Android TV: Movies Anywhere Has Issues But Is Worth A Download

Late last week a new app arrived on the Google Play Store, Movies Anywhere. While the app is new, it is only new in its current form as this is essentially a revamping of the Disney Movies Anywhere App that launched back in late 2014. Although with that revamping comes a number of changes and a significantly wider level of support. As previously, the Disney version of the app was mainly designed for accessing Disney-related content. Now however, the new app has launched with immediate support for a number of the big content services on Android, including Google Play Movies & TV, VUDU, and Amazon video. Which does mean that Movies Anywhere could be a major app addition for those who purchase a lot of movies, and specifically from different places as the app will essentially congregate all of those titles into one place, which can then be accessed from just about anywhere, and on any compatible device including Android TV devices. Well, that is the idea at least. As although the new app does currently support Android TV, it does seem to have one or two issues at the moment.

The first thing to understand about Movies Anywhere is that it is not designed to be an app where you can buy or rent content, as you can’t. Instead it just acts as a portal to content you have already purchased via Disney, Play Movies, VUDU, and Amazon. So if you do not own any content from those services, then nothing will show up when you do launch the app and sync it with your other accounts. Although you can buy content from the Movies Anywhere website. In either case while the app works well on mobile Android (as does the website version), it seems to be encountering some playback issues on Android TV. A number of users have reported this in various forums already and we have also encountered the issue. Titles show up in the library but won’t seem to play and instead the app reports a playback issue as shown below. This has been noted on a number of Android TV devices including dedicated boxes like the NVIDIA SHIELD and the Nexus Player, as well as with TVs powered by Android TV. So at present this does not seem to be a device or operating system version-specific issue. Also, it might not be an issue for all, but it is for some.

But here is the catch, even if the app is not working on your Android TV device, it is still one worth downloading and syncing to your other content apps. As not only does Movies Anywhere congregate all your purchased movies, but it also links them on all the other sites. For example, once you link Google Play Movies and Amazon Video to Movies Anywhere, not only are all your titles listed in the Movies Anywhere app, but the Google Play Movies and Amazon Video apps (and websites) will also now show the titles you have purchased via the different apps i.e. Google Play Movies will list Amazon purchased movies, and vice versa. Not to mention, as you can set up and link all of your accounts via the Movies Anywhere website (this is actually recommended as it is much easier than trying to do it all through the app), once set up you don't particularly have to even bother with downloading the Movies Anywhere app on an Android TV device. You can just continue to use Google Play Movies. Something that is likely to be particular benefit to those who currently own an Android TV device which does not support the Amazon Video app yet (or the VUDU app for that matter).

Adding to that, Movies Anywhere is also running a promotion where those who link two accounts to the Movies Anywhere service will get five movies for free. The movies offered up include Big Hero 6, the 2016 version of Ghostbusters, Jason Bourne, Ice Age, and The Lego Movie. Which is not a bad selection to instantly add to your collection. Likewise, if you don't have two accounts to sync, linking one account will still net you two free movies - Ghostbusters and Ice Age. So in spite of the early issues with the Movies Anywhere app on Android TV, it is still one worth checking out and signing up for. Not only will you get up to five movies for free, but those movies, along with anything else you already own will become much more centralized, and on all of your existing accounts - which in reality is probably the way an online video collection should be in 2017.

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About the Author

John Anon

John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]
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