It looks like Google TV will follow the path taken by Plex and others by offering live TV: a list of 50 free ad-supported TV channels has been discovered in the Android TV Launcher app for Android devices.
The obedient code was drilled by 9to5Google (Opens in a new tab), and refers to the “50 channels of live TV without the need for subscription, subscription or download” that users can enjoy. These channels will apparently cover “news, sports, movies and shows”.
Google TV already integrates neatly with several 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 any additional apps.
Some of the channels included 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 the World Poker Tour.
It’s a reasonably impressive list, even if it doesn’t match the likes of Samsung TV Plus – which has more than 200 live channels available for free. So far there is no indication of when the addition of these channels on Google TV might become official, and so far Google has not said anything about it.
Of course, TV platforms are just one of the many areas where tech giants — Amazon, Apple, Google, and Samsung — are going head-to-head against each other, and Google will be keen to get whatever kind of advantage they 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 made its debut on Chromecast with Google TV in 2020, and since then it has started making its way to many other devices as well.
It started life as a revamped Android TV interface, and it relies heavily on Android TV: you’ll get a more modern look, better search integration across multiple apps, and additional features like a watchlist. By the end of this year, Google is looking 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At the same time, the Google Play Movies & TV app has been replaced by Google TV on smartphones and tablets.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, except that it works as an app on top of Android rather than an entire operating system on a different device.
Wherever you use Google TV, you can buy and rent digital content, access all your streaming apps, and take advantage of the Google Assistant. You can think of it as a direct competitor to the Apple TV app (not an Apple TV 4K streaming box).