First Google Play Books made its way to iOS. Then Google Play Music undertook the pilgrimage. So, it should be little surprise that today Google Play Movies and TV has finally made the jump. This is significant not just because it brings Google’s formidable library of content to iOS, but because of the capabilities it finally bestows upon iPhone-using Chromecasters.
See, up until now, iPhone users who also had Chromecast could watch Netflix and Hulu Plus, but they didn’t really have a way to access more recent movie content. Enter Play Movies and TV. With a catalogue comparable to Amazon Video On Demand or Apple’s iTunes, Google Play Movies and TV brings in rentable and purchasable streaming movies to iOS, and often for cheaper. This can then be streamed directly to the TV via Chromecast.
Now, there are a few limitations. For starters, you can’t buy any content through the app itself. This it due to Apple’s App Store restrictions. Instead, you’ll have to buy the movies/TV shows through the web client, and then play them with the app. Another bummer: Video will only play in standard definition (SD) when viewing on the phone, but happily you’ll get the full HD experience if you play through Chromecast. You also will be limited to streaming over Wi-Fi and you won’t be able to save content for later, off-line viewing. At least not initially. Lastly, the new version lacks the “info cards” that pop up when you pause the movie. Hold the frame on William H. Macy, say, and you’l get a whole profile on the guy.
While the lack of these things is a bit of a bummer, remember that traditionally, when Google products have made their way to iOS, they’ve been a bit limited out of the gate, but later achieved parody. For example, Google Music launched on iOS without “I’m Feeling Lucky radio,” but added it shortly after. This is what we expect to happen here, too.
Google Play should now be available to download in the iOS App Store, and if you’ve been looking for a means to purchase and watch movies and TV shows, it’s definitely worth looking at. Especially if you use Chromecast. [Google]