YouTube quietly rolls out video rental service

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After dabbling with the idea earlier this year, it seems YouTube is finally entering the online video rental market with a decent selection of movies and TV shows priced between 99 cents and $3.99. For now the Google-owned service features mostly independent and foreign films, but there are also a few Oscar contenders like Precious and The Cove and other mainstream options including 3:10 to Yuma and Saw III.

It appears Lion's Gate is a major player in YouTube's streaming service. Google doesn't seem to have deals in place with most major studios -- Paramount, Fox, Sony Pictures, Universal Studios, Warner Bros, MGM -- but it's been long rumored to be courting a few these hoping they'll jump aboard. Their current partner list includes the likes of Image Entertainment, Sony-owned, Bollywood, and Screen Media -- among others.

Rental periods are from 24 to 72 hours and payments are processed through Google Checkout. The YouTube store (US-only) should go up against other online rental venues like Apple's iTunes and Amazon's Video On Demand.

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