Recently, there has been an insurgence of smart TVs around and for those who would rather not purchase a whole new TV set just for its “smart capabilities”, manufacturers created TV Set boxes that would plug this smartness into any traditional TV, the majority of which run on Android.
These TV boxes are actually the reason why Android TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV have become so famous. The latter, Roku and Amazon Fire TV have always featured more obnoxious ads but Android TV has stayed clear of this until now.
The other day, there was uproar after a Reddit user pointed out that he had spotted ads on his Sony TV running on Android. The said ads, appear as a sponsored row on the home screen as seen below:
Initially, users speculated that the ads were rolling out to all Android TV devices including Sony TVs, Xiaomi Mi Box and Nvidia Shield. However, Google clarifies that the “ads” are still under testing with a small group of people who only own Sony TVs. The company further states that these are not really ads as we’re used to but content suggestions meant to increase discovery of content, something that Google says has become a problem for most smart TV users, thus the Sponsored Row on Android TV is not meant to be a cash cow for Google – if you can believe that.
Google says that the Sponsored Row is a centralized location for content providers to promote their new content such as a new show, and this content will show up even if you do not subscribe to that specific streaming service.
If successful, the Sponsored Row feature that is currently under pilot with a few Sony TV models will be rolling out to all users
Gadgets Africa’s Take:
As long as Google does not include banner ads or pre-roll and mid-roll video ads like they do on YouTube, suggesting content might actually be a good thing. It is still not clear what kind of Algorithm Google will be using to serve these suggested content to ensure maximum interaction from the user but we can bet the suggestions will be spot on!