How to Rent or Buy Movies With YouTube’s Movie Rental Service

Besides free videos, YouTube also sells and rents movies

What to Know

  • From the YouTube menu, click Movies & Shows and browse the available titles.
  • Select the one you’re interested in.
  • Click the Buy or Rent button and follow the prompts for payment.

This article describes how to rent and buy movies through the web version of YouTube’s movie rental service and how to get a refund.

How to Rent YouTube Movies

To rent or purchase a movie on YouTube using a web browser, follow these steps:

  1. Open YouTube and click Movies & Shows in YouTube’s navigation bar. You can also type “YouTube Movies” in search if you have YouTube on a smart TV, media streamer, or game console.
  • Choose new releases, movie genres, or browse through free movies. 
  • Once you find a movie to rent or buy, click the Title or cover art.
  • The trailer will immediately begin playing. Below it is all the information you need to know about the film, including related videos and sometimes user comments.

  • Click BUY or RENT to rent or buy the movie (or TV show). Some movies offer both rental and purchase options, and some just offer purchase.
  • To continue, if you haven’t done so already, you need to create or log in to your YouTube or Google Gmail account.
  • You may also need to enter a credit card and billing information if this is your first Google purchase.
  • Choose HD or SD. (Sometimes 4K is an option.) You can also enter a coupon code for a discount on the rental.
  • Once the above steps are completed, you can watch the video right away or wait until up to 30 days to start playback.

Also Read: YouTube Brand Account Setup Instructions

Important: Remember, for rentals, you have to watch the film within 24 or 48 hours from the time you first press Play. However, you can watch the movie as many times as you like within the designated rental window. If you purchase a film, you can view it at any time, as many times as you like.

Getting Refunds If There Is a Problem

For this review, two paid movie rentals and one free movie were viewed.

The first movie tested was The Green Hornet, which we viewed on a Google TV (predecessor to Android TV) Chrome web browser. Twenty minutes into the film, it jumped to the end of the movie and stopped. To solve the problem, we positioned the film slider just past the point where it jumped.  It played again for 10 minutes and again jumped to the end. The same thing happened on a PC. We requested a refund. The process was easy and efficient.

The two remaining films viewed: The Dilemma and Super Size Me played without further problems.

To get a refund on a YouTube movie purchase, visit your Purchases page and select Request refund next to the title.

Once you have indicated the problem you had, click on the option that you want a refund. In some cases, the money is refunded quickly. However, YouTube may want more verification to enable troubleshooting to solve the problem before authorizing a refund. For additional assistance, visit the YouTube Movies Support Page.

YouTube Movie Rental Service Overview

What We Like

  • Online movie/TV rental and purchase options.
  • Available on lots of devices.
  • Provides access to movie bonus features.
  • Refunds possible if you have a problem.

What We Don’t Like

  • Not as many title offerings as some competition.
  • HDR not indicated on 4K movie rentals/purchases.
  • Rental and Purchase instructions for some devices not clear.
  • Not well promoted.

YouTube movie rental and purchase rates vary from $2.99 to $19.99. Rental rates are for a 24 or 48-hour period once you hit play—depending on the film, you may have up to a 30-day window to start the play process.

The YouTube movie rental service should not be confused with YouTubeTV, which is a paid subscription streaming service that provides access to a package of several TV and movie streaming channels for a flat monthly fee. YouTube TV is similar to services such as SlingTV and DirecTV Now, which provide a cord-cutting alternative to cable and satellite TV.

Top YouTube Movie Rental Service Features

In a similar fashion as other video-on-demand services, YouTube’s paid movie-rental service includes titles like The Big Ugly, What We Found, The Secret Garden, The Silencing, The Killer Next Door, Black Water Abyss, Homefront, The King of Staten IslandJohn Wick 3, and more. Many titles are available in both standard and high-definition, and a limited number in 4K (depending on whether your devices and internet speed supports the desired option.) YouTube suggests an internet speed of at least 20 Mbps for 4K streaming).

In addition to the featured titles that show on the YouTube Movies page, you can also search to see if a specific movie or TV show title is on the service, browse through the A-Z title list, or through topic categories, which include:

  • New Releases
  • Top Selling
  • Animated Movies,
  • Action/Adventure
  • Comedy
  • Classic
  • Documentaries
  • Drama
  • Horror
  • Science Fiction

  • and more…

There is also a related videos list that you can access from the movie page – you don’t need to rent the movie to access the list.

More YouTube Movie Rental Service Features

The experience of watching YouTube movies on a TV is good.

  • The picture quality is clear and bright on the big screen, and there are typically no visible artifacts.
  • YouTube offers a full movie experience—similar to what you find on a DVD or Blu-ray Disc—that includes bonus extras. 
  • Some of these extras on the movie page include behind-the-scenes videos, cast interviews, as well as unique parodies, clips, and other uploads from YouTube users.

YouTube movie rental and purchase instructions are also available for:

  • Most PC web browsers
  • YouTube Movie apps available on iOS devices (10.0 or later) and Android smartphones
  • Select Smart TVs (primarily 2013 or newer running the Android TV operating system as well as LG, Vizio, Panasonic, and LG)
  • Chromecast and Game Consoles
  • Apple TV
  • Roku TVs and media streamers.

Final Thoughts on the YouTube Movie Rental Service

Overall, the YouTube movie rental service is easy to use, particularly if you are accustomed to watching videos on YouTube. While the picture quality is satisfactory, other services that offer high-definition videos—Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix—outperform YouTube and offer most of the same films. They also offer more selections in 4K if your TV has that capability and your internet speed is fast enough.

Also Read: How to Use YouTube

For those that have access to it, the YouTube Movie Rental service may be an alternative to Netflix, Vudu, Amazon Video, etc.