Google will incorporate free linear channels into Google TV

A screen capture from a Google with Chromecast TV showing the “Live” tab integration with Dish Network’s Sling TV. (Graphic by The Desk)

Google is holding discussions with programmers of free, ad-supported linear streaming television channels with plans to incorporate some of those offerings into its Google TV service, according to a report.

On Thursday, the technology website Protocol said Google would collate those streams under the “Live” tab that is already found on some Google TV devices, including the company’s flagship Google with Chromecast TV.

Currently, only two services — Google’s own YouTube TV and Dish Network’s Sling TV — are listed in Google TV.

For the most part, Google is playing catch-up to technology rival Amazon, which launched a live television section across its Fire TV devices. As of March, more than 20 streaming television services were supported by the feature, including Fox Corporation’s Tubi, ViacomCBS streamer Pluto TV and Amazon’s own IMDb TV.

Roku, which offers competing streaming hardware powered by its own operating system, also offers ad-supported linear channels through the Roku Channel, with users able to tune into more than 200 streams.

Thanks for reading and supporting The Desk. If you have a question, comment or news tip, send a message by email or text, or connect on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Also, check out our new membership service The Desk: Pro Access for exclusive reporting, news scoops and in-depth analysis.