Thursday, July 25, 2024

Your Google TV live guide is now packed with over 800 free channels

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FAST (Free Ad-supported TV) channels are becoming inevitable these days and their popularity is thriving by combining familiar news programs with news programs offered for free. Almost any modern smart TV you buy today will include a good number of them. Roku and Amazon (with Fire TV) are both big proponents. And now, Google is doubling down more than it already was on FAST linear content.

Starting today in the US, the company’s Google TV platform is adding a slew of additional FAST channels. Whether you’re watching from a Chromecast or a TV running the program, you’ll start to see it pop up over the next few weeks.

Google TV was already showing FAST content from Pluto TV, but is now expanding to include channels from Tubi, Plex, and Haystack News. Moreover, Google TV adds its own FAST channels that can be streamed without going into an app.

Google TV will have its own FAST channels that can be streamed instantly.
GIF: Google

Google claims to bring a total of “over 800 free TV channels from multiple providers in one place”. Just understand that by “one place,” the company is only referring to its live TV guide; In some cases, you will still need to install and open some of these apps to watch linked channels.

In a sign of how seriously it’s pushing speed, Google says it also plans to “bring a new TV guide and free-to-air channels to eligible Android TV devices later this year” — so it won’t be limited to the latest Google TV software. If you have an Nvidia Shield TV or other Android TV based device, it may appear there as well.

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For people who refuse to pay for any kind of live TV subscription service, the brisk programming can certainly be useful in filling up your downtime whenever you get tired of Netflix, HBO Max, or any of the other major streaming shows.

But if you Do Pay for YouTube TV, Sling TV, or any other service that’s already integrated with Live Guide on Google TV, so much new stuff could be about to happen. Google tells me there’s no way to completely hide FAST content, but that live TV channels from your subscriptions will at least appear above them at the top of the guide.

The Google TV live guide now includes free channels from Tubi, Plex, and more.
Image: Google

You’ll be able to save your favorite networks to the top of the guide for faster access, so hopefully, scrolling through dozens and dozens of linear channels with shows you’ve never heard of will help. But sometimes that’s just part of the FAST experience, friends. At least it’s organized into easy-to-browse categories.

The expansion of the Live TV tab comes after Google rolled out other changes to the Google TV interface — mostly focused on the home screen — in February. This redesign saw Movies and Shows dropped from the main navigation bar and moved to the For You tab. Before that, Google cleaned up the library and simplified the live directory.

As someone who pretty much sticks to the usual streaming heavyweights, I’m increasingly curious about this whole fast thing and would love to hear from people who use these services a lot.

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What is your favorite FAST channel? Are there under-the-radar gems worth advertising? rips some MacGyver I rebroadcast a few weeks ago on a channel I had already forgotten. It hit that spot, and I know Samsung has a very calming Bob Ross channel. But I would like a full rundown of what my time is worth now that I have over 800 channels of random content at your fingertips every night. Comment away.

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