It looks like Google TV will follow the path that Plex and others have followed with live TV: a list of 50 free, ad-supported TV channels found in the Android TV launcher app for Android devices.
Conscientious code mining is done by 9to5Google (opens in new tab), which refers to “50 live TV channels that users can enjoy without subscription, registration or download.” The channels will apparently cover “news, sports, movies and shows”.
Google TV already integrates perfectly with several live TV apps, including Pluto TV, Philo, and (of course) YouTube TV. However, it appears that the update will make these channels available without having to install any 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.
That’s a pretty impressive list, even if it doesn’t match the likes of Samsung TV Plus — it has over 200 free live channels. So far, there’s no indication of when these channels will be officially added to Google TV, and Google hasn’t commented on them so far.
Of course, the TV platform is just one of many areas where the big tech giants — Amazon, Apple, Google, Samsung — compete with each other, and Google will be eager to gain whatever advantage it can get.
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 been rolling out to various other devices since then.
It was originally an improved interface for Android TV and is heavily based on Android TV: you get a more modern look, better search integration across multiple apps, and extras like watchlists. By the end of this year, Google is looking to update as many devices as possible from Android TV to Google TV.
Meanwhile, the Google Play Movies & TV app on smartphones and tablets has been replaced by Google TV. This new app is similar to Google TV on TVs and streaming dongles, except it runs on Android as an app instead of 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 the Google Assistant. You can think of it as a direct competitor to the Apple TV app (rather than the Apple TV 4K streaming box).