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

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

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

Apple TV Plus subscriptions on the device are no longer.
Photo by Chris Welch/The Verge

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

The Apple TV app started 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 retiring direct rentals, purchases and subscriptions, leaving the app to serve as a portal for content you’ve paid for elsewhere. “Not all devices support on-device transactions, so you may not be able to directly purchase, rent, or subscribe to shows or channels,” Apple says on its website.

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

The edge contacted Apple and Google to comment on the situation. One suspects this could be a case of Apple no longer wanting to give Google a share of those individual in-app purchases – a point of contention that Apple itself knows very well. The Apple TV app on Amazon’s Fire TV platform has never allowed movies to be rented or purchased for similar reasons. What angered people about this situation is that Apple originally provided all these features and apparently changed its mind.

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


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