These days, you probably watch more YouTube videos than you used to. Personally, I have YouTube constantly playing music in the background while I’m working, and I hate being constantly interrupted by ads.
Adblocking services have become extremely popular, especially since the beginning of 2020. Many people install these services to skip annoying pre-content and mid-content ads, whether through an extension on your web browser or a dedicated app.
Unfortunately, if you are using an Android TV, there aren’t as many options that cater to desktop and mobile devices.
In this article, I will cover my go-to ad-free YouTube app for Android TV: SmartTubeNext.
SmartTubeNext is an open-source app for Android TVs that is free to download. Users can download the app onto their Firestick or Android TV.
Its made by the same developer as Smart YouTube TV and replaces that app. In addition to the name change, it adds several features like HDR playback, 4K resolution at 60 fps, and, my personal favorite, adjustable playback speed.
There are still some drawbacks, however. There’s still no support for chats during live streams, and voice search can be dicey, depending on your device.
Personally, I’m more than happy to trade them in for the ability to skip ads and sponsored segments while watching YouTube.
Let’s look at some of SmartTubeNext’s key features and how they compare to the YouTube App.
The killer feature of SmartTubeNext is its adblocking, which got a big upgrade from the old Smart YouTube TV app thanks to an integration with SponsorBlock.
SponsorBlock is an open-source Chrome extension that essentially crowdsources adblocking.
Instead of using AI, it relies on a community of over three million users to submit the sponsored ad portion of their favorite YouTube videos. While it may miss sponsored segments for brand new videos, the community can catch more subtle ad placements than an AI could.
To date, it’s saved viewers over 526 YEARS of total ad viewing time! (Check out the live stats here)
In addition to blocking ads, Sponsor Block allows the user to skip intros and outros of videos, creator ad reads, and creator reminders to like and subscribe to their Youtube channel.
Sponsor Block and Ad Blocking are integrated into SmartTubeNext, making it almost impossible to play ad banners, preroll ads, or in-content ads.
Adjustable Playback Speed
I use Youtube videos to help me learn how to play guitar, so I was thrilled when SmartTubeNext added a customizable playback speed. That feature was missing from SmartYoutube TV.
This feature works similar to the official YouTube app, allowing viewers to select different speed increments at any point during the video.
It can also remember your playback speed setting between videos. Still, some users report issues with stuttering frames while using the feature.
Boot to Section
Another cool new feature in SmartTubeNext is the ability to jump straight to any section when you open the app. I have this set to jump straight to my Subscriptions, effectively bypassing the random promotional content that YouTube recommends from time to time.
4K Video @ 60 fps
SmartTubeNext adds the ability for your Android TV to play 4K videos at 60 fps (frames per second).
Remember, the videos have to be uploaded in 4K 60 fps, so it isn’t available for all content. Also, [email protected] fps increases the amount of bandwidth you need to play the videos, so it might create video stuttering and lag if your Internet isn’t fast enough.
SmartTubeNext supports HDR (High Dynamic Range) content. This allows video players to reproduce how the human eye naturally sees colors.
HDR can display greater contrasts between dark and light in the same scene, producing a more realistic-looking image.
However, the device you are using must already support HDR for this feature to work. You must also make sure that all TV components support HDR, such as your streaming device and AV receiver.
Any broken link in the chain will cause the video to revert back to standard dynamic range playback.
Picture-in-Picture (PiP) enables you to shrink and move around the window of the Youtube video you are viewing so it can still be seen while inside other apps.
You can enable this feature in the settings of SmartTubeNext.
You can decide whether or not to automatically use PiP when you press the home button when playing a video or when you press the back button in the SmartTubeNext app.
This feature is great because it allows you to watch a Youtube video while searching for the next video in the search tab or doing something else like playing video games.
How To Install SmartTubeNext on Android TV
You won’t find SmartTubeNext in the Google Play Store, for obvious reasons. The only official place to download the SmartTubeNext APK is from the developer’s GitHub page.
Yuliskov, the developer, makes a point of saying that there have been unauthorized versions of his app uploaded to some app stores.
The steps I’m going to show you is the only way to be sure you’re getting the official SmartTubeNext app for Android TV.
To start, open the Downloader app. If you don’t have it, or aren’t sure what it is, check out my overview of the Downloader app here.
In the URL search bar, enter the following:
Or, you can get there directly by entering the following shortcode:
This automatically starts the download process.
Once the APK file is downloaded, the installation process begins.
After a few seconds, the installation completes. You can choose to open SmartTubeNext directly from the install screen, or by clicking on its icon in the app drawer.
Before you go, we found the most commonly asked questions people search for and found the answers; check them out!
What is better: SmartTubeNext or SmartYouTubeTV?
SmartYoutubeTV is an earlier version of SmartTubeNext. Although both options are great apps that are easy to use, SmartTubeNext is more advanced.
It can also run natively on your Android TV, while SmartYoutubeTV requires a few more steps to get it up and to work.
Is SmartTubeNext illegal?
No, using SmartTubeNext is not a violation of the law.
As an open-source project, it has a General Public License from the Free Software Foundation that allows anyone to copy, use, and distribute the app and its code.
Is it safe to install SmartTubeNext?
Yes, installing SmartTubeNext on an Android TV or similar device is safe.
Since it’s an open-source project, the code is online and available for all to see. That gives it an added layer of security, so it becomes challenging to load malicious code into the app without people seeing it instantly.