How to make gnome/KDE/xfce/etc usable on a TV?

Hi there,
Lately I’ve been trying to have a sort of Linux TV box. I’ve tried to install Linux as is, as I have to say, it’s atrociously bad to use on a TV (everything is way too small, changing sizes of icons and such doesn’t seem to be a good solution).
Still, I would like to know if someone knows how to make an android TV like experience.
I dabbled in the past on librelec and such, but for me they all miss the mark (objective here is to make an accessible Netflix, prime video, you name it, perfectly accessible and visible on a TV on a regular living room sort of space, it’s not about accessing local media).
I know of a project called big plasma by KDE, tried to install postmarkos on x86, not a lot of success there (and from what I know, it’s still in a lot of development). As a last resort I did check android TV, but it is a wild west to get things working as expected.

Thanks in advance for any responses

EDIT: forgot to mention, but I have a mini PC with x86 architecture

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You got me wondering what Ubuntu Touch would look like on a TV.

One project that I have neglected is LineageOS on an Onn TV box. I have both the 2021 and 2023 model


Thanks for giving me some more pointers. Unfortunately, since I am not in the us I dont think I can get a hand on those boxes (they are from Walmart, right?). As for Ubuntu touch, will give it a check!

Yes, the model I have is walmart US based. Ubuntu Touch runs android apps well. The scale of the GUI or desktop environment of UT might work for you.

One more suggestion, how about an Android x86 project.

“Plasma Bigscreen” (by KDE) is specifically designed for TVs. Its rather new but seems to work really well. Id give it a try…

EDIT: Didnt read that you already tried it, sry.

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Thanks for everyone for the info given :grinning:

It has been a few days, but I did some more research into all of this, and there is a lot to chew on:

  • Regarding Anrdoid x86 - I did try to install it and check it around. It could be a good one if it wasn´t for the massive version gap between today and their version. Also, I was a bit more interested in Android without Gapps part, but it seems x86 does have those as default (if someone knows a Lineage image for x86, please let me know). A weird part of x86 is just not working with ethernet, which is very strange, since regular android can work with ethernet adapters.
  • As for Ubuntu Touch: from what I can gather, this is either a more abandoned project or there is some massive rework happening at this point but is not visible (I think is more abandoned, from what I saw in a few videos). I did try to check how exactly to have that on regular x86, but was unable to find much. Still, another development was done afterwards, which is the next point
  • Lomiri: This seems to be a fork (or similar?) of what was from Ubuntu Touch. It can be installed on Debian, but from what I tried from a virtual machine, seems extremely green (or versions for other devices is just more polished, not sure here).
  • Kde Big Plasma: for me this was the biggest surprise. After a 3rd look into this one, and contrary to whatever KDE Big Plasma say on their page, you CAN install it on Debian! And very functional from what I see.

Now for me the biggest things for Big Plasma is mostly understanding how exactly make Netflix or other stream service work on the tile system it has. But for me, this is by far the best one of the options.

Not sure when I can have more findings on this, but I can have more updates once I know more about this.