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Google incorporates more free channels into TV platform

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 rolling out an updated version of its Google TV interface that will see hundreds of free television streams added to the platform in the coming weeks.

The revamped interface is rolling out today to supported devices, including the Chromecast with Google TV and some TCL and Sony TVs powered by the Google TV platform. As is typical with Google TV updates, some users will see the changes today, while others might have to wait a few days or weeks before their devices get the new features.

The features include adding hundreds of linear content streams to the “Live” tab of the Google TV interface, including some news, sports and entertainment networks that don’t require downloading a separate app.

In a blog post published on Tuesday, officials at Google said the total number of free, ad-supported streaming channels available through the Live tab will be over 800 once the update rolls out to all users. The channels come from Haystack News, Plex and Fox Corporation’s Tubi, and join channels from Pluto TV and Comcast’s Xumo that were already supported by the platform.

The Live tab also aggregates linear channels from pay television providers, including Google’s own YouTube TV, Dish Network’s Sling TV and the wallet-friendly service Philo.

In early March, Google said it was tweaking the overall user interface of Google TV that improved device speed by consolidating some of its menus. The changes were also promoted as a way to help Google TV users pick up where they left off on TV shows and movies and discover new content to watch on supported apps like Hulu, Disney Plus, Prime Video, Paramount Plus, Peacock and others.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).