×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Google’s Android TV Wants to Turn Every App Into a TV Channel

ABC, CBS and… TED?

Google has a new plan to surface online video on TV: Publishers of internet video apps can now add linear channels of programming to the company’s Android TV platform, where these channels are going to be available in the same program grid also used to navigate broadcast TV networks.

The new initiative, dubbed Android TV Channels, is being unveiled at Google’s I/O developer conference in San Francisco Thursday. Launch partners include TED, Vevo, the Huffington Post, Bloomberg, the Weather Network, AOL, Pluto, and and the European live-TV streaming service Zattoo.

Owners of an Android TV device can add these channels to their lineup by selecting them in the Play app store on their device. After that, these channels will be listed right next to the traditional TV channels from broadcasters like ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox when accessed through the live TV interface of Android TVs that companies like Sony and Sharp started to sell in recent weeks. Consumers will be able to channel-surf broadcast TV networks and online sources, which should make for a much more TV-like viewing experience of online video content.

Google isn’t the first one to experiment with incorporating online content into the traditional program grid; DVR maker TiVo has begun to add Netflix and other apps to its TV guide in select markets. However, Google’s approach for Android TV goes a lot further: The company is asking participating online video providers to actually program their channels in a linear fashion, complete with primetime slots and presumably also lots of early-morning repeats.

Publishers can also add their own ads to their programming, and videos are still available through dedicated apps as well, allowing consumers to explore a publisher’s entire catalog and catch up on shows they may have missed on a linear channel.

These kinds of linear online video can include live programming, but Google’s Android TV product manager Allen Huang suggested during a recent briefing that they could also work well for catch-up content catering to a specific niche of super-fans. Some viewers would love to have a channel that just broadcasts “Friends” reruns for 24 hours nonstop, he said. Google’s goal was to build what he called “the 60/40 box” — a TV device that would successfully mix popular TV content with online video services.

Google first unveiled Android TV at its developer conference in June of 2014. The company has since released a set-top box dubbed the Nexus Player in cooperation with Asus, and video game fans can choose between Android TV-based streaming devices from Nvidia and Razer. Sony, Sharp and Philips are all making Android TV-based TV sets available to consumers this spring as well.

The biggest challenge for Google is that Android TV doesn’t integrate with traditional cable boxes. Consumers will still have to switch their TV input source to access their cable channels, and online video channels won’t be part of that mix anymore. Google has struck deals to build Android TV-based pay TV boxes in countries like France and Korea, but time is on the company’s side: As consumers embrace cord cutting and internet-based services like Sling TV, eventually, everything could become a channel, with consumers being able to mix and match their own personal lineup from traditional TV services and online video sources.

More Digital

  • Vaccination

    YouTube Yanks Ads From Anti-Vaccination Conspiracy Channels

    YouTube, under fire for facilitating the spread of conspiracy theories and other misinformation, said it will no longer serve ads on channels that espouse anti-vaccination rhetoric. The Google-owned video giant cited its advertising policy that bans “dangerous and harmful” content from eligibility in its monetization program. “We have strict policies that govern what videos we [...]

  • Evan Williams, Twitter founder (R) and

    Twitter Co-Founder Evan Williams Steps Down From Company’s Board

    Twitter co-founder Evan “Ev” Williams is stepping down from the company’s board, Twitter announced in a SEC filing Friday afternoon. Williams will depart from the board at the end of this month, according to the filing. “It’s been an incredible 13 years, and I’m proud of what Twitter has accomplished during my time with the [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    Facebook Shuts Down Controversial Ovano VPN App

    Responding to a continued backlash over its data collection practices, Facebook pulled the plug on its Ovano VPN app Friday. Ovano, which promised users an added level of privacy while using public Wifi hotspots, was used by Facebook for market research purposes. Facebook removed the app from the Google Play store Friday, and the company [...]

  • Smosh

    Smosh Acquired by Rhett & Link's Mythical Entertainment

    UPDATED: Smosh, the long-running YouTube comedy brand, has been acquired by Mythical Entertainment, the company formed by Rhett & Link, hosts of comedy show “Good Mythical Morning.” As first reported by Variety last week, Mythical emerged as the leading candidate to buy Smosh, which was left stranded after parent company Defy Media shut down without [...]

  • China Video Streaming Giant iQIYI Loses

    Chinese Video Giant iQIYI Loses $1.3 Billion in 2018

    Chinese video streaming firm iQIYI lost over $1.3 billion in 2018, as revenues and subscriber numbers ballooned. The deepening losses reflected ever higher spending on original content production. Announcing its first full-year financials since a March IPO that launched it onto the NASDAQ, iQIYI said that it lost $1.3 billion (RMB9.1 billion) last compared with [...]

  • Roku headquarters

    Roku Aims to Top $1 Billion in Revenue in 2019, Beats Holiday Quarter Earnings Expectations

    Roku wants to become a billion-dollar company in 2019, and invest more in its ongoing international expansion. The streaming-device maker told investors on Thursday that it expects to generate between $1 billion and $1.025 billion this year, and that international growth was one of its key investment areas for 2019. Roku made these announcements as [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content