Google Play is going away – or at least, the Google Play Movies & TV app is. Google has been emailing Android TV users to let them know that it's shutting the service from October 5 2023. But don't worry. Google still has far too many other places to buy the best movies and TV shows from, and the Shop tab isn't disappearing from Android TV.
If you're surprised that the service was still going, you're not alone. It vanished from Android phones in 2022 in favour of the Google TV app, and it was removed from many smart TVs back in 2021. And on Android TV the Shop tab doesn't take you there any more either.
The closure of Google Play Movies & TV makes Google's TV and movie sales options a little bit less confusing. But only a little bit.
What TV and movie purchase options does Google offer now?
With Google Play Movies & TV gone, or at least going, that still leaves three Google content stores for your TV: there's YouTube, Android TV and Google TV. Those apps will enable you to access any content you may have purchased, although if you're living in countries outside the US, UK or mainland Europe it's possible you might encounter rights issues: where Google Play Music & TV sold shows in 117 countries, YouTube only sells in 45. It's unclear what happens to purchases made in territories that YouTube doesn't currently support or have licenses for.
The apps are all going away in October, but for now the Google Play Movies & TV brand appears to be continuing online as a tab on the web-based version of the Play Store. That's almost certainly going to get switched off too in favour of Google's better known brands.
The reason for all of this is most likely because Google went from a single store for everything (the Android Market, which then became Google Play) to having multiple stores for pretty much the same content, and that's really confusing. While it makes sense to separate Google Play Music from Google Play Movies & TV, it makes a lot less sense to have Google Play Movies & TV, Android TV and YouTube as different facades for what's fundamentally the same shop selling the same stuff to the same customers.
Streamlining makes Google's products an easier sell to smart TV manufacturers too. In recent years Google's rather chaotic branding has been in stark contrast to Apple's, which has kept things pretty simple by breaking up iTunes in favor of Apple Music, Apple TV, Apple Books and so on. Don't be too surprised if Google streamlines its movie and TV offerings even further in the near future.
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Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.