Up until today, renting a movie digitally to watch on your phone or tablet was exceptionally limited. You could use iTunes – which only works with the iPhone and iPad – or you could use Zune – which only works with Windows Phone 7. Google has finally come to the party with movie rentals now available through both YouTube and the Android Marketplace, Google Play.
Pricing is pretty much identical to iTunes. You can rent new release movies for $5.99 in standard definition and $6.99 in high definition, while catalogue titles rent for $3.99 SD and $4.99 HD. There’s a 48 hour window to watch the film once you press play, and you have 30 days to start watching the movie after renting.
Google claims there are thousands of films available – which may be true, but exceptionally difficult to find out – and we also couldn’t find a single HD movie to rent in our quick look at the service. It also seems that SD videos are available in NTSC format of only 480 horizontal lines, which is lower quality than renting an Aussie DVD.
That said, there’s a lot to be said for choice, and this is but a first step for Google to improve the competition of digital entertainment in Australia. Hopefully we’ll see a shake up of pricing and offerings across the board now.