You no longer can rent or purchase movies or shows via the Apple TV app on Android TV or Google TV. That news comes via Flatpanels HD. It was confirmed by John Gruber to be due to the expiration of a deal that excused Apple from having to pay the tax on in-app payments. (You can pronounce that “commission,” if you’d like.)
This is, as they say, a first-world problem. It also should surprise exactly no one.
The cynic in me says that if you’re using Google TV or Android TV — both of which are perfectly fine streaming platforms in their own right — but are relying on Apple to rent or purchase movies and shows that, generally speaking, are available on a half-dozen or so other places on Google TV or Apple TV, you’re asking for heartache.
Same is true the other direction. If you’re using Apple TV, you can’t purchase or rent movies directly through Google Play. That’s been true, well, for as long as I can remember.
These are not neutral platforms. These are businesses, and what’s important to each business is liable — if not likely — to change at any given time. Apple’s going to do what’s best for Apple. Google is going to do what’s best for Android. The best way to rent or purchase movies and shows on Apple TV (the hardware, not the app) is through iTunes. (Never mind that “iTunes” is an anachronism at this point.) The best way to rent or purchase movies and shows on Android TV or Google TV is through Google TV. (The app. Not the hardware. Why are these companies still so bad at naming things?)
Google has done the same thing with its app on other platforms, instead moving things to YouTube.
Apple vs. Google, Part … ah, who cares anymore …
These are not companies with our best interests at heart. They are not our friends, and we need to stop treating them as such. So when Apple takes away a feature from its app on Android TV and Google TV, we shouldn’t be surprised. We can pretend to be outraged by the minor inconvenience of having to use a different app or device to rent or purchase movies or shows, but that doesn’t change the fact that ultimately it’s no different than having to go to Netflix to watch one thing, or Amazon Prime Video to watch another.
If it’s that big a deal, you could use an iPhone or iPad or some other Apple device to purchase or rent, then just watch on your Android device. Which is exactly what I used to do years ago. Or you can go through some other service whose app still allows for rentals and purchases.
Apple even says as much.
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