Google TV, which is essentially a “Pixel” experience built on top of Android TV on select devices, already has access to a wealth of video material from a variety of streaming services. Netflix, Disney+, and HBO Max, for example, all need upfront subscriptions, though they do offer free trials for a month or so. There is a rising trend, though, where smart TV platforms have started giving a free selection of “live” TV content, and it looks that Google is close to implementing the same for its Chromecast and other Google TV devices as early as Fall this year.
Of course, this isn’t a first for this market. Samsung’s TV Plus, for example, has been expanding its reach to more nations and devices, promising billions of minutes of free linear entertainment. The success of this method has prompted others, such as Roku and Vizio, to follow suit, and it appears that Google may soon follow suit.
Google has been in talks with firms that offer free, ad-supported streaming TV channels, often known as FAST, according to insiders. In fact, similar programming might debut on Google TV later this fall, but Google may wait until early 2022 to align with its partners’ product cycles. Google TV is accessible on some Sony, TCL, and other televisions in addition to its own Chromecast.
According to the article, the experience will attempt to imitate the look and feel of traditional television networks, with advertisements serving as commercial breaks and on-screen graphics. These stations will be added to the Live TV menu on Google TV, which has previously only been used by YouTube TV and, more recently, Sling. There will be room on smart TVs for over-the-air programming received via the TV’s antenna.
The most pressing question is which channels will be included in the next lineup. This Google TV functionality will live or die based on the amount of fascinating material accessible, and as Google’s previous Android TV attempt demonstrated, it won’t be simple.