New smart TVs running the new Google TV platform will support a Basic mode in which the TV’s smart features are all disabled.
News of this feature comes via 9to5Google, but it was confirmed by Google. And to be clear, it applies only to a coming generation of new smart TVs—from Sony, TCL, and others—that will be based on Google TV, the replacement for Android TV. It does not apply to the new Chromecast with Google TV or other set-top boxes.
Anyone who owns a smart TV will understand the appeal of this option: While smart TV software is OK at first, the underlying hardware quickly grows outdated, performance lags, and modern apps and app updates stop appearing. This way, those who want to use Google TV will have access to that, while those that do not—or those with an aging TV—can disable it entirely.
According to the screenshots shown by 9to5Google, the full Google TV experience will include movies and TV shows from streaming video apps, personalized recommendations, Google Assistant voice capabilities, live TV capabilities, and external device support over HDMI. The Basic TV mode supports HDMI inputs, live over-the-air TV, and a settings interface. You can move between the two modes as needed as well.