Google is notorious for having a handful of overlapping and sometimes redundant messaging platforms but it seems to be a trait shared by almost all of the company’s digital content services. Until just last year, YouTube Music and Play Music competed for attention and subscriptions and Google also had multiple news and magazine apps. It has recently also been trying to consolidate its videos and movies catalog and it is Google Play Movies & TV that will be getting the short end of the stick, especially on some smart TV brands.
The video situation when it comes to Google’s apps and services can be a bit confusing at times. There’s YouTube and YouTube TV, of course, which might actually be most popular even for those outside of Google’s ecosystem. There’s also the Play Movies & TV platform, whose app on Android has been transformed into Google TV. And, of course, there’s Google TV, which is both that revamped app and a new Android TV user experience.
Just like with Play Music and Play Newsstand (formerly Play Magazines), Google seems to be slowly retiring Play Movies & TV in favor of both YouTube and Google TV. In addition to the aforementioned renaming of the Android app, Google has now reached out to users of the VOD platform that the app will stop working on some smart TVs starting June 15, 2021. Those smart TVs include supported models from Roku, Samsung, LG, and Vizio only while Android TV devices are left unaffected.
On affected smart TVs, Google is pushing users to access and buy their content via YouTube where almost all Play Movies & TV features will be available. Google Play credits can even be used towards buying or renting videos on YouTube. Watchlists, however, won’t be making the transition and Google hints users should start making YouTube Playlists out of those.
Perhaps the most confusing part is that purchases made under Family Sharing can be viewed on YouTube but videos you buy on YouTube aren’t eligible for family sharing. Instead, you will have to go the Play Movies & TV website or existing apps if you want to buy content for family sharing. How long Play Movies & TV will continue to exist is anyone’s guess but it seems that Google is slowly but surely winding it down.