Google TV Gets 800 Free Streaming Channels To Take On Roku

Google TV, the software that is found on some smart TVs and the latest Chromecast, is now ready to compete with Roku — at least when it comes to aggregating free streaming television content. In an announcement on Tuesday, Google said that its television operating system now offers more than 800 channels of free content pulled from a variety of sources, the key aspect being their centralized existence within a single guide in Google TV's Live tab.

If you have Google TV, you'll be able to use this guide to access shows and movies originating from sources like Plex and Tubi. The company says it is also taking things up a notch by offering "built-in channels from Google TV," meaning they're accessible without downloading the apps from the companies behind the streams. Such aggregation helps make cord-cutting and life outside of pay TV feel a little more like a traditional television-watching experience.

Google TV has more channels than The Roku Channel

Roku is arguably the biggest name in the streaming set-top box market, and it has long offered its own free content aggregation channel called The Roku Channel. The offering works largely the same way: you can use it to find and stream free content from a variety of destinations, ultimately "paying" in the form of time spent watching advertisements rather than by pulling out your bank card. 

Google has managed to trump Roku at this game, however, as the latter company says its platform offers more than 350 channels — or less than half of what Google TV now offers. Google says the guide with these free channels is the same one that shows any over-the-air networks you may pick up with a TV antenna, as well as channels from a Sling TV or YouTube TV subscription. The feature is launching first on Google TV devices in the United States and will follow later on with launches on some Android TV products — though Google doesn't say which ones will get the software update.