According to a new report by Protocol, Google is in the process of creating or adding native TV channels to Google TV devices like Chromecasts and set-top boxes running the software. These channels will be referred to as ‘F.A.S.T.’ – Free, Ad-Supported, streaming television and come from companies that distribute this type of content.
Similar to services like Sony’s Crackle, they will have the feel of normal cable programming with good old commercial breaks in-between. As told to Protocol by multiple industry insiders, Google may launch this additional, free service by the end of this Fall, but also has a mind to potentially wait until early next year to appease upcoming smart TV hardware partner launches.
If you’re familiar with the ‘Live TV’ navigation header on the Google TV interface, then you’ll no doubt understand why this is the best place for the company to allow users to peruse these new and upcoming channels. While this has yet to be confirmed, it does make the most sense, and I can see this allowing all users to have a ‘Live TV’ section with or without a Youtube TV subscription or local TV antenna.
Companies like Roku and Samsung already have hundreds of free tv channels that are right in line with this type of feature, so I’m willing to bet that Google will attempt to integrate these pre-existent services into the Live TV section of Google TV, but I also believe they will have some that are not tied to major service providers sop that those with more generic branded televisions also have something to watch.
Some other providers with free TV channels include The Weather Channel, Scripps, Reuters, Meredith, Bloomberg, and more. As Protocol rightly points out, Google has attempted this before back when Android TV first got its start, but it didn’t get very far before it was shut down. Obviously, with the success that Google TV has seen since its launch and with existing Android TV interfaces being slowly morphed into Google TV over the next year, I have no doubt that this time the company will have a success on its hands. My only concern is that it’s finding an abundance of ways to inject advertising into my living room and that’s just plain annoying.