Google TV is adding more ads to its platform

Mike Wheatley

Google TV is reportedly going all out with the ads, and it no longer limits them to just showing new movies and TV shows from streaming services and other content providers. Instead, it now allows ads for basically everything, including fast food.


Ads are becoming more prevalent on smart TVs as platform providers and manufacturers look to acquire additional revenue from their users. The trend began last year, when Nvidia Shield started displaying full-screen video ads that were unrelated to movies and content, and now its competitors are following suit.

Previously, the only ads you saw on Android TV/Google TV were trailers for movies and series, but now they can show almost any kind of product or service. What’s more, they are appearing on more devices, including Google’s Chromecast streaming dongle and Google TVs.

A number of posters on Reddit have complained about the ads, saying they’re being spammed with fast food ads from Hardees/Carl’s Jr., according to a report by 9to5Google. The ads are said to play automatically and take up the entire screen for 15 seconds or more, similar to YouTube ads. Users have to wait for a few seconds before they’re able to swipe the ads away.

Worse still, users say they cannot find any way to disable these new ads on Google TV, except to install a different launcher for a customized homescreen. However, by doing this, users will not be able to access some Google TV features.

Google isn’t the only smart TV platform provider to embrace the idea of more ads. Last November, Amazon said it is planning to introduce search ads and “non-entertainment” banner ads on its Fire TV platform, including its branded Fire TVs and its Fire TV streaming sticks and set-top boxes. Those ads appeared quickly, with users reporting seeing them just a few weeks later on the Fire TV homescreen.

More recently, Roku has also announced plans to bombard users with more ads. It’s said to offer “interactive” and “shoppable” ad formats through its platform, though we’re yet to see any reports of these ads emerging.

LG Electronics’ and Samsung Electronics’ respective operating systems, webOS and Tizen, are also slowly morphing into ad-supported platforms, as every major player in the TV industry seeks to jump on the monetization bandwagon. In addition, most streaming services – including Netflix and Disney+, have either implemented or announced plans to introduce ads.

While it’s possible to pay an additional fee to remove ads on streaming platforms, there is no such option on Smart TV platforms. That’s unfortunate, especially for those who have already paid a premium to obtain a high-end OLED or Mini-LED TV.

It seems that the last bastion of an ad-free TV experience is Apple’s TV 4K streaming device. Apple has, to date, not announced any plans to introduce ads to its platform and many will probably be hoping it stays that way.