Google TV steps up homescreen advertising

Mike Wheatley

Google TV users have reported seeing advertisements for products such as iPhones, cars and more in the Google TV carousel section, which was previously limited to ads for new shows and movies from services like Disney+ only.


The reports have appeared on Reddit and other web forums, with one user posting an example of an ad for an iPhone they say they’re now seeing regularly. Others have reported seeing ads for Tim Hortons coffee shops and Chrysler cars. Most of the users making the reports appear to be in the U.S., which suggests the ads for non-entertainment products are only being shown in certain regions. However, they are showing up on various devices, including Google’s Chromecast and Sony and TCL TVs.

According to Google, the ads for new shows and movies offered by its partner services are officially called “recommendations”, but the new non-entertainment ads now come with a label that designates them as such.

The move to embed more advertising into Google TV comes at a time when the company is stepping up its efforts to transition older Android TVs to a new interface that more closely resembles Google TV. The new interface has the same half-screen advertising space, so it is likely that the new ads will also start showing up on Android TVs from multiple brands at some point.

Google isn’t alone in doing this, it should be pointed out. The TV interface is increasingly being hijacked by TV and platform owners who’re leaning towards advertising as a way of boosting their profits. Roku has admitted that it’s planning to transform Roku OS into a next-generation ad platform, and both LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics have redesigned their respective TV platforms to create room for ads.

For Google TV users who want to avoid seeing any ads, there are a couple of options. They can switch to a third-party app launcher to access the various services they use, or alternatively change the homescreen into “Basic TV” mode.