It looks like Google TV is set to follow the path that Plex and others have taken in introducing live TV: a list of 50 free, ad-supported TV channels has been discovered in the Android TV launcher for Android devices.
Obedient code digging was done by 9to5Google (opens in new tab), and refers to “50 live TV channels without the need to register, record or download” that users can enjoy. These channels will apparently cover “news, sports, movies and shows”.
Google TV already integrates seamlessly with many live TV apps, including Pluto TV, Philo, and (of course) YouTube TV. However, it looks like the update will make these channels available without the need to install additional apps.
Some of the channels listed in the code include ABC News Live, America’s Test Kitchen, ChiveTV, Hallmark Movies & More, Nature Vision, NBC News Now, Power Nation, Toon Goggles, USA Today and World Poker Tour.
It’s quite an impressive list, even if it doesn’t match Samsung TV Plus – which has more than 200 live channels available for free. There is currently no indication of when these channels might be officially added to Google TV, and so far Google hasn’t said anything about them.
Of course, TV platforms are just one of many areas where the big tech giants – Amazon, Apple, Google, Samsung – are going up against each other, and Google will be keen to have any advantage it can.
Analysis: what is Google TV again?
If you’re confused about what Google TV is, we don’t blame you. The platform/interface/app debuted on Chromecast with Google TV in 2020 and has since been rolling out to various other devices.
It started life as a revamped interface for Android TV and is heavily based on Android TV: you get a more modern look, better search integration across multiple apps, and extra features like a watch list. By the end of this year, Google is trying to update as many devices as possible from Android TV to Google TV.
At the same time, the Google Play Movies & TV app has been replaced by Google TV on smartphones and tablets. This new app is similar to Google TV on TVs and streaming dongles, only it runs as an app on top of Android rather than a full OS on a different device.
Wherever you are on Google TV, you can buy and rent digital content, access all your streaming apps, and use the Google Assistant. You can think of it as a direct competitor to the Apple TV app (not the Apple TV 4K streaming box).