Skip to main content

Apple TV app on Android TV no longer allows rentals, purchases, or subscriptions

Apple TV app on Android TV no longer allows rentals, purchases, or subscriptions

/

The app now points people towards Apple’s own products to rent, buy, or subscribe to Apple TV Plus

Share this story

Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

Apple has abruptly removed the option to rent or purchase movies through its Apple TV app on Android TV devices. This also affects devices running Google TV, like the 2020 Chromecast and recent TVs from Sony, TCL, and others. As noted by FlatPanelsHD and 9to5Mac, the previous ability to directly rent or buy content has been removed. And The Verge has found that on-device Apple TV Plus subscriptions are also no longer permitted.

Instead, there’s now a “how to watch” button that directs people to Apple products “or other streaming devices” for rentals, purchases, and Apple TV Plus subscriptions. These changes are not yet reflected on Apple’s Android TV support page, which still lists direct transactions as being supported. Nvidia Shield owners first began noticing the loss of rentals and purchases a few days ago.

On-device Apple TV Plus subscriptions are no more.
On-device Apple TV Plus subscriptions are no more.
Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

The app’s top navigation panel has removed the previous “Movies” and “TV Shows” sections (or “Store” in some cases), leaving only Watch Now, Apple TV Plus, and Library. All of the same movie and TV show listings are still present and searchable. But on any title you pull up, the only choices are now the “how to watch” button and “add to Up Next.”

The Apple TV app first began making its way to select Android TV devices in late 2020 and became widely available on the platform last June. Less than a year later, Apple is now pulling back direct rentals, purchases, and subscriptions — leaving the app to serve as a portal for the content you’ve paid for elsewhere. “Not all devices support on-device transactions, so you may not be able to buy, rent, or subscribe to shows or channels directly,” Apple says on its website.

With the Android TV app, you can still access your existing library and any movies and shows purchased / rented on another device. And that’s a good thing since Apple often delivers higher-bitrate streams than some competing entertainment services.

The Verge has reached out to both Apple and Google for comment on the situation. It’s suspected that this could be a case where Apple no longer wants to give Google a cut of those individual in-app purchases. Platform fees are a point of contention that Apple itself is very familiar with. The Apple TV app on Amazon’s Fire TV platform has never allowed movie rentals or purchases for similar reasons. What has people irked about this situation is that Apple originally provided all of this functionality and has seemingly now changed its mind.

After this change, you’ve still got the option to rent or buy from the Apple TV app on Roku devices, smart TVs from Samsung and LG, Xbox and PlayStation gaming consoles, and of course Apple’s own products.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed An hour ago Not just you

T
Thomas RickerAn hour ago
The Simpsons pays tribute to Chrome’s dino game.

Season 34 of The Simpsons kicked off on Sunday night with an opening credits “couch gag” based on the offline dino game from Google’s Chrome browser. Cactus, cactus, couch, d’oh! Perfect.


T
Youtube
Thomas Ricker7:29 AM UTC
Table breaks before Apple Watch Ultra’s sapphire glass.

”It’s the most rugged and capable Apple Watch yet,” said Apple at the launch of the Apple Watch Ultra (read The Verge review here). YouTuber TechRax put that claim to the test with a series of drop, scratch, and hammer tests. Takeaways: the titanium case will scratch with enough abuse, and that flat sapphire front crystal is tough — tougher than the table which cracks before the Ultra fails — but not indestructible.


E
Twitter
Emma RothSep 25
Rihanna’s headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Apple Music’s set to sponsor the Halftime Show next February, and it’s starting out strong with a performance from Rihanna. I honestly can’t remember which company sponsored the Halftime Show before Pepsi, so it’ll be nice to see how Apple handles the show for Super Bowl LVII.


Welcome to the new Verge

Revolutionizing the media with blog posts

Nilay PatelSep 13
E
Twitter
Emma RothSep 25
Starlink is growing.

The Elon Musk-owned satellite internet service, which covers all seven continents including Antarctica, has now made over 1 million user terminals. Musk has big plans for the service, which he hopes to expand to cruise ships, planes, and even school buses.

Musk recently said he’ll sidestep sanctions to activate the service in Iran, where the government put restrictions on communications due to mass protests. He followed through on his promise to bring Starlink to Ukraine at the start of Russia’s invasion, so we’ll have to wait and see if he manages to bring the service to Iran as well.


E
External Link
Emma RothSep 25
We might not get another Apple event this year.

While Apple was initially expected to hold an event to launch its rumored M2-equipped Macs and iPads in October, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicts Apple will announce its new devices in a series of press releases, website updates, and media briefings instead.

I know that it probably takes a lot of work to put these polished events together, but if Apple does pass on it this year, I will kind of miss vibing to the livestream’s music and seeing all the new products get presented.


E
External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.


A
Youtube
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.


A
The Verge
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.


A
Andrew WebsterSep 24
Looking for something to do this weekend?

Why not hang out on the couch playing video games and watching TV. It’s a good time for it, with intriguing recent releases like Return to Monkey Island, Session: Skate Sim, and the Star Wars spinoff Andor. Or you could check out some of the new anime on Netflix, including Thermae Romae Novae (pictured below), which is my personal favorite time-traveling story about bathing.


A screenshot from the Netflix anime Thermae Romae Novae.
Thermae Romae Novae.
Image: Netflix