Film fans in the UK can now access a range of them via the YouTube video-sharing site.The Google-owned video-sharing website YouTube has started offering movie rentals in the UK, following successful launches in the US and Canada.

For the first time, UK film fans will be able to download films via YouTube, rather than depending on a solid web connection over which to stream video content stored on the site. The service is initially offering a choice of 1000 film titles. As well as the latest Hollywood blockbuster titles, a range of classic British titles is on offer. For example, a 48-hour pass for Monty Python’s The Meaning Of Life or Guy Ritchie’s gangster film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels each cost £2.49. A range of Bollywood films and other non-English language titles is also on offer to UK YouTube users. 

Popular films from the past few decades, such as 80s classics Fame, The Breakfast Club and Weird Science are available for rental. The YouTube video-sharing site also lists a range of free titles. These, however, must be viewed via the web portal rather than downloaded for offline viewing. These titles can be browsed separately, with a lozenge indicating that the viewer can Watch Now. 

Unlike some commercial video rental and download sites, YouTube Movies come with detailed information including the film’s synopsis, actors and characters, age rating, genre, how well it was received by reviewers who provided their thoughts on the Rotten Tomatoes and video playback quality. YouTube describes the 480-pixel rating as 'DVD-equvalent'. A trailer for many of the titles is also included. 

At the bottom of each film's listing is an indication of the devices on which the film will play. Android devices and Google TV boxes are suggested for titles that are available for rentable download. While this does not necessarily preclude viewing them on other devices, we were unable to get the rental title to play on an Apple iPad. Free titles that play via the YouTube Movies portal will play on any web-connected device.