With Netflix doubling the price of its internet only plan, online movie viewers will be glad to know that YouTube has been adding to its already extensive library of online movie rentals in the Youtube Movies Section, which can be viewed on your television, computer, android tablets, and compatible android phones.
You might already be aware of the Youtube movies section, which was launched just recently in the UK, but has been available in the US a bit longer. Even if you are, it’s a site worth bookmarking because additional titles are being added every day, and like many of the other Google properties, it includes a section of FREE titles available for rent and download. Currently, just a few of the full length movies available at no cost are:
- Big Daddy
- Ghostbuster 2
- El Mariachi
- Single White Female; and
- Buena Vista Social Club (which, by the way, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2000)
If those titles don’t get your motor running, don’t worry, they’re just as stocked on new releases as any other movie rental company, with titles like Hanna, Everything Must Go, The Conspirator, Bridesmaids, and Red State. The Youtube online movie rental page also features family friendly shows and animated children’s movies like the 2011 releases Tristan and Isolde, a full line of Barney movies, and even the Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation.
The Youtube movie page is infinitely easier to navigate than both Netflix and Blockbuster, and movies for rent can be found even while searching through other shorter youtube video clips. This makes for a much more natural browsing experience, and let’s you search outside the rigid movie categories of the other online movie rental companies. I don’t know about you, but when I search for Dr. Strangelove, I don’t look under the political drama category. Ahem, Netflix, pay attention!
Here’s an example of the search function in Youtube Movies: while navigating the Youtube website and watching short movie trailers I did a search for the Michael Keaton film My Life. What came up is shown in the screen cap below.
The 7th entry shows the green movie symbol with a price tag next to it. Clicking that link takes you to the Youtube Movies page for that film and explains the movie rental process. It also lists the cast and other information which you can explore and use to link to other movies and clips watchable on Youtube.
Most movies give you a month to keep the movie in your account, and once you start viewing the movie you have either 24 or 48 hours to finish watching it. The timeline is pretty standard fare for online viewing companies, including on-demand cable and satellite providers. Both HD and non-HD videos are available, with most of the newer releases being HD.
Generally you’ll find Youtube movies priced between $2.99 to $3.99, with many of the titles available in HD costing an additional $1, which is on par with most of the online movie rental companies including Apple TV and Itunes.
For those who rent their movies almost exclusively using Red Box, you’ll find most Youtube movies about $1 more expensive, but you make that up in lost time driving to and from the nearest kiosk and then waiting in line. Something people in the more frigid climates will certainly appreciate!
Once your purchase is complete, the movie is installed into your Youtube account and can be accessed anywhere you have an internet connection. You can see in the picture to the right, a “Purchases” link is now listed in my account, and when I click on it, I’m taken to a screen which shows all the movies I’ve purchased on Youtube. In this case, just the film referenced above, My Life.
Another feature I love with Youtube Movies is the ability to cancel your purchase within 7 days of renting, as long as the movie has not yet been started. That is clearly stated in each email receipt Youtube sends directly to your registered email account. The other companies may be offering a similar feature, but if they are, that information is buried in fine print on some obscure terms and conditions page at the back of the website.
The Purchases section also shows the expiration dates of your rentals and whether the movie is active or expired. You can pick up a movie where you left off, start it over, or move quickly to any position in the timeline. Youtube load times seems to be comparable with Netflix and on demand offerings as well.
Additionally, titles can be purchased and rented through the Android Market, which can then be streamed to your computer or compatible Android device.
Like most of the other android features, the Youtube movie rental and streaming feature is not fully integrated into every mobile device on the market yet, so in that way it does not have the cross device functionality of the Apple products.
But, for those people who already enjoy using the various Google services and don’t want to worry about cramming their computer with additional software and apps, the Youtube online movie rental program is an exciting new feature, and one which will only get better as more movie titles are added.