Google TV app on Android

One of the core benefits of the Google TV app – in many areas still known as Play Movies & TV – is how it connects all of your many streaming services together under one hub. With the latest update, Google TV can now send notifications when a show or movie you want to watch becomes freely available on a service.

In the Google TV app today, you can add shows and movies to your watchlist, which can be quite helpful later on when deciding what to watch on a particular night. Just about every movie and show that can be added to your watchlist can be bought or rented to stream via Google Play or another marketplace, which the app is all too happy to show.

However, what most people probably want from Google TV’s aggregation is to know where they can stream a particular movie/show with the subscription services they already pay for. This is especially true with the wealth of new streaming options like Apple TV+, Peacock, and Paramount+ all adding to the confusion. Google TV has long offered this, but you would need to remember to check back on each movie/show to see if it had been added to one of your services.

With Google TV 4.29, rolling out now via the Play Store, we find a new option buried deep within the app’s settings – though luckily it’s enabled by default – that will notify you when a show or movie on your watchlist becomes available “for free.” You can find the toggle (instructions for those still on Play Movies & TV will be a bit different) by tapping your profile picture and choosing “Google TV settings.” From there, tap “Update notification preferences,” and on that page, you’ll see the below option:

Available to watch free

Get updates when items on your watchlist becomes available for free.

You can also disable/tweak the setting directly from Android’s Settings app, as Google TV’s watchlist notifications are sent in a separate notification channel.

We haven’t been able to test whether the watchlist notifications work properly yet, primarily because streaming services only update their libraries once every few days, with the most additions/removals usually happening on the first of each month. We’ve added a few upcoming movies to our watchlist and will report back on how quickly Google TV notifies us about the addition.

Regardless, this is a surprising shift from the Google TV app, moving from a passive aggregator you need to seek out to a proactive watchdog for the shows/movies you’ve been waiting for.

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About the Author

Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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