Google TV has taken over Android TV as the go-to smart TV interface from Google. Many of the best TVs use it, and it is quickly becoming one of the most popular smart TV platforms out there.
Now, Android TV is going to steal one of Google TV's best features. Starting this week, Google is rolling out Live TV to Android TV users (hat tip to 9to5Google). This means Android TV users — myself included — will now get Google TV’s “Live” tab as part of the Android TV user interface.
Practically, this brings tons of free TV channels to you, all in one place, including many of the best free streaming services such as Tubi, Pluto TV and more. In total, Google says this will give users over 800 channels in more than 10 languages.
You still need to download the respective Android TV app for some of these services for them to appear in your Live feed. Tubi, PlutoTV, Plex and Haystack will all be available in the Live feed if you have the app set up for the respective service. But even if you don’t want to sign up for any of these free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) services, you’ll still get free Google TV channels in the Live tab, so there’s something for everyone.
Google says the Live tab will begin rolling out to U.S. Android TV devices over the next few weeks — currently, my TVision HUB remains without the new feature — so keep an eye out for this update on your device. Android TV devices include the Nvidia Shield TV, as well as 2021 Onn streaming devices, and select TVs sold prior to 2022.
Free TV is never a bad thing
This is a surprising win for Android TV users. While Google hasn’t completely abandoned support for the platform, it has certainly let it fall by the wayside.
Google TV is definitely the superior user interface in the battle of Google TV versus Android TV and can be found everywhere from the latest Chromecast with Google TV 4K to the majority of the TCL 2023 TV lineup. It’s sleeker, easier to use and doesn’t lack any Android TV features — whereas Android TV does miss out on some of Google TV’s upgrades.
But now, Android TV users have one less reason to upgrade to a Google TV device. Getting access to FAST services right from the Home page is a major quality-of-life upgrade, especially for those of us just looking for something to play in the background. And with Google TV's 800 free live TV channels, there will be plenty of shows and movies to choose from.