Ads have unfortunately become an inescapable part of digital life, but, thankfully, there has been some pushback on the aggressive and invasive nature of ads. Given the nature of its business, it’s no surprise that Google has become the poster child for often questionable advertising strategies. That came under the spotlight again this week when Google not only put video ads on the home screens of its Android TV and Google TV platforms but also made those ads automatically play with audio and no way to turn them off.
To be fair, these aren’t the type of ads you’d seen on the Web, enticing you to click on them and potentially risk your privacy. These video ads are, of course, distributed by Google and come from a select few streaming partners trying to tempt Android TV users to sign up for a subscription.
Video previews for such services and channels might not be that terrible, and ones that autoplay might not be that bad either. Anyone who has a Netflix account might have noticed the same autoplaying previews for videos. What has gotten Android TV owners up in arms is how the ads play with audio, which could be a rather disruptive and irritating shock to those used to operating Android TV silently.
9to5Google does note that the video ads only autoplay under specific circumstances, but those situations are easily repeated when one returns to the home screen regularly. Making matters worse is the absence of any option to disable these ads or even turn off autoplay or audio at the very least.
Needless to say, NVIDIA Shield TV owners who are receiving the latest Android TV update are furious about this change. It doesn’t seem like Google is backing out of providing these “Recommended” ads on Android TV’s home screen, but the least that it could is to make the experience less infuriating for users.