300 free channels come to Google TV with Pluto TV

Mike Wheatley

Google TV is getting access to more than 300 new, free but ad-supported channels courtesy of a deal with Pluto TV. In addition, the company promised even more free TV options will come to the platform in 2022.


In a blog post, Google spoke of the importance of providing plenty of free content to viewers. It highlights a finding from its own research that shows 67% of streamers are worried about how much they will have to pay to subscribe to various streaming services in the future.

So that large demographic will likely welcome the prospect of anything it doesn’t have to pay extra for.

"Starting today, we’re partnering with Pluto TV so you can access more than 300 free live TV channels on Google TV,” the company revealed. “Visit the Live tab to see what’s on now or check out the Free Live TV recommendations in the For You tab. This new integration with Pluto TV will be available on all Google TV devices in the coming weeks.”

Google TV is an enhanced version of the Android TV platform that makes recommended content more accessible. Only a few devices have Google TV at present, such as the newest version of Chromecast and some Sony and TCL TVs. Though, it’s expected that Google TV will eventually come to more platforms, with Android TV slowly being phased out.

Pluto TV was already available on Android TV and Google TV as a separate app, but with today’s announcement it’s being integrated with the Live TV tab at the top of Google TV’s user interface. That tab is also home to other services, such as YouTube TV, Philo and Sling.

While you won't find a lot of recent hits or high-end original content on Pluto TV, the platform shows a lot of classic TV series and movies, with titles such as Mean Girls, Saving Private Ryan, The Wolf of Wall Street and Titanic all available.

Google isn’t alone in its push to bring more free content to its displays. Amazon, LG, Roku and Samsung have all notably launched similar drives, bringing free content to their respective platforms, though users have to put up with ads for the privilege of not paying. It’s part of a larger trend that’s seeing smart TVs slowly transform into ad-driven platforms that can generate recurring revenue for their creators.

LG has gone one step further with the creation of its entirely ad-supported TV operating system, River OS, which will likely be licensed to other TV manufacturers.

Alongside the Pluto TV update, Google said new users in the U.S. can also access six months of Peacock Premium at no cost through a special offer that’s redeemable in the For You and Apps tabs on Google TV.

“And in 2022, we’ll be bringing you more ways to watch for free,” the company promised.