YouTube comes preinstalled on Android devices; after all, it’s a Google-owned company. You can create channels to which you subscribe and stream clips to your heart’s content. A video-on-demand download service under the YouTube umbrella launched in the UK in late 2011. At the start of March this year, the YouTube app disappeared and the catalogue became an integrated part of Google Play – the combined Android app market, games, books and movies store. See also Samsung Galaxy S3 release date, specs and rumour round-up
The interface – accessed through the Movies link of Google Play - is slick. Tiles listed under Now Playing and a selection of popular new releases are priced at £3.49 apiece are shown. Star ratings for each are given. Rentals allow you 30 days to start watching the film, with a 48-hour window having started viewing to complete it. Google uses the payment details logged for your app purchases, so there’s no additional payment information to add; just click to signal your agreement or change the card used, accept the terms and you’re off.
Swipe to view what’s to the left and you can view movies by genre. These are sensibly divided into Action & Adventure, Animation, Comedy, Drama, Documentary, Family and Horror. Type a term such as ‘Bollywood’ into the search and Google Play Movies quickly offers a neat list of more than 100.
Bargain rentals are usually shown at the top of each section since they are generally the most popular as a result. Some categories are better represented than others – there are 500 under Drama. A navigation bar would be helpful in the face of this, though we’ve no complaints about the breadth of choice. There are no free rentals, though, and charging £2.49 for decades-old films seems rather greedy.
Programmes and video played back smoothly after the initial buffering process and we found less artefacts in our Google Play Movies than we did when using Netflix on a tablet.