Google TV will get a 'basic' mode, with apps and smarts stripped out, report says

The new smart TV system will arrive later this year on Sony, TCL and other TVs.

David Priest Former editor
David Priest is an award-winning writer and editor who formerly covered home security for CNET.
David Priest

The Google TV system will support a "basic TV" mode that strips out apps, voice control and other smart features, leaving customers with a more traditional TV experience, according to a Wednesday report from 9to5Google. The upcoming feature is reportedly designed first and foremost for users without internet access.

Though Sony and TCL televisions running Google TV have been confirmed for release later this year, details about the new smart TV system -- the successor to Android TV -- are still emerging. The only current US product with Google TV is the company's latest Chromecast media streamer, but that device apparently won't be getting the basic TV feature. 

A Google spokesperson confirmed to CNET that basic mode will be available only on TVs running Google TV, and not on existing Android TV products.

Google TV's operating system consists of five primary components: apps, content recommendations, Google Assistant, live TV and external inputs (for HDMI cables, for instance). The "basic TV" mode strips out all but the last two.

While the reported basic TV mode is primarily intended for people without internet, the setting makes sense in other contexts as well -- for people who want a more traditional entertainment setup or who rely on other devices for streaming (such as video game systems). It could also prove useful for people who want to avoid having their viewing habits tracked by Google's system.

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