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Google Play Movies is upgrading select SD and HD movies to 4K for free, reducing prices

Google is really starting to push 4K, starting with Play Movies & TV.

Published onOctober 23, 2018

Google Play Movies
  • Google is upgrading user-owned SD and HD films in Play Movies to 4K for free, but only in the U.S. and Canada.
  • The search giant is also making UHD movies cheaper to buy in the Play Store.
  • An updated Play Movies app is bringing a refreshed app to Samsung, LG, and Vizio TVs as well as bringing UHD streaming to Samsung’s 4K Smart TVs.

Just over a week ago, a teardown of a recent Play Movies build revealed several strings of code that hinted at Google potentially upgrading user’s movies to 4K. As there was no mention of a fee to do this, it was believed that the search giant would at least bump HD films up to 4K for free. But as Google just announced, it’s upgrading all supported films for customers in the U.S. and Canada to UHD no matter if they were purchased in SD or HD. Plus, the company doing it at no cost to the user.

This move resembles what Apple did back in 2017 when it announced the Apple TV 4K. While not every Hollywood studio is supported, a good number of them are, and more should jump on board over time.

Google Play Movies 4K Upgrade

As you can see from the screenshots above, there’ll soon be a new menu item in the Play Movies app that shows which of your digital movies were upgraded to 4K. All of this will take place behind the scenes and won’t require you to fill out a form to process the upgrade. 

Google has also announced that UHD movies from the Play Store will soon be cheaper than they have been. Leading up to this announcement, 4K films had typically cost somewhere between $25 and $30 unless they were on sale. While the search giant didn’t say if they’d put a cap on the price as Apple has, a look at the Play Store appears to show every UHD film at $20 or below. 

To help you enjoy your new 4K movies, Google is upgrading the Play Movies app found on several smart TVs. An update should soon be rolling out to Samsung, LG, and Vizio TVs that introduces a more modern design and improved experience. The update is also bringing UHD streaming to 4K Samsung Smart TVs with support coming to LG televisions in the future. 

Honestly, the biggest disappointment with Google’s push for 4K content is the fact that the third-gen Chromecast only support 1080p60. While the company does sell the 4K-capable Chromecast Ultra, it hasn’t been updated in several years and is relatively more expensive than other streaming devices on the market. 

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