This morning we saw that Google Play’s Birthday Sale is underway, but Google’s not done with the presents – TV shows are now available for sale on the Google Play.
The major Australian free-to-air channels are represented on the service, as well as a number of Foxtel channels. You’ll find shows such as The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, The Vampire Diaries, Family Guy, American Dad, Mrs Browns Boys and Housos can now be purchased from Google either as an individual episode or (when complete) as a full season.
You’ll also find a few finished shows like Fringe, House MD and The Sopranos. I squealed a little when I noticed my personal favourite, Babylon 5.
Notably, the selection also includes a few currently-airing HBO shows like True Blood, The Newsroom and Girls, although
Game of Thrones remains disappointingly absent. (Update: Game of Thrones is now available, but wasn’t when this story was first published)
Google Australia posted about the launch on their blog mid-morning, pointing out that content can be pinned on your device for offline playback (eg if you’re going on a trip) and that the Google Play Movies & TV app is also available on iOS. That last point is important if you live in both Android and iOS ecosystems – iTunes content (except for music) isn’t playable across devices, while Google’s content is. Well played, Google.
It’s worth comparing prices between Australia’s digital content stores, as Google seems to be undercutting the iTunes price on a number of fronts.
Google seems to have two price points for content – 2.99 for a standard definition (SD) episode, and 3.49 for a high definition (HD) episode. Which one you purchase will probably depend on your usage needs, your available bandwidth, and your device / TV screen (if any). Seasons are sold similarly, but the price differs by the number of episodes. A HD usually has about a $5 difference in price.
Google also has a number of shows missing entirely from its catalogue when compared to iTunes. While Game of Thrones has turned up since this article was originally published, Doctor Who and Torchwood both remain absent.
iTunes also offers the ability to prepurchase an entire season as it airs on TV (a “Season Pass”), while Google Play often insists on per-episode sales. We also don’t have any indication from Google of how long it’ll take new content to appear for sale after it airs.
|SD Episode||SD Season||HD Episode||HD Season|
|The Walking Dead (S4)||$2.99||–||$3.49||–|
|The Walking Dead (S3)||$2.99||$23.99||$3.49||$26.99|
|Babylon 5 (S4)||$2.99||$13.49||–||–|
|Game of Thrones (S3)||$2.99||$18.99||$3.49||$22.99|
|Doctor Who (S7)||–||–||–||–|
It’s also worth noting that there seem to be some gaps in Google’s library. Homeland only has seasons 1 & 2, Babylon 5 is missing Season 1 (along with a questionable August 2013 airdate) and Game of Thrones Season 2 is missing episodes 2 & 9. We’re sure these will be ironed out in time.
Google also points out that they’ll be adding more shows in the coming weeks.
Google’s full complement of Play content (Apps, Music, Movies and TV) are finally on sale in Australia, so we have to wonder how long it’ll be before we see a local release of the Chromecast media player here.
With a UK retailer claiming it’ll go on sale there this month, we’d like to think that the Chromecast will come to our shores soon, and hopefully with a similarly low price in tow as its US $35 tag.
Edit: Looks like Google has now updated the Google Play content availability support page to show that Australia has TV Shows.
Will you be buying TV shows from Google? Have you spotted any good (or bad) deals? Is anything missing that tips the balance for you? Let us know in the comments!