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Apple TV app downgraded on Android TV / Google TV – no buying or renting films

Apple TV app downgraded on Android TV / Google TV – no buying or renting films
(Image credit: Apple / flatpanelshd)

The Apple TV app just got a serious downgrade on devices running Google software. Those accessing the app on the Android TV or Google TV platforms will no longer be able to rent or buy films, flatpanelshd (opens in new tab) reports.

Instead of the rent or buy buttons, you'll see a new 'How to watch' option. This pushes you towards Apple's own ecosystem with the legend: "You can buy, rent or subscribe in the Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, and other streaming devices".

The Apple TV app landed on Google TV just over a year ago, and on Android TV last summer. It brought access to the paid-for Apple TV+ streaming service, channels, and the ability to buy and rent movies.

The buying and renting of movies is one of the Apple TV app's greatest strengths thanks to its unrivalled 4K HDR catalogue, so the fact that the feature has suddenly been removed from the app on Google/Android TV devices is a serious blow.

If you can put off updating, you still have the ability to rent or buy movies. Even if you do update, you can still watch films you bought from within your movie library too, so you won't lose your past purchases. But if you want to buy or rent after the update, you'll need to use a device not running Google TV or Android TV.

Apple hasn't given a reason for downgrading the app, but it's likely to do with commission rates. Google – like Apple – takes a 30 per cent cut of in-app purchases made through its platform. Previously, not all in-app purchases were covered, but it's likely Google has introduced new terms that now cover movies, and that Apple has decided against them.

That's not certain though. We've contacted Apple and Google for comment and will update this if we hear back.

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Joe Svetlik
Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.