Shortly after Google debuted its Android Market movie rental service, reports appeared of users with rooted phones being unable to play back movies they had paid for. We later saw the same thing go down with Blockbuster’s movie-rental app. At the time, we speculated that we’d eventually see some sort of work-around emerge to watch this protected content in spite of having root access. It may have taken awhile, but now there’s a hacked version of Google Videos available that will play back rented content while you’re rooted.
The fact that users with rooted Androids have to jump through these hoops in the first place is just silly. The studios that own the rights to these films want to prevent users from pirating the rented content, saving it for viewing after the rental period has lapsed. If someone has it in his mind to pirate a movie, there are plenty of easier ways to get higher-quality copy for free; no one’s going to shell out $4 with the express purpose of pirating a film when they can just hop on BitTorrent.
The hacked APK will remove the root checks from both the stand-alone Google Videos app, and its Market-based cousin. It’s based on an older version of the app (Google just updated it to officially support Froyo and Gingerbread), but it reportedly still runs fine on anything Froyo or newer.
This app will not get you free movies, or extend your rental period; all that’s happening is the root check and tamper detection checks have been disabled, letting you rent Google’s movies while still enjoying root-level access.