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Google brings more streaming channels to “Live” tab

The Chromecast with Google TV HD looks the same as the flagship Chromecast with Google TV, but has fewer internal bells and whistles.
The Chromecast with Google TV HD looks the same as the flagship Chromecast with Google TV, but has fewer internal bells and whistles. (Courtesy image, Graphic by The Desk)

Google has debuted more than a dozen new streaming channels within the “Live” tab of its Google TV devices, the company announced this week.

In addition to the new channels, Google has refreshed the “Live” menu on supported devices to include new categories, including “recents” and “local news.”

The new categories are designed to make it easier for streaming TV viewers to access their most-recent channels, as well as news feeds from their local television stations, Google’s product operations manager Ward Harmon wrote in the note.

Within the “Live” tab, Google curates a handful of free, ad-supported streaming channels under the “Google TV” brand name. The channels, which are powered by Comcast and Charter’s joint venture Xumo, stream natively within the platform and don’t require users to download a separate app to view them (though many are also available on Xumo Play, which is available as a free download on Google TV devices, among others).

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This week, Google added 14 new channels into the “Google TV” section of its Live tab, including SpeedVision, DraftKings and the Xumo Holiday Movie Channel. The addition of the new channels bumps the number of native free streaming channels available within the “Google TV” section to over 115, Harmon said.

All told, more than 800 free and premium streaming channels are available to view within the “Live” tab on supported Google TV devices, with other content streams originating from providers like Paramount Global’s Pluto TV, Haystack News, Google-owned YouTube TV, Sling TV and Philo.

Google also said it is improving the way its interface manages the limited amount of memory available on Google TV devices, to include optimizing the way Google TV renders content recommendations on each row of its home screen and preloading rows of TV shows and movies before a user scrolls through them.

The two improvements should make Google TV devices feel smoother and faster to use, Harmon wrote.

The Google TV interface is available on some devices that run the Android TV operating system, which includes the Chromecast with Google TV dongle and some smart TV sets made by TCL and Sony.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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