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Google has announced a couple of significant changes to Play Movies & TV that will have a considerable impact on owners of 4K televisions. Starting today, some previously-purchased movies will automatically be upgraded to 4K quality once it's available. The price of newly-purchased 4K content on the platform is also going down.
We saw signs these changes were coming last week. Movies "from participating Hollywood studios" — that's Fox, Lionsgate, NBC Universal, Sony, and Warner Bros — purchased in SD or HD quality will be available to stream in 4K as soon as that quality is available. That might sting a little if you've already amassed a library of 4K movies, but early adoption always comes at a premium. The free upgrade only applies to movies purchased before today, so don't go buying a bunch of standard definition content in hopes it'll appreciate in value.
More good (or annoying, depending on your purchase history) news: the average price of 4K films on Google Play is now lower than before. You can check out Google's top 4K movies here; some can be had for prices in the single digits.
Most 4K Samsung Smart TVs are now able to stream 4K content in the Google Play Movies & TV app, too, something that previously required external hardware like a Chromecast Ultra. Google says it's working with LG to get the functionality up and running on that company's sets, as well.
Now in the UK
A year and a half after Google announced this free upgrade for US users, it's now extending the same offer to those in the UK. Our tipster tells us he just got the notification on his devices and, out of his 460 movie collection, only 2 were upgraded, so don't hold your breath expecting generosity from all studios. Additionally, all movies with a 4K purchasing option are now only offering SD and 4K — the HD option is gone. Thanks, IamSecond!