
  4. Select the app you want to add.

    Fandango Now app icon on Android TV

    You may be prompted to hit Accept.

  5. Select Install for any free apps or games, or follow the instructions to pay for an app.

  6. Once installed, launch the app directly or launch it from the Android TV home screen anytime.

Add Apps to Roku TVs

A Roku TV has the Roku operating system built-in, so you don't have to connect an external Roku streaming stick or box to access streaming apps. Roku refers to apps that provide video and audio content as Channels. Utilities, such as productivity or network functioning tools, are referred to as apps.

TV brands that offer the Roku system on select TV models include Element, Hisense, Hitachi, Insignia, Philips, RCA, Sharp, and TCL.

Here's how to add a Roku channel using the TV remote:

Roku TVs have the same on-screen menu interface as other Roku streaming devices, so you'll use the same process to add channels and apps.

  1. Press the Home button on the Roku TV remote (looks like a house).

    Roku TV Remote — Home Button
    Robert Silva / Lifewire
  2. Select Streaming Channels to open the Roku Channel Store.

    Roku Home Menu – Streaming Channels
  3. Select a Channel category.

    Roku Streaming Channel Categories
  4. Choose the Channel you want to add.

    Roku Find and Select Channel to Add
  5. Select Add Channel to begin downloading and installation.

    Roku - Add Channel Example

    Follow the prompts if you're trying to install a paid channel.

  6. Open the Channel after it's installed, or find it on your viewing list.

Add Apps to Fire Edition TVs

Some TVs have Amazon Fire TV functionality built-in. On these devices, manage and add apps the same way you would using a plug-in Amazon Fire TV stick or box.

TV brands that offer this system on select models include Element, Toshiba, and Westinghouse.

  1. From the TV remote, go to the home page and select Apps.

    Apps icon on Fire Edition TV

    

  2. Select an app category such as Movies and TV.

    Movies & TV icon on Amazon Fire Edition TV
  3. Select an app you want to add.

    PBS Video icon on Amazon Fire Edition TV
  4. Select Buy Now, Get Now, or Download. Once the app is installed, open it, or access it anytime on your home page.

    Fire Edition TV Add Apps Process

Add Apps to a Sharp Smart TV

If you have a Sharp Smart TV without Roku functionality, it likely uses either the AppsNOW or VEWD system, formerly known as Opera TV. Here's how to add apps on both systems.

Install an App Using AppsNOW

  1. Press the Apps button on your TV remote.

  2. Select AppsNOW on your home screen and press OK on your remote.

  3. Choose to view all available apps or view a sorted list of available apps in several categories, such as Top Features, Movies & TV, Music & Shows, News & Weather, Lifestyle, or Games.

  4. Select the app you want to install, and then press OK on your remote to install the app.

  5. Once installed, the icon for that app will have a checkmark in the upper-left corner.

Using the VEWD Apps System

Apps in the VEWD App Store are cloud-based, so they aren't installed directly to the TV. Instead, select and open them for viewing. Here's how:

  1. Press the Apps button on your TV remote.

  2. Select VEWD Apps Store and press OK on your TV remote.

  3. Choose to view all available apps or view a sorted list of available apps grouped in categories such as New, Popular, Movies & TV Series, Games, Internet TV, Music, Sports, Lifestyle, Technology, Kids, Nature & Travel, News & Weather, Social, Tools, or Trailers

  4. Browse apps or search for an app by name by selecting Search from the options at the top of the screen. Use the on-screen keyboard to enter the app's name.

  5. When you find an app you want, press OK on your remote to open the app. Choose to mark an app as a Favorite so it's conveniently available the next time you open the VEWD App Store.

    Older Sharp Smart TVs may have the Android TV platform, which enables the installation of additional apps via the Google Play Store or Smart Central, which is a preloaded app platform that depends on updates from Sharp.

Other Smart TV Models

Apps are preloaded on Philips Net TVs, but models introduced in 2018 or later allow the addition of apps from the VEWD App Store. Philips Net TVs also support screencasting of select apps from a mobile phone, and some models include Chromecast built-in. Check your documentation for details.

Element Smart TVs without a built-in Fire TV or Roku TV can access only preloaded apps, such as Netflix, YouTube, and Pandora. Consult your documentation for more information.