Google is tipped to be working on bringing free TV channels to its Google TV platform in the near future. For the unaware, Google TV is an Android-based smart TV platform. It runs on Chromecast and select smart TVs from Sony, TCL, among others. It is supported by several streaming apps like Disney+ Hotstar, Netflix, and more. Now, Google TV could take things to the next level by adding free TV channels to its offering. It is reported that Google is in talks with companies distributing free and ad-support streaming television channels.
The latest development comes from a report from Protocol. It cites industry sources to report that free streaming channels could launch on Google TV. These could come as early as fall this year or alongside its smart TV partners in 2022. Hence, it will allow Chromecast users to browse channels through a dedicated Live TV menu. As of now, this menu offers only paid TV services, which includes YouTube TV subscription service. The new free TV channels will be offered alongside these subscription-based live channels.
As per the report, the free TV channels on Google TV may have the look and feel of traditional, linear TV networks, complete with ad breaks and on-screen graphics. Reportedly, these will be similar to what Samsung offers with its TV Plus service every month on its smart TV range. For the unaware, Samsung’s service integrates free streaming channels. The company is tipped to stream “billions of minutes” of linear programming every month.
Google TV competitors like Roku and Amazon have already introduced live channels on their devices. Roku is said to have added over 200 free channels to its platform. TV manufacturers like Xiaomi already offer free streaming channels with PatchWall 4.0. These additions allow users to transition between streaming channels and live TV easily.
For reference, Google TV was announced a year back, in September 2020. It was launched as a new interface based on Android TV. It was introduced with features like personalised For You recommendations from across subscriptions, as well as the ability to create a Watch List.