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Roku's streaming boxes can now watch movies and TV shows from Google Play

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Roku owners can now rent, purchase, and watch videos from Google Play. Both movies and TV shows are available, marking a rather unprecedented step for Google. Until now, the company has reserved the best video experience for Android and Chromecast users. Sure, there's a Google Play Movies & TV app for iOS, but you can only view content that's already been purchased or rented on Apple devices — there's no way to search for or watch something on the spot. Roku users are getting a much better experience: they're able to instantly play anything in Google Play's video catalog. Google's even brought over its Google Play info cards to Roku, offering helpful cast and crew details whenever you pause a movie.

So Roku just added yet another content source to its huge list, which already includes Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, YouTube, and just about anything else you can imagine. It's still the best set-top box you can buy. The new app could also prove important for Google. If the company wants its premium video service to be a feasible Amazon or iTunes competitor, it needs to deliver this sort of lean back experience on as many platforms as possible. Apple has zero interest in this strategy, with Apple TV remaining the sole living room device that can seamlessly tap into premium iTunes content. But if you're not deeply tied to Apple's ecosystem, there's no beating Roku's variety. If you haven't signed up for Play yet, Roku says you'll receive a free copy of X-Men once you've successfully registered.