Google has announced that it will stop supporting the Google Play Movies & TV app on Android TV devices from October 5, 2023. The app, which allows users to buy, rent, and watch movies and TV shows from Google’s digital store, will be replaced by the Shop tab on Android TV and the YouTube app.
Why is Google killing the Play Movies & TV app?
The Google Play Movies & TV app is one of the oldest apps on Android TV, dating back to 2012 when Google rebranded the Android Market into the Google Play Store. The app was part of Google’s vision to offer a unified platform for all kinds of media, including music, books, news, and games.
However, over the years, Google has gradually phased out some of its media apps and services, such as Google Play Music, Google Play Newsstand, and Google Play Games. These apps were either shut down or replaced by newer alternatives, such as YouTube Music, Google News, and Google Play Games Services.
The same fate has befallen the Google Play Movies & TV app, which has been superseded by the Google TV app on Android and iOS devices. The Google TV app, which launched in 2020, offers a more integrated and personalized experience for streaming content from various sources, including Google’s own store.
The Google TV app is also the default app on the latest Google TV devices, such as the Chromecast with Google TV. However, older Android TV devices still have the Play Movies & TV app installed, which creates confusion and inconsistency for users.
How will users access their movies and TV shows?
Google has assured users that they will not lose access to their purchased or rented movies and TV shows after the Play Movies & TV app is discontinued. Users can still find their existing library in the Shop tab on Android TV, which also allows them to browse and buy new content from Google’s store.
Alternatively, users can also watch their movies and TV shows in the YouTube app on Android TV. The YouTube app has a dedicated section for purchased content under the Library tab. Users can also buy or rent new content from YouTube using their Google account.
Google has also said that users can visit the Google TV Help center or YouTube Help Center if they need help accessing their previous purchases.
What are the implications of this move?
The removal of the Play Movies & TV app from Android TV is part of Google’s strategy to streamline its media offerings and focus on its core products. By integrating its video store with YouTube and Google TV, Google hopes to simplify the user experience and increase its market share in the streaming industry.
Moreover, this move also highlights the fragmentation and confusion that exists in the Android TV ecosystem. While newer devices run on Google TV, which is a revamped version of Android TV with a different user interface and features, older devices still run on Android TV with outdated apps and services. This creates inconsistency and frustration for users who want to enjoy a seamless and uniform experience across their devices.
Google has not announced any plans to update or replace the Android TV platform with Google TV. However, some device manufacturers, such as Sony and TCL, have said that they will offer Google TV on their upcoming smart TVs. It remains to be seen how long Android TV will survive in the shadow of Google TV.