Live Channels is a way users can triage live channels over-the-air or from a cable box with any third-party app. You can watch Fox right next to Haystack TV, or watch your local public broadcasting in a PiP while you play a game. It’s a beautiful app and a great set of APIs for media apps. Along with hosting a session for developers at I/O, there were more announcements that should be great for cordcutters.
Above, announcement at 28:23
USB Tuner support is coming to Live Channels. This was announced during one of the sessions, and reiterated by PM Sascha in this Google+ post.
We are planning to release USB tuner sample input that supports at least two currently available hardware USB ATSC tuners.
He didn’t specify which devices they were, but regardless this is great news. Cordcutters who want to keep watching TV channels without paying the high cable prices will definitely benefit from this move, turning Android TV into a more capable media player and cable box replacement. Plus, it’s going to be open source, so any developer will be able to see how it works and work on adding support for more USB tuners if necessary.
This, along with DVR APIs coming to Android N, are great additions to the platform. Plus, it’s an open platform, allowing any developer to build their own streaming channel service or game. That includes Comcast, which is working on an Xfinity TV app and has a running build on a Shield TV.