Google TV expands 'Live' guide categories, adds 14 free streaming channels

Google TV has updated its free streaming TV experience, adding more than a dozen new channels and launching new guide categories for easier access.

Google TV introduced its revamped “Live” tab in April, which offers access to more than 800 free ad-supported channels for users in the U.S. In a community post Tuesday, Google disclosed adding “Recents” and “Local News” – to help users quicky access their recently watched free TV channels and free news channels in their area, respectively. Several free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) services, such as Roku, Samsung TV Plus, Amazon Fire TV and others, have expanded local news offerings - a category multiple platforms have pegged as a performer. NBCUniversal Local in the past year for instance has upped its FAST channel portfolio to 15, alongside a growing presence on nine streaming and CTV platforms, including Google TV.

Additionally, on the updated Google TV free streaming experience the “For You” tab is getting a new “Free live news & opinion” row.

The blog also touted improved speed and storage updates to Google TV this year.

That includes optimizing the way the home screen loads recommendation rows and uses memory, as well as simplified basic system apps to run lighter, all so TV interface navigation “feels smoother, apps open faster and your entertainment starts playing more quickly,” according to the post. The platform also changed device setup, decreasing the size of preinstalled apps that aren’t used by viewers to free up more space for apps they do use on the device.

Expanding free streaming channels

Along with user experience improvements, Google TV boasted the recent launch of 14 new free channels, including the Xumo Holiday Movie Channel, DraftKings and Speedvision – bringing its built-in free channel tally to 115.

Colin Petrie-Norris, chief revenue officer of the Comcast-Charter joint venture Xumo, previously shared with StreamTV Insider that the Xumo Enterprise arm was the entity helping to power content and tech for nearly 80 of Google TV’s native FAST channels within the "Live" experience – which also rolled out on Android TV.

On the new channel front, the Xumo Holiday Movie Channel adds to Google TV’s “Holidays” category on the Live tab, which showcases free holiday movie and music channels. Speedvision, meanwhile, is an auto entertainment network and previously disclosed a launch on Google TV in late November. The Speedvision brand was resurrected in 2022 and now offers a library of more than 700 hours of content “showcasing any vehicle powered by an engine.” It counts streaming distribution on 14 platforms including Prime Video, Amazon’s Freevee, Fubo, Xumo Play, Local Now, LG Channels, Samsung TV Plus, and Dish’s Freestream, among others.  

“Today’s launch on Google TV is a major milestone for Speedvision, as it makes our signature auto entertainment lineup available and easily accessible for the Google TV audience via its live TV experience,” said Robert Scanlon, president and CEO of Speedvision, in a November 30 statement. “Coming on the heels of our first anniversary, this announcement represents yet another key step in our efforts to make Speedvision available to the car passionate audience, wherever they view their content.”