YouTube starts renting movies for $4 a view

Starting Friday, Jan. 22 you'll be able to rent movies on YouTube for $4. To start, YouTube will only be offering five movies from the Sundance Film Festival, but the offerings will expand in the coming weeks.

These five movies will be available for a 48-hour rental period until Jan. 31.

The first five films available for rental on YouTube are:
  • The Cove
  • One Too Many Mornings
  • Homewrecker
  • Children of Invention
  • Bass Ackwards
Here is a trailer for The Cove. The rest of the trailers can be viewed online.

According to the YouTube Blog, this is just the start: "In addition to these five films, a small collection of rental videos from other U.S. partners across different industries, including health and education, will be made available in the weeks ahead. We're also excited to put out the call for more independent filmmakers to join the rental program as part of our "Filmmakers Wanted" campaign at the festival."

If you're not too big on Indie movies or "health and education" titles, sit tight because if things go well this may be the beginning of mainstream feature length movies on YouTube. Rumors of YouTube movie rentals have been swirling around since the middle of 2009 and thanks to a push of HD it could soon become a reality.

A year ago this news would have been complicated by the limitations of watching the movie on a computer screen, an activity that has yet to gain widespread adoption, but thanks to new technology and the fact that YouTube will soon be on almost every device you own, mainstream movie rentals could take off quickly.

Thanks to the Wii and devices like Boxee it's easy for many users to watch YouTube videos on their bigscreens, where movies are more enjoyable. New technology from Intel and Netgear, like Push2TV, will allow users to send an HD signal from their laptop to their HDTV wirelessly giving YouTube another chance at big screen beauty.

And best of all this technology is available starting at $899 at Best Buy including a laptop and adapter. Another reason why movie rentals on YouTube would be a hit is that you can watch YouTube videos on many phones that don't have access to renting or purchasing movies elsewhere, like Android powered devices.

Add anywhere access, good content and affordable pricing and YouTube may have just discovered how to be profitable, which means you'll be able to keep posting your home videos, just not Disney ones, for the foreseeable future.
Read Full Story