LG Smart TV with Google TV (G2 Series) with 5-mode G2 Magic Remote. Photo: AFP
From Tuesday, viewers in Europe will be able to download and stream movies and music on their TVs from the Google Play Store.
Google TV, accessed via a set-top box or integrated into the latest HDTVs from Samsung, Sony and LG, is designed to combine the best of the internet and Android plus
the Google Play app store, with the best of TV. Viewers can surf the web, find programming based on themes, genres and likes, and download and install apps to improve
the viewing experience. However, due to international licensing and rights laws, two of Google Play's most attractive features, downloading and streaming video and
music content, have previously been unavailable to users outside the US.
From November 13 that is set to change with the UK, France and Germany becoming the first outside America to be able to access everything. However, unlike in the US,
they will not be able to download the content to other Android devices such as tablets or smartphones, though it is hoped this limitation will also soon be addressed.
Amazon faced similar issues when it launched the Kindle Fire HD. Despite being able to draw on a huge ecosystem of multimedia content, the company hadn't negotiated
cross-border licensing with the rights holders, which is why the original Kindle Fire was released in the US only. The company has since agreed deals with all of the
major record labels and film studios, which means it has been able to launch the second generation of its 7-inch tablet internationally.
Following the UK, France and Germany, Google is also expected to roll out Google Play's music and movie features in Australia and Canada before the end of the year.