Google is embracing free TV for its Google TV platform: The company has struck a deal with ViacomCBS-owned Pluto to add over 300 free, ad-supported streaming TV channels to its Chromecast with Google TV streaming dongle as well as smart TVs running Google TV.
Protocol first reported in September that Google was looking to bring free TV channels to its smart TV platform. On Monday, the channels were set to appear within a dedicated “Live” tab on the Google TV home screen that previously was only used for paid TV subscriptions.
Some of the channels currently carried by Pluto include an online-specific version of MTV, a “Baywatch” channel and a channel showcasing AMC movies. Pluto also carries news programming from NBC, CBS, Bloomberg and Cheddar, among others.
Google is just the latest smart TV platform provider to embrace free streaming channels; these channels, which stream 24/7, often resemble basic cable networks, complete with ad breaks and movie reruns. LG, Roku and Amazon all carry such channels on their platforms, and present them in EPGs that are familiar to anyone who has ever had cable TV.
As we reported in September, Google was looking to catch up with its competition by striking a deal that would give it wholesale access to a number of free streaming channels. However, the company may ultimately decide to strike additional deals for channels not available on Pluto. On Monday, Google said in a blog post that it had plans to add “more ways to watch for free” to Google TV next year.