Google is reportedly in talks with major Hollywood studios to launch a pay-per-view movie service on its video-sharing site YouTube. According to a report in the Financial Times, YouTube would charge $5 for a 48-hour "rental" of a feature film. But the video-on-demand space is already populated by some big names, and tech commentators immediately began weighing YouTube's rumored offering against the existing services:
What it is: Users can download movies and television shows for as little as $1.99. A video is available for up to 30 days after downloading, but is automatically deleted 24 hours after viewing begins.
What commenters think: The $5 cost for rentals on YouTube would be "significantly" more expensive than the using iTunes, says Samuel Axon in Mashable. Plus, Apple may "release a new version of the Apple TV platform" this week, which could offer television shows for as little as 99 cents. That makes the YouTube price "hard to believe."
What it is: Pulling content from 100 providers, including ABC, Fox, NBC, and The Walt Disney Company, Hulu Plus allows users to stream unlimited content to their computer, web-connected TVs or iPhones for $10 per month.
What commenters think: Hulu Plus still has too many "glitches" to dominate competition, says Melissa J. Perenson in The Washington Post. Until the service "can dramatically grow its content library [and] improve integration among different viewing devices... [it] won't live up to its game-changing potential."
Amazon Video on Demand
What it is: Available through a computer or the use of digital video players like the Roku box, Amazon Video on Demand offers TV show rentals for $1.99, and movie rentals for $3 or $4. Users can also purchase some movies for $10 to $15.
What commenters think: Amazon's video-on-demand service is currently the "best" available, says Harry McCracken in PC World. It "would be nice" if they offered more high-definition content. But overall, the "service is still a slick, well-rounded winner."
Netflix "Watch Now"
What it is: For about $9 per month, Netflix users can stream an unlimited number of movies and television shows on their computer, or on compatible devices like the Wii, Xbox, or the iPhone.
What commenters think: Watch Now started with a "laughable movie selection," says Dan Frommer in Business Insider. But Netflix has "since made big improvements." I'd go with this over any other currently available service.