Free ad-supported streaming TV is the burgeoning new trend that everyone’s getting in on, and we’ve all got our favorite shows on Netflix and other services, but what about those times when you just want to spontaneously rent or, dare I suggest, buy a movie? If you’ve got a TV or streaming box that runs Google’s Android TV platform, those archaic rentals and digital purchases are about to get a little more convenient — and easier to find. Starting today, Android TV is adding a Shop tab to the main navigation that will appear alongside Search, Home, Discover, and Apps.
“The shop tab lets you explore movies to buy or rent and make purchases directly on your Android TV,” Google wrote in a blog post. “So whether you are searching for a new and popular movie not yet available on other streaming services or you are looking to make a one-time movie purchase without a subscription, the Shop tab makes it easy.”
You’ll also find a library section within the Shop tab that gathers all videos that you’ve purchased via your Google account; this includes content bought “from YouTube, other Google TV and Android TV devices, and the Google TV mobile app.” In an increasingly fragmented streaming universe, sometimes it’s just simpler to buy (or rent) that thing you want to see instead of watching your monthly subscriptions pile up.
Google handles all of these purchases and rentals itself, and traditionally the company has supported the Movies Anywhere digital locker service that enables movie playback across different software services and hardware platforms. I’ve asked the company whether that will continue moving forward.
The Shop tab is rolling out across Android TV beginning today in the US and should start appearing globally over the next few weeks. Keep in mind this pertains to Android TV and not the newer Google TV software that runs on the company’s latest Chromecasts, recent TVs, and streamers like the Walmart Onn 4K box I reviewed last month. So, Nvidia Shield owners, this one’s for you.