Google may be preparing to upgrade customers’ movies from HD to 4K resolution for free and thus follow Apple’s example. That is according to a report by Android Police.
4K movie upgrades
Android Police has discovered code in the latest version (apk 4.8) of the Google Play Movies app, which is Google’s online store for movie purchases and rentals.
The code includes text strings that strongly suggests that Google will offer 4K upgrades free of charge, including this one: ”%1$d of your movies just got a free upgrade to 4K”. Android Police explains that there are no buttons titled ”upgrade”, suggesting that it will happen automatically.
Google has been selling 4K movies since December 2016 following the launch of Chromecast Ultra. However, Google Play Movies has offered no way to upgrade bought movies from HD to 4K resolution – not even if users have been prepared to pay for it.
It is not clear how Google would roll out 4K upgrades, though. The company currently charges significantly more for movies in 4K resolution compared to movies in HD or SD resolution. And Google Play Movies offers 4K movies only in select regions only. There is no word on free HDR upgrades either.
If Google decides to go ahead with the change, the company will follow Apple’s example. In late 2017 when Apple launched the Apple TV 4K, it also started upgrading users’ movies from HD to 4K HDR for free. In September 2018, Apple started offering free Dolby Atmos upgrades.
Google makes no mention of 4K upgrades in its release notes for the new version of the Google Play Movies app that can be downloaded here. Fingers crossed that an official announcement from Google comes sooner rather than later.