Why You May Not Be Able To Rent Or Purchase Movies Through The Apple TV App

If you're having trouble accessing the Apple TV app on your Smart TV, the reason may be the brand of Smart TV you own. Apple has suddenly removed the ability to rent and buy movies via the Apple TV app on Android TV and Google TV devices. This includes Sony TVs and LG Smart TVs — which offered users free Apple TV+ subscriptions for three months in November 2021 — as well as Google Chromecast.

Android TV and Google TV owners were still able to subscribe to Apple TV+ on their respective devices, but The Verge reported that this is no longer the case. What they'll see when they first open the Apple TV+ app instead is the "how to watch" button that will redirect them to Apple products, like the Apple TV device, "or other streaming services" to rent/buy movies and subscribe to Apple TV+ — no matter what title they're looking for. Android TV and Google TV owners losing their movie rental and purchasing abilities didn't necessarily happen overnight. NVIDIA Shield owners reported on Reddit that the "Store" tab was missing from Apple TV as early as March 16. 

Why Apple took Apple TV away from Android and Google TV users

The reason Apple rendered the Apple TV app inaccessible on Android TV and Google TV is not exactly clear. However, according to FlatPanelsHD, it may be related to commission rates. Google charges a 30% commission on in-app purchases, although the agreement between Google and Apple did not account for every single TV in-app purchase in the past. It's suggested that Google may have recently introduced new terms to the agreement, some of which required Apple to give Google its cut of each individual in-app purchase. Therefore, to save money, Apple scaled back Apple TV and made it exclusively for its own platforms.

The only places Android TV and Google TV owners rent and buy movies from the Apple TV app now is through Roku devices, Samsung Smart TVs, and Xbox Series X/S and PS5 consoles. And of course, they'll have to do it on actual Apple TV devices and other Apple products, if they can afford it.