Sony Bravia TVs get broadcast channel support within Google TV

Over-the-air channels are incorporated into the "Live" guide on a Google TV.
Over-the-air channels are incorporated into the “Live” guide on a Google TV. (Photo by Matthew Keys for The Desk)

A new software update for Sony Bravia TVs will allow viewers to scroll through their local broadcast channels without leaving the Google TV home screen.

The update, which began rolling out to users this week, allows viewers who watch TV with an over-the-air antenna to access their local stations from the “Live” tab on the Google TV home screen.

The Desk was able to confirm the new feature on a Bravia TV set running the Google TV operating system. It was not clear if the feature would come to users of other Google TV-powered sets. In addition to Sony, electronics makers Hisense and TCL also offer televisions that use Google TV software.

Google TV launched in 2010 as a refreshed version of Google’s smart television operating system Android TV. The following year, Google added the “Live” tab to give users quick access to live television channels across a variety of services.

Initially, the Live tab only worked with Google’s own premium live television service YouTube TV, but it has since grown to include support for a number of third-party streaming services, including Dish Network’s Sling TV, Paramount Global’s Pluto TV, Comcast’s Xumo and Philo.

Earlier this month, technology website 9to5Google reported Google was in the process of integrating more than 50 live channels of content within the Google TV experience. A review of channels showed that Google is likely to offer native access to streams powered by the Xumo service, rather than the company launching its own standalone streaming service.