It looks like Google TV will follow the path taken by Plex and others in introducing live TV: a list of 50 free and ad-supported television channels was discovered in the Android TV launcher app for Android devices.
Obedient code digging was done by 9to5Google (opens in new tab), and refers to “50 live TV channels with no subscription, subscription or download required” that users can enjoy. These channels will apparently cover “news, sports, movies and shows”.
Google TV already integrates seamlessly with a number of live TV apps, including Pluto TV, Philo, and (of course) YouTube TV. However, it appears that the update would 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 a reasonably impressive list, even if it doesn’t match the Samsung TV Plus – which has over 200 live channels available for free. There’s still no indication of when the addition of these channels to Google TV might be made official, 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 – face off, and Google will be keen to get any kind of advantage possible.
Analysis: What is Google TV anyway?
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 a number of other devices as well.
It started 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 intends to upgrade as many devices as possible from Android TV to Google TV.
At the same time, the Google Play Movies & TV app was replaced by Google TV on smartphones and tablets. This new app is similar to Google TV on televisions and streaming dongles, only it’s running as an app on Android rather than a full OS on a different device.
Wherever you experience Google TV, you can buy and rent digital content, access all your streaming apps, and use Google Assistant. You can think of it as a direct competitor to the Apple TV app (not the Apple TV 4K streaming box).