Google reportedly plans to add free channels to its smart TV platform – Engadget

Chromecasts and other devices powered by Google TV might give users access to free television channels in the future. According to Protocol, Google has been in talks with free, ad-supported streaming television providers about the possibility of adding their channels to its smart TV platform. Those channels typically have a similar feel to traditional TV, and its shows will be interrupted by commercial breaks. 

Protocol says Chromecast users might be able to browse live channels available to them through a dedicated menu similar to YouTube TV’s. Meanwhile, smart TVs powered by the platform might show the free channels alongside other over-the-air programming that can be accessed with an antenna. The publication says that’s similar to how companies like Samsung present free TV offerings on their own platforms. Samsung’s free TV service has become so popular, other companies (including Roku and Amazon) started giving their customers access to hundreds of free channels, as well.

The addition of linear programming to Google TV could help make Chromecasts and smart TVs powered by the operating system a more enticing option for cord-cutters. Google could officially launch free streaming channels as soon as this fall, though it could also wait to announce the feature until its smart TV partners are also ready to do so next year. Protocol also says that while it’s unclear what channels are making their way to the platform at this point, Google will likely strike deals that will give it access to “dozens of free channels” all at once. 

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