4K upgrades could be coming soon to Google Play Movies, and they might be free

When 4K movies first came to Google Play Movies in 2016, there were more than a few users who wondered how they might upgrade their movies. After all, who wouldn't want to get the best picture and quality they could for their films, especially as more and more 4K TVs and 4K-enabled set-top boxes continued to roll out? Alas, Google Play not offer users an easy path — or any path, really — to upgrade the films they had already purchased, nor did it give you the option to even pay full-price for the movie again to get it in 4K. Well, 4K upgrades may finally be coming to Google Play Movies, and after such a long wait, it looks like Google may be making it up to users by giving them free 4K upgrades.

The code unearthed during an AndroidPolice teardown or Google Play Movies talk directly about purchased movies being upgraded to 4K, and one line explicitly states that *"[a number] of your movies just got a free upgrade to 4K". No pricing could be found among the half-dozen or so references to 4K upgrades, which points to some or all 4K eligible titles being upgraded to 4K.

If free 4K upgrades sound familiar, that's because Apple did indeed upgrade some movies to 4K in the iTunes Store, but those upgrades were limited according to how they were purchased or redeemed to your library, and there could be similar restrictions with Google's upgrades, too. We still have no idea when 4K upgrades may roll out, what movies might be included for free, and if you could pay to upgrade movies that are not included. About the only studio of films we can be reasonably sure of not being included is Disney, because even in fall of 2018, Disney still does not release any of its movies on 4K digitally.

Even though we may turn down free movies, free upgrades of movies we liked enough to buy are always welcome, and when these upgrades arrive, my NVIDIA Shield TV and I will be waiting, popcorn in hand and remote at the ready.

Ara Wagoner

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.

  • About freaking time.
  • I've been waiting for this.
  • Sounds awesome. Now if only I had a way to watch those movies I haven't bought because they never work when I want to buy one :D
  • I never got why there was a price difference between standard and HD in the first place, but it's good that 4k is free.
  • Well one is higher quality?
  • Seriously about time
  • Will this flow over to Movies Anywhere?
  • I really doubt it, but it would be nice.
  • Why not, aren't the accounts linked? I want 4K upgrades on vudu also.
  • I wonder: If they do this, will it apply through the chain to titles linked with Movies Anywhere? In other words... I dont even use GPM, but I have a bunch of movies in that acct/service that came over automatically from Vudu etc. If GPM upgrades some of my 1080 movies to 4k for free, will I then get the 4k version in Vudu?