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Latest Android TV Update Pushes “Sponsored Content” and Users Are Furious

Written by Bill Toulas
Last updated June 21, 2021

Many Android TV users who have received the latest “Android TV Core Services” app update have been greeted with a new practice that pushes “sponsored content” and advertisements on their devices. As usual, Google has failed to mention this ample experience-altering feature on the corresponding changelog, contenting themselves to the usual generic “bug fixes and improvements”. Now, people who are using expensive Sony TVs, Xiaomi’s Mi Box 3, Nvidia Sheild TV, and other smart TV products are compelled to sustain this practice or resort to special configurations.

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image credits: Reddit user - "AtHeartEngineer"

For example, on the Sony smart TVs, one can create and enable a “Restricted Profile” and then select the apps they want to use, essentially blocking the video previews from all channels on the Home menu. Sony says the new Launcher app is meant to help users discover new apps and content, but giving a workaround on something mandatory isn’t particularly encouraging for those who paid hundreds of dollars to buy one of their products. For other devices that use Android TV, the option of rolling back the update of the app isn’t straight-forward, but a Reddit discussion has emerged to provide people help with that.

With people being particularly vocal about the situation of Google trying to shove ads down their throats, the tech giant had to come forward with an official response, which they did through the following statement given by one of their spokespersons: “Android TV is committed to optimizing and personalizing the entertainment experience at home. As we explore new opportunities to engage the user community, we’re running a pilot program to surface sponsored content on the Android TV home screen.”

So, Google claims this is a “testing” feature so they’re not certain that it’s a keeper yet. However, and especially in the cases of implementing experimental features, shouldn’t there be an option for the user to disable it? Is this analgesia indicative of their intention to establish this pushing of ads and sponsored content without giving users a way out in the near future? Some of those users have already commented about considering the Apple ecosystem for the first time while highlighting that their trust on Android TV and products that run on it has been irreversibly lost.

Where do you stand on the above? Would you still pick Android TV, even if you’d have to sustain “sponsored content” bombardment? Share your comments below, and also on our socials, on Facebook and Twitter.



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