Google TV Adds 800 Free Channels & Category Guides

To spur interest in its platform, Google TV has added 800 free TV channels to its Live TV tab. New channels and apps have been added, and the guide has been arranged to help you find whatever you are in the mood to watch easily.

Google announced the upgrade in a blog stating it was integrating access to free channels from Tubi, Plex, and Haystack News directly into the Live tab, alongside existing channels from Pluto TV. “We're also launching free built-in channels from Google TV that you can watch without even downloading or launching an app. In total, you can now browse over 800 channels and premium programming, including news channels from NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox. You can also tune in to channels from around the world, with programming in more than 10 languages including Spanish, Hindi and Japanese."

Those with live TV subscriptions from YouTube TV Live or Sling TV can access those channels in the same Live tab where the Live TV guide is displayed. However, the live TV subscription channels are not integrated into the Google TV free channel Live TV guide. Tubi, Plex, and Haystack channels are listed in categorical guides while YouTube and Sling TV have separate guides.

The Google TV guide aggregating free channels from apps is divided into a whopping 23 content genres/categories. Each category has a wide variety of channels.

Google TV's Live TV Guide Genres
Each guide lists the number of channels in the list.

Popular has 29 channels featuring whatever is currently most popular among viewers.

Movies has 71 movie channels including Pluto TV movie channels, Filmrise, Blackpix, Tribeca, iFC Films picks, Crackle, Samuel Goldwyn Channel, and ArtFlix.

News & Opinion: The 39 channels include major network news channels, Reuters and Sky News, the Today and USA Today channels, and 60 Minutes.

Hit TV Shows: Most of these 21 channels are hit shows from the past such as Star Trek, Portlandia, Walking Dead, Baywatch, Degrassi, Heartland, and more.

Crime: The 33 channels span a wide variety of channels dedicated to single shows, including America's Dumbest Criminals, Dateline, 48 Hours, Cops, Blue Bloods, and CSI in addition to crime channels like FilmRise True Crime.

Reality: The 66 channels vary in format and subjects from Operation Repo, Ink Master, and The Biggest Loser to Masked Singer, Jersey Shore, Duck Dynasty, Survivor, and Supermarket Sweep. Documentaries are not included here (or anywhere).

Entertainment brings 68 channels of both TV and movie content, including TV Land, Paramount+ picks, Showtime Selects, Logo Pluto TV, and Plex Picks.

Game Shows has 10 channels of classic game shows.

Daytime TV includes talk shows across 13 channels including Best of Dr. Phil, Best of The Drew Barrymore Show, The Rachel Ray Show, daytime court dramas, Divorce Court, Judge Judy, and Pluto TV Soaps channel.

Comedy has 31 channels including Sitcom Legends with British Comedy and popular shows like Frasier.

Classic TV has 32 show-specific channels such as the Happy Days channel, which also has the spinoffs like Mork & Mindy, in addition to Western TV, and a variety of channels spanning many tastes — I Love Lucy, Dr. Who, Family Ties, Dark Shadows, and Ed Sullivan.

Home and Design offers 16 channels spanning a wide variety of shows like Antiques Roadshow, Ask This Old House, Tiny House Nation, BBC Home & Garden, The Design Channel , and more.

Food similarly has 16 channels like the popular Tastemade channel, Iron Chef, BBC Food, the Julia Child channel, and the Cooking Panda channel.

Nature & Travel: Whether it's domestic animals on Love Pets or wildlife on Go Wild, these 26 channels cover nature as in PBS Nature and include the Pluto TV Travel and Tastemade Travel.

Lifestyle is a catchall category with 30 channels, including True History, Smithsonian Channel, Cosmos, Modern Marvels, Bob Ross Channel, Gardening with Monty Don, PopSugar Fitness, Love Destination, Faith TV, and others.

Sports: While these 55 channels don’t include ESPN live sports, you get CBS Sports HQ, Fox Sports, FIFA World Cup, NFL Channel from Pluto TV, MMA TV, NHRA TV, and channels covering smaller sports like Pickle TV, Slopes TV, Surf Now TV, and Wired2Fish.

Gaming & Anime: The 20 channels cover broad gaming like IGN1 and Pluto TV Gamer plus specific game channels like Minecraft TV and Yu-Gi-Oh!

New to Google TV has seven channels from a variety of sources — BBC Earth from Plex, Vevo Regional Mexicano from Pluto TV, and the Celebrity Name Game channel.

Kids has 32 channels ranging from general kids TV like Nick Jr. from Pluto TV, Brat TV, Rainbow Squad, and Lego Kids TV to specific shows such as Dora (the Explorer) TV.

Music lists 49 video channels with several Vevo channels from Pluto TV, several Stingray Channels from Plex, MTV channels from Pluto TV, iHeart Country, and a couple of karaoke channels, including Party Time Karaoke from Plex.

En espanol has 91 Spanish language channels.

International channels are not all foreign languages. The 47 channels in this category include Euro News in English and other languages, Four in a Bed — a reality show about lodging from Tubi, Jamie Oliver at Home, BBC Food, and British Dramas from Pluto TV.

Local Channels: 150 channels including stations from Alabama, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Denver, Chicago, Corpus Christi, Dallas-Forth Worth, the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Miami, Minnesota, New Mexico, and New York plus Local Now News, featuring news from the nearest city based on your zip code.

Hands On Google TV's Live Tab
With so many channels, it's hard to come up with desirable channels that are missing but there are a few. Channels like Architectural Digest and Bon Appetit found on Freestream aren't available in Google TV Live TV's offering. It would be even better to include Freestream and FreeVee in the Live TV tab.

Navigating the guides and accessing channels is inconsistent. The Google TV guide shows a carousel of other channels currently streaming when you press the down button. This allows you to browse while continuing to watch the current program and is similar to how other devices’ live guides work.

However, other services like the separate Sling TV and Philo TV guides, and content from Pluto TV or Plex do not continue to play and show the Google TV live guides. Instead, when you click on a channel in the Google guides that are sourced by one of these services, it opens the corresponding app and takes you away from Google. As you are now in another app, each guide is what you'd normally see in that app.

Still, it's quick and easy to get back to the Google Live TV menu by pressing the back or home button.

Even though these inconsistencies can be confusing, the upgrade is a positive addition that provides access to many channels from one place — the Google TV Live TV tab.

If you want to see all of the services in one guide, paid live TV subscription services can be integrated with the others by using the Favorite guide. Adding channels to the Favorite guide is as easy as clicking on Start in the channel's name.

The new Live tab is another improvement to Google TV's best-in-class user interface. It would be perfect if it allowed users to add other services like Fire TV's live guide.

VondaFeather's picture

Great list. Thank you Google TV for adding 800 free channels. I really like gaming and anime channels of Google TV because I can play drift boss and watch other streamer living stream about it.