TV shows are now available for purchase on the Australian Google Play store. The range is impressive and includes current shows through to the decidedly old-school. Pricing is similar to iTunes at AU$2.99 per episode in SD and AU$3.49 in HD.
A few select episodes are downloadable for free, but these are usually just pilot episodes that are there to draw you in. It’s a good idea and a safe way to check out new shows, but it’s less of a bargain and more of an advertisement for the show.
Some shows can be purchased at a per-season price, but most are sold on an episode-by-episode basis. Season pricing can be significantly cheaper than the per-episode option. Community, for instance, is currently going for $9.99 (down from $13.99) for the whole first season, or $2.99 per episode, which comes to $71.76 (the pilot is available for free).
Some of the more notable titles include Downton Abby, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, True Blood, The Wire, Big Bang Theory, Community and Breaking Bad. Shows are broken up in to genres like Drama, Kids’ TV, Documentaries and Sci Fi, to name a few. Right now there’s only five doccos, but hopefully that number will rise with time. There’s also a Season Deals section which will probably get its fair share of attention.
About time, but not a game-changer
It’s good to see TV series functionality added to Google Play, even if it’s a good year and a half after movies hit the cyber-shelves in mid 2012. Of course, iTunes already offers all of these titles for a very similar price, but this way Android users will have a more OS-friendly option when buying TV series online.
Hopefully Google Play will start adding more per-season options soon. In fact, it will have to if it wants to compete directly with iTunes, which regularly offers discounted price tags for bundled content. There's also some odd missing content from Google Play's libraries, ranging from the occasional episode to season-wide gaps. Google says more stuff will be available in the coming weeks, which could mean a fix is on the way.
With any luck the competition will serve to drop Australia’s inflated iTunes (and now Google Play) pricing a little, but we won’t be holding out breaths.
You can check out Google Play TV now if you're in the mood for some internets viewing.