Last Updated: September 3rd, 2011

This is the latest in our Weekend Poll series. For last week's, see What Manufacturer Will Your Next Device Be From?

Two weeks ago, an Android Central tipster noticed that Google had officially stated that they wouldn't allow rooted devices to use Android Movies.

2011-06-04 13h32_27

AC's Jerry Hildenbrand makes some very valid points about why that just doesn't quite seem right, if a bit (understandably) bitterly. As an Android lover and power user, I'm more than inclined to agree. But at the same time, we're effectively blaming the messenger; Google has little control over the situation. The entertainment industry as a whole is notoriously sluggish and behind the times, long resisting the move to the web and encumbering digital music and movies with unreasonable restrictions. It's no doubt that they played the same game with Google, effectively leaving the search behemoth with the choice of all or nothing - either they restricted the service to non-rooted devices or they didn't get anything at all.

Keeping that in mind, what are your thoughts? Are you worried that they'll keep clamping down? Or do you acknowledge that Google itself is on our side, and think further anti-root behavior is unlikely? Has this turned you away from Android, or at least made you reconsider your love? Sound off below, and as always, you're encouraged to elaborate via the comments.

For more details on Google Movies, check out our primer on the service.

Google Doesn't Allow Rooted Devices To Use Android Movies - What Are Your Thoughts?

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[Source: Market Support via Android Central]

Aaron Gingrich
Aaron is a geek who has always had a passion for technology. When not working or writing, he can be found spending time with his family, playing a game, or watching a movie.

  • http://silverfang77.tumblr.com Silver Fang

    Who the hell wants to watch a full length movie on their phone's postage stamp sized screen in the first place?

    • John Thompson

      You've never used an Android tablet?

    • Dennis

      Someone is a decade behind on their phone upgrade. I have a Droid X with HDMI output and a tablet.

    • Uphor8

      What does it have to do with phones anyway? Movies are being blocked from all rooted Android devices, be it tablets or phones.

    • Jon Garrett

      me, a parent with an 8yr old who likes to use my phone when we're on the subway.

  • http://goo-inside.me/ DrMacinyasha

    The problem with all this is that Google alone could buy up every record label, and probably a decent chunk of the movie/TV industry. Hell, even the money it would take to pay off the FCC and everyone else to get the acquisitions green-lighted would be almost nothing to El Goog. They could revolutionize world entertainment in one motion, for the better (we hope), and it would just be business as usual at Google.

    And for a little citation, enjoy: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110415/02580813908/why-google-should-buy-recording-industry.shtml

    • Xcom923

      yeah I suppose they could....not, Google is not that ambushes. They would rather work with the movie industry rather than completely going against the tide. Google like to re-write the rule books. In the past if something didn't exist or wasn't "good enough" Google would pave a road so they could make a better solution. I think this is no different. Google doesn't want to repeat the issues with Google TV and I understand why. If they are not seen as the enemy then maybe we could have better content.

  • Michael Kennedy

    Where is the "I have Netflix and/or Hulu so I don't give a shit" option? I don't see myself ever renting or buying an individual movie ever again.

    • Dennis

      Netflix doesn't allow you to download a movie and play offline. Google does so I do see myself using this if stuck on a long flight.

      • Michael Kennedy

        Well, if the MPAA and the like making this a PITA to deal with ... so does The Pirate Bay. :)

  • Carolyn

    Have you noticed that Netflix and Blockbuster have Apps? There is also Hulu. These apps are useful and watching on a Tablet and even a 4.3 inch screen is perfectly fine for many, many especially on the go.

    As far as Google goes I don't care about their service unless they plan to offer subscriptions. I will nvr pay per movie.

    • Xcom923

      Have you noticed that most of the movies that netflix offers are older movies? Google offers the latest stuff on DVD and that's hard, heck near impossible to find with netflix. Don't get me wrong I'm a huge Netflix fan but they are lacking in the movie department.

      • TBDF

        Eh, if all you arepaying for is instant service, otherwise, Netflix deals with the latest movies on dvd. Their service is also beginning the transition to Blu-ray by mail. Google doesn't offer anything above and beyond competition.

  • Jaymoon

    No big deal for me. I'm not a fan of "renting" content anyway.

    Rooted or non-rooted, if I don't own the content, I really don't want it.

  • Will Nelson

    I don't care, if I'm going to buy content I will just buy the Blu-Ray with digital DL rights and Put that on my device. I like having a hard copy, just a thing of mine.

  • lincthra

    It's not that difficult to put video content onto the phone, or pull it off, whether you are rooted or not. So what's the relevance to it being rooted or not as far as piracy?

  • Adam

    There should be an "I don't care about this at all" option. Watching movies on my phone was never something that appealed to me. I suppose doing it on a tablet would be more acceptable, but how often are you going to do that compared to just putting it on your television?

    • Xcom923

      I think you along with a good amount of people are missing out the fact that many of the popular smartphones today can link to the TV via a HDMI cord. so believe it or not you can use your android device (tablet or phone) to play your movie on your Tv. I personally don't do this but I hear that's pretty popular.

      • Bob

        If you have a Tv next to you, chances are you also have a PC/laptop nearby, which you'll use much easier for connecting to your Tv.

        More generally, who the hack do they (the movies industry) hope to outsmart? I bet it will take less than 3 months for a workaround to be found. Ironically, such a workaround will only work on rooted devices, the very ones which are supposed to be blocked from renting movies...

        And of course, piracy will thrive, again more easily on rooted devices.

    • Peter

      Yup, I read all the options twice looking for "I don't care." I'm not going to be burning through my battery watching a movie on a small screen, and I don't plan on buying a smartphone OS tablet. Output to TV? Well you are probably at a home then and that home has a computer that you can plug in instead. This is all so utterly pointless.

  • h3llb3nd4

    not really a big deal, dont have time to watch movies, even if i do, i'll watch it on youtube or rip it from a hard copy that I bought. Otherwise, I entertain myself by making bootanims or play games

  • Fleeing

    It feels like this situation is caused by the knee-jerk reaction of the entertainment industry. By the time they discover that they are on the wrong path, there'll be a work around. Probably one that gets it all to work for free too!

    With regard to Google being big enough to buy these Media Corps. I've often wondered about someone changing the music industry game, offering realistic percentages to artists, realistic costs to the publisher/record(mp3) company etc. All artists get terribly ripped by the companies involved. Imagine the uproar and great change if Google started doing things the right way.

    • http://goo-inside.me/ DrMacinyasha

      My point exactly.

    • lincthra

      Unfortunately, it IS their reaction, but it isn't knee-jerk. This is their long standing opinion on ANY such matter. The MPAA and RIAA are completely against the digital movement and have been from the start. They realize that with digital distribution, the labels that pay them lots of money become less important to the artists. And if artists can do better without the labels stealing good portions of their money; why use them? And if artists don't use labels, labels don't have the money they ripped off from people and artists to pay the lobby groups like the MPAA/RIAA. This stance is completely about lining their pockets when they've outlived their usefulness. The movie and music industry NEEDS to evolve and revolutionize. Anything that stagnates, dies. But they realize that the next step in evolution, simply doesn't include them and they are afraid.

  • thegreattaurus

    if google doesn't want to take my money...I guess I will keep it in my pocket

  • odemata

    Gotta be reasonable. With a rooted phone your possibilities are endless. The movie industry knows this, but Google wants to bring their content to its platform and has to provide solace to them in order to do or fall behind its competitors. Its seems unfortunate, but these are the breaks as the song goes.

  • sgtguthrie

    I don't really care. I have Netflix and hbo go. I'm not paying like 2 dollars a movie when I have these apps at my disposal! Besides, you can use them with root...

  • andreas

    The poll is missing the option, I don't care at all.

    If I was considering buying a tablet, which I am not, I might be upset but currently I only occasionally watch youtube clips and thats it.

    Even when I travel I don't watch movies, mainly because most of my trips are relatively short, there is not that much time spent idle.

  • lincthra

    Actually, considering it wasn't Google's choice and the industries forced them to do it, it wouldn't be unGoogle-like for one of their own programmers to quietly leak the work around without anyone ever knowing it was them.

    The consumers have the work around, Google has plausible deniability (*shrug* Hey, we did our part. We blocked it out best we could.) Win-win for everyone but the idiot industry... which still wins, too, because they are getting kickbacks from that many more rentals.

  • Chris

    Google's likely trying to go after the Apple strategy: cave in at first to demands, but become so big and popular that in the end, they get to make demands of their own.

    Apple had a hard time getting publishers onboard with Steve Jobs' vision of iTunes, having to accept DRM and other restrictions just to get most of the major labels and artists to sign. But with years of success and billions of downloads, the tables have turned and now Apple has the leverage to carrot-and-stick the labels into dropping DRM and releasing their last hold-outs like the Beatles.

    But I'm concerned about whether Google will ever reach that point. iTunes reached that point because it became a near-monopoly, and publishers had no choice but to deal with it. Even if Google expands to 50% market share vs. iTunes, the competitive environment favors the publishers rather than Google/Apple unless the two agree to make joint demands, although I imagine that would run afoul of anti-trust legislation.

    • Someone

      Except they're still doing it with movies too. By and large, they were simply taking flack for DRM music because typically most people buy music reasonably frequently online.

      DRM on rentals is fine with me. It's a rental; there's no expectation that you should keep the media. Make an automated script to root/unroot when you want to play it.

  • Dennis

    I do believe you can still rent and watch the movies via the browser even if you are rooted. You just can't download the movies for offline playing.

  • J

    Personally, I don't think I'll rent any movies from Google (or anywhere else for that matter)... I'd rather have a local copy on my device and play from that. I live in a rather rural area so data isn't always the fastest - so I could see frequent pauses while I wait for buffering... Plus having it local could save battery life as well.

    That, and it looked like the movies will have a fairly pricey tag on them - I think the screen shots I saw had movies priced 3/4 dollars.... I can go to redbox and get several movies for that price... Though of course I wouldn't have the convince of being able to watch them right away on my phone. Unless I had access to a computer & could rip them to a format the phone could handle (which of course the MPAA wouldn't be too happy about).

    I would also assume that it won't take too long for a hack to side-step this to get out... I'd imagine it'll probably work similar to the mod for Netflix. Just mute the few lines of the app that check to see if the device is rooted, or add in a "device.rooted=FALSE" line to it after the check so the program always sees itself as un-rooted and allows the movie to play.

    At most, you'll probably have to temporary un-root, rent & download the entire movie to your device, then use a cloned app instead of the stock one...

  • JayMonster

    Why is this still "trying" to be played as a controversy? The app store itself is NOT open source (as many a non conforming tablet can tell you). You can choose to root your device or you can choose to accept the limitations in order to get the content. Though just as Google tends to turn a blind eye to hacks that allow the market to live on "non conforming devices" in the end I suspect they will (to the extent they can), ignore the mods that will allow this to work for those that can find a "way around it."

  • jbonics

    I have never heard of android movies, i have a life, a tablet, and droid x with hdmi output. Get with the Times.

    • Aaron Gingrich

      You've never heard of it because it's new and hasn't fully rolled out yet, not because it's antiquated or unsuccessful.

      In other words: it's actually YOU who needs to get with the times :)

  • Jim

    if enough people rooted their phones then this silly movie rental crap on the phone would just go away.

  • rayjt9

    Where's the option for "I think they're right to do this - they hold copyright over their content which can easily be breached by rooted devices" ?

    • JayMonster

      It is right there next to the option of thinking the MPAA was right when they sued to make VCRs illegal in the 80's. Protecting copyright is one thing, telling me how my device is "allowed" to be configured is another.

  • Edd

    Lol - for real? banning rooted devices is a pointless blanket ban aimed at stopping those pirates who will devise a dozen clever ways to break it.

    All the dinosaur industry is doing is penalising potential customers, of which I am one of them.

    As long as torrenting remains the easiest form of getting media on to your phone, it shall live long. When the dinosaurs let go of their precious physical media and finally make a viable, sensible business plan for digital downloads, maybe they'll get back some of that market.

  • Chris

    I have to say that I just don't care about this. I will never "rent" a movie on my phone or tablet. If I'm going to pay for a movie rental I'm going to watch it on my big screen TV and Lexicon sound system. Not a 4.3" phone screen.

    But it is stupid that they are doing this for those who do want to rent movies.

    When will the content providers learn that if someone wants to copy the content then no matter what they do it will be copied. So just get over it and figure out a way to make money anyway without screwing everyone else over. If they made the content cheap enough nobody would bother pirating it in the first place.

    • JayMonster

      You are quite right about how it only hurts the people that would purchase it legally anyway, but sadly even the RIAA who f fought this battle, lost, and then state making money from iTunes, Amazon, etc. are still trying to fight it even though they are making money, because they just want more, because for some stupid reason they think they can turn back the clocks. Someday, they may wise up, but i'm not sure any of us will live to see that day, so long as they can continue to buy lawmakers who right stupid laws to try and prop up a dying business model.

  • William blizzard

    Netflix is upping prices its retarded im not gunna pay from $10 now to almost $20 in september and netflix streaming requires most recent movies or morely watched by dvd by mail netflix has a long way to go before I go back to them