YouTube to offer film rentals in the UK

Screengrab of movie rental page YouTube said its partners had provided about 1,000 films for the rental service

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Video site YouTube has started a movie rental service in the UK.

Blockbusters such as The Dark Knight and classics including The Birds can be watched via the site. In total, about 1,000 movies have been made available.

New releases will cost £3.49 to rent and library titles £2.49. Users have 30 days to begin watching a film, and 48 hours to finish it once they start.

The UK is the third territory to get the movie rental service after the US and Canada.

YouTube announced the launch via a blogpost. The partners providing movies for the UK service include Universal, Lionsgate, Entertainment One as well as independent British film makers such as Metrodome and Revolver Entertainment.

The current number one rental on the UK YouTube service is the movie "Exit Through the Gift Shop" by well-known street artist Banksy.

As well as the film itself, YouTube said many movies have extras available that include interviews with cast and crew, documentaries, behind-the-scenes clips as well as parodies and remixes.

Film rental complements the catch-up TV service YouTube operates in the UK with the help of Channel 4, Five and many independent production companies.

Once a film has been rented, it can be watched on any computer on which a user has signed in to their YouTube account.

Rented movies will also be available via Google TV, tablets running the Honeycomb version of Android and most Android handsets. A special application is needed to get this version of the service running.

The service will put YouTube into direct competition with movie rental services offered by Apple, PlayStation and XBox, as well as subscription offerings like LoveFilm.

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