APP OF THE DAY: Android Film Rentals/Videos (Android)
Accessing films or movies on Android has never been much of a problem. Support for a range of video formats, including Flash, means that streaming or playing local content is pretty simple - if you're prepared to do a little fiddling around.
Apple haa its movie offering tied up: iTunes has been doling out the goods for years, making it easy to grab yourself a movie for your iPhone or iPad, or just for playback on your PC. Whilst US Android customers have been better served than those in the UK, the arrival of film rentals for UK Android owners gives Google a foot in the door, ahead of probable rivals Amazon/Lovefilm or even Netflix UK.
- Android Market
This is a slightly odd App of the Day, because films arrive on your Android device through the Android Market but they are actually handled by the Videos app, so we're dealing with both parts of the process here.
Browsing and buying films takes place through Android Market, which has been updated (for some) to include a Films tab, joining Apps, Games and Books. Dive into Films and you get the normal breakdown into categories, featured, top rentals and new releases. There are also Staff Choices within the featured section.
Then it really is as simple as finding a film you fancy and tapping the Rent button. We've been browsing the selection of movies on offer and they seem to be priced at £3.49 for a newer release, or £2.49 for older movies.
These prices match those on iTunes, unsurprisingly, but the selection of films isn't as comprehensive. Fortunately it doesn’t cost you anything to browse, as there is no subscription involved, unlike streaming from a service like Lovefilm.
Once you've made your selection and paid for it, you'll get access to that film. At this point, you switch from Android Market to the Videos app. If you don't have the Videos app you'll be prompted to download it. Videos handles your rentals and provides playback.
The Videos app itself is divided into two sections, one for your rentals, the other for "personal videos". This scours your device for video content and presents it to you in one place.
You get access to your rented film for 30 days, but once you start playing, you have 48 hours to watch it.
Of course, this being Google there is another route, which is via the Android Market website. As with apps, you'll now find the Movies tab on the website so you can browse and watch on your computer or on your device.
Normal playback is streaming, but you do get the option to download it, with a warning asking you whether this should be over Wi-Fi only… we'd suggest you say yes to that. If you choose to download your film, you won't then be able to watch your film on other Android devices on your account, which streaming will allow.
Playback quality was perfect for a mobile device and if you have HDMI on your phone you'll be able to hook it up to a TV to watch it on the big screen.