April 24, 2024

Google Strikes Deal with Canada to Avert News Blackout

Google has released a new home screen icon on Android TV that unlocks access to its free TV channels. The free channels were initially available via the “Live” tab on Google and Android TV.

Google will continue supporting the “Live” tab, airing free content with ads from different providers.

Android TV’s new home screen icon will be available to all users. In its release, Google states the shortcut will be visible to the free channels on the Favorite Apps row on the home screen.

Unlocking Access to Free Channels

“Starting today and over the next few weeks on Android TV devices in the U.S., you will see a shortcut to free channels in the Favorite Apps row on your home screen,” a statement from Google said.

The free channels offered by the tech giant range from local news to movies and sports. Viewers can access these channels without depending on additional downloads, payments, or subscriptions.

The change applies to Android TVs such as TCL, Hisense, and other brands, including the older versions. It is not the first time these free channels have been available to users. However, it is the first time the free channels are being made available in a visible location.

While responding to 9to5Google, a spokesperson from Google said that the free TV channels will initially appear on the home screen. Users can choose to remove the icon or move it to another location.

This shortcut will be available to Android TV users in the coming weeks. However, the scheduled release is already attracting criticism.

New “Free TV Channels” icon on Android TVs Attracts Mixed Reactions

The “Free TV Channels” icon on Android TVs will make it easier for users to filter through the supported channels and get free content. However, the addition is raising privacy concerns from some users.

Ads have become a key feature on top streaming and entertainment platforms. Some platforms, like Netflix, released ads to lower subscription costs. Users can avoid these ads by spending more money on their subscription packages.

Streaming services are now not alone in preinstalling ads in their operating system. The trend is now becoming popular as smart devices launch ads to attract customers looking to save costs and maximize their ad revenues.

In the case of Google TV, some have criticized the company’s approach to aggressively promote its free ad-based streaming channels by displaying them on the favorite row.

Google TV users are paying for the free channels by viewing ads. However, this content appears to be forced down the throats of those who do not prefer such content and instead prefer parting with more money to avoid skipping through unwanted product promotions.

Google’s launch is being seen as intrusive by dangling ads in front of users on the home screen of Android TV. While users can choose to remove this icon, it still violates the preference of those who have never previously relied upon ad content.

Google TV is not alone in aggressively promoting ads. Netflix is already running a promotion for its ad-supported service, saying it was generous to consumers by turning off advertisements mid-way during binging sessions for those using its low-cost ad-supported plan.

While users might keep complaining about the growing popularity of ads, companies will not stop promoting these free and low-cost plans to maximize their revenues.


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