Google TV Is Touting 800 Free Live TV Channels: What Does That Actually Mean?

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Google TV announced in April 2023 that it provides access to more than 800 live TV channels. For free.

And in August 2023, Google TV added to that free content tally with an additional 25 free channels.

In total, Google TV has more than 100 built-in live TV channels and connected access to more than 800. That’s a staggering total!

If you’re like me, your initial reaction to reading a headline like that is probably: “What’s the catch?”

Money expert Clark Howard is a big fan of free streaming TV and has many of those freebie apps loaded on his personal television, so I figured it was worth investigating this “800 free live TV channels” claim to see what the fuss is all about.

In this article, I’ll look at what is actually included in this list of channels, how you can access them and help you determine if it’s worth bothering.

This article was updated in December 2023 and I review it every 12 months. Detailed notes on all updates can be found here.

How Is Google TV Offering 800 Live TV Channels for Free?

Let’s start with the bad news: You’re not getting top TV channels like ESPN, HGTV, TBS or TNT for free via Google TV. Those still require a monthly fee via live TV streaming or traditional cable or satellite TV.

Instead, you’re getting an aggregation of lesser-known free channels via several sources.

Google TV is combining roughly 100 free channels native to its platform with options from free streaming services like Tubi, Pluto TV and Plex in one spot.


If you visit the “Live” tab on your Google TV device’s home screen, you’ll get access to popular freebie channels like:

  • NBC News Now
  • CBS News
  • Reuters
  • FOX Weather
  • CBS Sports HQ

The total channels available in this aggregation strategy climbs to over 800 as they’re all presented together on a menu via the “Live” tab. That’s how they’re making this claim.

This may be disappointing news if the headlines got your hopes up for free premium channels. But it’s still pretty neat that you can find so much content from your streaming device’s home screen without opening any apps.

Take a look at this illustration of how it works on a Google TV device:

Google TV
Google TV illustration via Google

You can tag your favorite channels to easily access them on the menu and can find content in several different languages.

It’s also worth noting that you can access live TV channels from any of your subscription services, such as YouTube TV or Sling TV, from this menu as well.

What Do I Need to Access These Free Channels?

The “live TV” experience is available on most Google TV devices in the United States as of November 30, 2023.

The cheapest way to gain access likely is a Chromecast with Google TV, which can typically be purchased for $30 or less. It’s also possible that your smart TV has Google TV already installed.

The devices that should have access now include:

  • Chromecast with Google TV
  • Sony smart TVs with Google TV
  • TCL smart TVs with Google TV
  • Hisense smart TVs with Google TV
  • Philips smart TVs with Google TV

Google originally introduced this in April 2023 and has been following through with a rollout plan for the live TV guide and free channels to other eligible Android TV devices in the following months.


I was able successfully access this from my Chromecast with Google TV by selecting the “Live” tab via my home screen menu.

Final Thoughts: Is This Worth Trying Out?

Google TV has many streaming enthusiasts talking after headlines spread about the access to 800 free channels in one spot.

Those who were hoping for free access to legacy networks or live sports are likely disappointed to learn that it’s actually a free streaming channel aggregation tool.

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t still pretty cool.

I think it’s worth trying out if you have a Google TV device.

The ability to access content from several of the top free streaming TV services in one spot is nice. And the interface is both easy-to-use and reminiscent of a legacy cable guide menu, so there should be some familiarity and comfortability for most users.

Are you going to try out this free streaming option? Share your experiences with us in the community!

Article Updates
  • December 2023: Updated channel information to include that Google TV has added an additional 25 channel options to the original release of 800.