Google Play Movies and TV Review: Google Does Streaming

by Reads (15,557)

With streaming services becoming a popular alternative for people to watch their favorite television shows or new movies through, it was only a matter of time before Google got involved. Technically, movies and TV shows were always available through YouTube, however the company developed a dedicated streaming service to meet the market’s demand. Dubbed Google Play Movies and TV, the service gives users access to a comprehensive library of movies and television shows on a variety of devices. While there are some limitations, especially for Apple fans, Google provides a competitive offering in terms of content and pricing.

Google Play Content Offerings

Google Play Movies & TV

Google Play Movies and TV

One of the most impressive aspects of Google Play Movies and TV is the video content. Users can choose from movies that are barely dusty from their box office debuts, such as “Foxcatcher,” or on-demand exclusives like “Serena.” Google also offers users the ability to pre-order movies, making films instantly available as soon as possible.

While Google doesn’t have original programming like Netflix, the company has deals with several cable networks and premium providers, such as HBO and Showtime, to stream their programming. In an apparent jab at the competition, Google Play Movies and TV features a section titled “Not on Netflix.” This section currently features new movie releases, like “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.” Additional television selections include the latest seasons of hits like “Park and Recreation,” as well as older fan favorites, including the original “21 Jump Street.”

The service is competitive with iTunes in offering a library of up-to-date content at similar prices. For example, “Unbroken” will cost both Apple and Google users $14.99. Pricing for other content varies, with Google usually offering the better deal for television shows. Google also offers offline capabilities for iOS and Android users, allowing them to download their favorite videos to watch on the go without an Internet connection (more on that below).


Google Play Movies & TV Roku

Google Play Movies and TV on Roku

While Google Play Movies and TV is available on a variety of devices and platforms, not every app is created equal. Android users benefit the most from this service, as they can purchase content on their phone or tablet via the Google Play Movies and TV app.

Those looking to purchase content on their iPhone or iPad however will find the service inefficient. To avoid paying Apple a cut of its profits from in-app purchases, Google only allows iOS users to watch previously purchased content on their devices. This means Apple users must purchase a movie or television show on a computer to watch on their phone or tablet.

As you might have guessed, Google’s streaming service isn’t compatible with Apple TV. Users can mirror their displays to watch via Apple TV, though it isn’t a pleasant viewing experience. Of course, Google Play Movies and TV is fully compatible with Chromecast, Google’s own Apple TV-like offering. The service is also available on newer Roku devices.

Ease of Use

Google Play Movies & TV info card

Google Play Movies and TV info card

Google is known for producing clean user interfaces, and Google Play Movies and TV is no different. The web browser version boasts a sleek UI that is easy to navigate. Users can scroll down the page to explore the pre-selected categories of movies and television shows that Google provides, or they can search manually by name or genre. The iOS app is also easy to operate, with a menu bar on the left side housing previously purchased content.

The Android experience is the preferable mobile option however, as users can actually buy content through the app.

What Else?

Similar to iTunes, Google Play Movies and TV offers a subscription-free alternative for streaming movies and television shows. For cable cutters, Google Play Movies and TV is a great outlet to do so. Episodes of current seasons are usually up within a few days of their initial air date.

Google Movies and TV also supports Cards. Pause Google Play content on a Roku or while watching on an Android device. Users simply pause the program to gain quick info on actors, songs, and other pertinent info.

Versus the Competition

See how Google Play Movies and TV compares against the Apple alternative, iTunes.



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