If you've bought a few films from Google Play Movies, you could be in line for a free 4K upgrade in future. Evidence dug up in the Play Movies app for Android suggests Google is planning to roll out a resolution bump to existing titles, so you may not have to pay again for movies you've already purchased at 1080p.
As spotted by Android Police, the latest version of the Play Movies app refers to 4K upgrades in several places in the code, as well as including a message "Enjoy this higher quality on any supported 4K device", which would suggest 4K is coming soon.
Of course Google Play Movies is playing catch up to Apple and its iTunes library here – 4K HDR movies were rolled out across iTunes during 2017, in advance of the Apple TV 4K making an appearance. Customers who had already bought content in high definition were offered free upgrades to 4K.
The price of 4K
Whether or not Google is going to give its users a free 4K upgrade from HD or even SD content, where available, remains to be seen. As yet there's been no official word from Google on the resolution jump or how exactly it's going to work across the various different properties Google owns (including YouTube).
Plenty of new movies are already available through Google Play Movies & TV in 4K resolution, but this upgrade is referring to titles that have only been available in HD up until now. Playing back movies and TV shows in 4K needs a 4K-capable device too, of course.
There has been some talk that Google is getting ready to retire the Google Play branding all together, with everything switching over to YouTube – in the same way that Google Play Music is slowly merging into YouTube Music. We'll have to wait and see whether this happens, but it seems that 4K is definitely on the cards.