Google Play / YouTube Canadian online movie rental review

First published on April 28, 2013

Almost 5 years ago, I discovered iTunes online movie rentals and it seemed like a revolutionary new way to rent movies. For a comparable cost to in-store rentals ($4 or $5) you could stream a good quality (standard or high definition) movie without having to go to the store or return the DVD. (As a side note, if you live near a rental kiosk like QUICKflick, you can rent a movie for $2 or $3!) Nowadays, retail movie rental stores are almost extinct, and there are many more online options.

Before I cancelled my cable TV subscription completely, I had Telus TV, which I found was the most convenient way to rent movies directly through the TV without having to worry about lag issues. If you currently have Telus TV, I would recommend checking that out.

As someone who doesn’t have a Wii, Xbox, or other intermediate movie rental device, I’m back to renting movies on the computer and connecting it to my TV. In addition to iTunes, website options now include CinemaNow, Cineplex, and Google Play (which I prefer to incorrectly just call “YouTube Movies”). If you’re not as interested in new releases, you could also consider subscribing to Netflix. CinemaNow, Cineplex, and Google Play all cost about the same amount as iTunes, and sadly the price hasn’t improved over the past 5 years: $4 to $5 for most movies. I haven’t tried CinemaNow yet, but I have tried Cineplex and found the streaming reliability to be mediocre. You might consider trying Cineplex if you want to earn SCENE points.

As for Google Play, renting is incredibly straightforward. An advantage over iTunes is that you don’t have to use any special software — it streams in your browser just like a normal YouTube video.

Step 1 is to pick the movie and select standard or high definition.

Google Play rental step 1

Step 2 is to use Google Wallet to pay with a credit card.

Google Play rental step 2

Once you’ve paid for the rental, you can start streaming it at any time within the next 30 days. Once you’ve “hit play” you have 48 hours to finish watching it. This is the same policy as iTunes, CinemaNow, and Cineplex.

Selection on Google Play is OK. It appears to have the same new releases as the other online movie rental services, but it’s hit and miss regarding older titles. Of course, if you’re looking for something in particular, you can browse the collection of all of the websites before deciding where to rent from!


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