A huge Google TV update adds 800 free TV channels – here are some of the best

Chromecast with Google TV
(Image credit: Google)

If you’ve recently cut down on the number of best streaming services you subscribe to, and now feel your Google TV content library is a little sparse, don’t fret – over 800 channels just got added, and they’re all free.

All users of Google TV devices in the US – be it a Chromecast with Google TV or a display from Sony, TCL, and the like with Google TV built-in – should now see a new Live tab option that’s full to the brim with free content you can watch at no additional charge. It's thanks to new integration with Tubi, Plex, Haystack News, and Pluto TV that gives you access to a pretty broad range of channel options.

We can't outline everything here (there are 800 channels after all) but there are various news channels (including ABC, CBS, NBC, and plenty of others) which will give you easy access to information about current affairs in the US and worldwide. Then there's the suite of entertainment channels including WB TV Watchlist and Stories by AMC, which let you watch some of these platforms' best and most popular shows (such as Westworld and The Walking Dead).

You can also find dedicated channels for iconic reality TV shows such as Top Gear, Hell's Kitchen, and MythBusters, where every episode is streamed back to back to back nonstop. You can even find content across 10 languages including English, Spanish, and even Japanese.

Best of all, Google TV’s live Tab won’t just present you with a block of 800 channels; it will also separate them into groups to help you find what you want to watch. Want to get up to speed with current affairs? There’s a News and Opinion group. Want to enjoy a blockbuster flick? There’s a Movies group. You can even curate your own group of favorite channels to quickly access the free TV you enjoy most.

Just note that, unlike a show on Netflix, this is live TV, so if you miss the start of a show you won’t be able to rewind and catch up. You also won’t be able to pause the show – so if you need to grab snacks you’ll need to wait for an ad break (remember those?).

All your Live TV content in one place 

A person scrolling through the Live TV options to find something to watch on their Google TV

(Image credit: Google TV)

The new live TV guide won’t just bring together these free TV channels for you to browse, it’ll also organize the paid live TV subscriptions you’ve got access to from services like YouTube TV or Sling TV. It’ll be your new one-stop shop for live TV.

With the introduction of these channels, Google now boasts that it has “more free TV channels in one place than any other smart TV platform.” So if you’ve been reading through our Roku Streaming Stick 4K (2021) review, Chromecast with Google TV review, and Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K review trying to decide which is best for you, this new stat could give Google the edge.

There’s no word yet on if the Live tab will be coming to regions outside the US, but Google says it’ll be rolling out to eligible Android TV devices later this year – so keep an eye out for updates if you use an Android TV-powered smart TV.

In related good news, Google TV is also set to get faster and slicker thanks to a new update, so it'll be easier to find all these things.

Hamish Hector
Senior Staff Writer, News

Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.