Today is Earth Day. It’s that time of the year when we consider the impact human behavior has on the environment and the changes we can make to better look after it. Well, some of us at least. Google Play Movies is marking the occasion by lowering the price of Independence Day – a movie where Earth is invaded and very nearly destroyed by extraterrestrials – to just $0.99.
Although almost twenty years old, Independence Day is an enduring timeless sci-fi classic which is still eminently watchable. It features a star-studded cast of Hollywood icons, including Jeff Goldblum, Will Smith, and Bill Pullman, and probably the most egregious example of product placement ever seen in the cinema.
The Play Books update from a couple of days ago turned up the first sign of life for the Family Library we've seen since mid-November. At the time, I made a quick prediction that matching strings would pop up fairly soon in Google's other content apps, and Play Movies & TV is the first to follow through. But this wasn't just a mirror image of the same strings, there's actually a bit of new information regarding movies sold as a bundle and seasons of television shows.
In case anybody is curious, this update doesn't have anything in the way of notable new features.
Wednesday was packed with an onslaught of app updates, many of which came with at least a few notable features. While a bit on the quiet side, the Play Movies & TV app came with some worthwhile new features of its own. Most of the new features are hidden under the Settings screen, including a toggle to finally shut off binge-watching on phones and tablets and a pair of options to enable notifications for new TV shows and when things on your Wishlist become available or drop in price. There are also a few other subtle differences behind the scenes.
Here's the official changelog for Play Movies & TV v3.10:
Wishlist any movie that's not yet available for purchase and receive notifications when it's available to buy or rent
More reliable playback
Play Movies & TV channel in Android TV Live Channels app
An update back in early October brought binge-watching, which filled in a popular feature for serious TV watchers.
NVIDIA's SHIELD Android TV box has only been available for a few weeks, and it's already getting its over-the-air update. This one improves a handful of the SHIELD's app functions and its accessories. Notably, software build 1.2 enables 4K output in Google's Photos & Videos app, provided of course that you have a 4K TV to view them on. According to the changelog it also improves streaming performance for both Netflix and Google Play Movies.
No, not the real Transformers movie, the animated one from 1986. Google is giving away 2007 live-action movie, directed by Michael Bay and starring Shia LaBeouf. You know, the one that's held up as one of the worst examples of mindless Hollywood summer blockbusters, its awfulness surpassed only by its even more mindless sequels.
If you haven't heard about the infamous hack of Sony Pictures and the subsequent cancellation of its forthcoming comedy The Interview starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, then you might just live under a rock... or possibly in the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea. At the 11th hour Sony decided to release the movie to a small amount of independent theaters on Christmas day, despite threats of violence from hackers, and it's now available on Google Play Movies/YouTube.
The video-on-demand release comes after the vast majority of theaters in the United States and Canada declined to schedule showings of the movie, fearing violence despite a lack of credible evidence that the threat is serious.
Nothing says "Happy Holidays" like dystopian teenagers forced to murder one another. If you have a recently-released Samsung phone or tablet, you can load up a copy of The Hunger Games or its sequel Catching Fire for that long journey home. Just install this app from Lionsgate (only compatible with some devices) and follow the instructions below to get a couple of free movies.
According to SlickDeals, the free redemption codes are available to owners of the Galaxy Tab S, Galaxy Note Pro, Galaxy Tab Pro, Galaxy Note 3, Galaxy S5, and Galaxy S4. One Android Police writer managed to redeem both movies on a Galaxy Note 4, so it might be worth a try on other Samsung phones too.
Roku started making cheap, effective streaming set-top boxes long before Google TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, Android TV, and Amazon's "I can't believe it's not Chromecast." But before today, users who were smack dab in the middle of Google's universe found a notable hole in Roku's otherwise wide array of content partners: the Play Store's selection of movies and TV shows. In a surprising move on Google's part, a new Play Movies channel has been added to the Roku lineup. You can check it out on any Roku device right now.
This seems kind of odd, since Google is in the middle of launching Android TV, not to mention the ongoing success of Chromecast, both of which directly compete with Roku's various set-top boxes.
If you use a Nexus 5, or even if you can just get your hands on one long enough to add your Google account, you might want to investigate the Google Play Movies & TV app. According to posters at Slickdeals and our own devices, owners of the N5 are being treated to a free digital copy of the 2013 astronaut thriller Gravity. Just open the app and tap "add to library," and it's yours to keep and play back on any Android device or browser. It's even being given away in HD.
This does seem oddly limited to the Nexus 5 - we've tried it on other devices, including the OnePlus One, the Nexus 7 2013 running the Android L preview, the LG G Pad 8.3 Google Play Edition, and the DROID MAXX, and all of them seem to be offering Shaun The Sheep: The Big Chase instead.