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It used to be that Google’s Chromebooks were widely condemned as glorified browsers, with little offline capability and no chance of becoming widely adopted by consumers and businesses. Things have changed, however, and a steady stream of both operating system updates and new Chromebook machines over the last eighteen months have seen the devices become more useful than ever. Barely a week now goes by without news of another school, government organisation or start-up company making the Chromebook their computer of choice, yet still the machine fights against a tide of opinion that deems it unusable, useless, and poorly equipped. Chromebooks – Useful or Useless? Chromebooks – Useful or Useless? My wife gave me a choice of gadgets for Christmas – a new MP3 player, or a Chromebook? Read More

Today we take a look at one area where a lot of people still harbour many misconceptions – offline movie playback.

What is ‘Google Play Movies and TV’?

google-play-tv

Advertised by Google as a way to ‘watch your favourite movies and shows on your Chrome OS device, or any Chrome browser‘, the app allows users to buy or rent films and television shows and watch them anywhere, at any time – even when offline. It syncs content across multiple platforms and also acts as a hub for Chromecast. Chromecast is a high definition media streaming which plugs into the HDMI port on your TV and allows you to easily stream any media from both apps and supported devices, it’s widely considered to be Google’s answer to Apple TV Chromecast Vs Apple TV Vs Roku: Which Media Streamer Suits You? Chromecast Vs Apple TV Vs Roku: Which Media Streamer Suits You? Media streaming devices are simply awesome. Those little boxes that connect to your TV can add a wealth of entertainment options to your living room. But which device is best for you? Read More .

Get the Latest Updates to Download Content

Quite simply, the only thing you need to be able to watch offline is the latest version of the ‘Google Play Movies and TV‘ app. Once you’ve grabbed it from the Google Web Store and opened it up, just head to the ‘My Movies’ tab at top of the page to see the content you already own. You will see a small download icon on each card of the media in your collection, simply click the button and the film or television show will be saved locally. You can cancel the download at any time by clicking on the same button.

google-play-movies-app

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Use the App to Watch Offline

Once the content has been downloaded you still need to use the app to view the content. Reopen ‘Google Play Movies and TV’ from the apps list on your Chromebook and once again head to ‘My Movies’. Any movies or TV shows that have been successfully downloaded for offline viewing will be marked with a red tick. Just click on the content you want and it will start playing.

google-play-movies-app-offline

Once you’ve finished watching the film, you might not want it to take up space on your device’s memory. Thankfully removing downloaded content is easy – click on the image of a pin of the card of the film or show in question and choose ‘Remove’.

Stream Offline Videos via Chromecast

It’s not just on planes and trains where the ability to watch offline video content could be useful. We’ve all experienced problems with our home Internet connections at various times, either due to an ISP outage, a router malfunctioning, or simple user error.

If this happens to you, and you own a Chromecast, you can still watch Google Play HD content on your TV without an Internet connection. Click the Chromecast icon near the top right corner of the video player, then under “Connect to a device” select your Chromecast from the device list. To cancel the playback click on the same icon and select ‘Stop casting’.

What Other Google Apps Work Offline?

The offline playback feature has actually been available for quite some time. An announcement was initially made by Google in May 2014 during a joint event with Intel, and at the time formed the latest part of the company’s on-going push to make the devices more useful offline. There are lots of myths about offline Chromebooks Chromebooks Don't Work Offline? Debunking the Myths Chromebooks Don't Work Offline? Debunking the Myths One of the biggest criticisms aimed at Google's Chromebooks is that they are online-only machines – ergo, no Internet, no point. How true is this statement? Read More , but Google is determined to make its native apps all work offline, and in addition to Google Play now offers automatic offline syncing for both Google Drive and Google Keep, along with Google Calendar and Gmail. Numerous third-party apps also work offline.

What are Your Experiences?

Have you used a Chromebook to either watch videos offline or stream to a Chromecast while offline? How was your experience? Did you find it smooth and straightforward or did you encounter problems? Either way, we’d love to hear from you.

What about the perception of Chromebooks being useless offline? Does the constant flow of positive press mean you are slowly being converted, or are you one of those who refuses to acknowledge Chromebooks as worthy competitors to PCs and Macs? Again, we’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions.

You can leave your comments in the box below.

  1. Lynda
    June 5, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    Hey I have downloaded play movies and TV app. I bought and downloaded some movies to watch offline but it does not work without WiFi. It just says there is an error. Could anyoknr help?

  2. Tim
    May 9, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    You can watch downloaded google movies offline on a laptop running an android emulator that has the google play movies app installed.

  3. Zach
    December 24, 2015 at 9:28 am

    ho)w/where can i find these files in the file manager? (I'm planning to transfer the movies to my flash drive.

  4. joel
    May 10, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    No other computers can play videos to the cast so it might mean same experience across all devices for now till they get a hold on chrome for windows to make sure people are using chrome then offline movies will probably work on all computers. Chrome books actually have it harder but what I've done is powerwashed and then you might have to use a library computer for a while. When you power wash the router becomes your password and I also have a phone which I'm able to do some things on mean time. But using library computers has helped me and you could even just power wash and place the computer on a high shelf for a while its cool to see the demo mode anyways once its power washed.

  5. rj
    April 24, 2015 at 5:17 am

    downloaded a whole season of shows for a trip to mexico. was unable to watch them smoothly. starting and stopping occasionally produced synch errors and authorization errors when i had no internet. not a true offline experience with my chromebook 2 Samsung. Any ideas? Seems to work better with tablet.

  6. David Calderwood
    April 20, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    Can I download my movies to a Lenovo?

  7. Dave
    April 15, 2015 at 12:19 am

    I am having the same issue as James, when dowloading a tv show to my chromebook........same error message.....I'm trying on April 14th which is 4 days after James...shouldn't this have been resolved by now?

    • Dan Price
      April 15, 2015 at 12:42 am

      Probably.... Maybe I was wrong. @James - did you solve the issue? Perhaps a powerwash would help?

  8. james
    April 10, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    I bought and downloaded The Empire Strikes Back from starwars.com, but when I try to download it onto my Chromebook, so I can watch it offline, it only downloads to 11% before an error message comes up saying "There was a temporary server error. Please try again later." I've gotten this message all morning long. So how does one resolve the issue? Thanks, James

    • Dan Price
      April 10, 2015 at 4:22 pm

      Hey James. I suspect this is a error at Google's end... You might have to sit it out.

      Dan

  9. Michael
    January 4, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    I have Chromebook and Chromecast. Chromecast does not project downloaded movies in Chromebook while Chromebook is offline. The chromecast only works with an internet connection.

    • Ben
      January 10, 2015 at 1:57 pm

      Michael, could you please clarify:

      Chromebooks cannot cast downloaded videos to a Chromecast
      OR
      Chromebooks can cast downloaded videos to a Chromecast, but only if the Chromecast has an internet connection.

      My personal use case is that I would like to download movies ahead of time and stream them from a Chromebook (or any device really).

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