YouTube Movies and TV Review: More than Just Sneezing Pandas

by Reads (1,869)

YouTube was one of the pioneering services for streaming videos. When most people think of YouTube content they think of short videos featuring sneezing pandas or dramatic chipmunks, however the service has dedicated channels for movies and television shows available for users to purchase. This feature was publicized when the controversial movie “The Interview” was made available for people to stream via YouTube. While YouTube movies and TV shows are not available via a formal subscription model like most streaming services, a wide variety are available for instant viewing.

YouTube Movies and TV show Offerings

YouTube player

YouTube player

One of the major perks of being owned by Google is that YouTube inherits content from deals the company makes with movie studios and television networks. While YouTube’s processional offerings are not nearly as robust as those found on Google Play Movies and TV (to say nothing of user-created videos and illegal uploads), the service provides a decent variety of content.

YouTube’s movie channel trumps Netflix in certain ways, as it houses up-to-date films like “Horrible Bosses 2” and the recent remake of “Annie.” Newly released movies are priced similarly to their iTunes counterparts, with both services charging $4.99 for an HD rental of the “Horrible Bosses” sequel. Users can also find this content on Google’s Movies and TV service if they aren’t a fan of the YouTube interface. Other movie selections on YouTube range from recent films to older classics.

YouTube doesn’t have the most impressive library of television shows compared to other services like Netflix and iTunes. The service does however offer episodes of shows currently airing, which is an appealing feature to those without cable looking to watch their favorite shows a few weeks after they’ve aired. For example, users can buy recent episodes of “Modern Family” for $2.99. Most episodes take a few weeks to arrive in YouTube’s television channel, which puts the service at a slight disadvantage to iTunes, which usually features episodes within days of them airing.


YouTube on mobile

YouTube on mobile

YouTube is available on most devices and compatible with Android and iOS, yet like with Google Movies and TV, iOS users don’t stand to benefit much. While iPhone and iPad users can access purchased movies or shows via the YouTube app, they can’t buy content through the app. Instead, they must buy videos on their computer or request the desktop version on their iOS device’s browser. The same goes for the YouTube app on Apple TV. This again is the result of Google not wanting to pay a cut of its in-app purchases to Apple.

Users can access YouTube’s movie and television channels on their computers and stream media to their televisions using dongles like Roku or Chromecast. As with most streaming services, users can also purchase and view content through major gaming consoles, including Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Ease of Use

Depending on the device used to access YouTube’s movie and television channels, the ease of use varies greatly. Android users will find the user interface and seamless process a breeze, while iOS users will struggle a bit more. This is in part due to the lack of in-app purchasing, as well as a missing shortcut icon for the movies or television channels on the app.

YouTube rentals

YouTube rentals

The best way to browse YouTube’s movie and television offerings is on a computer. Users can scroll down the website to view pre-determined categories of content or they can sort by videos, playlists and channels. If you already have a movie or show in mind, the easiest solution is searching manually by name. The website is easy to navigate and the interface is simple and clean.

What Else?

YouTube doesn’t offer any groundbreaking features or content that separates its movie and television streaming services from the competition. Given Google’s ownership of the service, users are likely better off going with Google Play Movies and TV rather than YouTube. Yet for those that prefer YouTube’s interface, it does provide some quality content.

Versus the Competition

YouTube has more in common with Vimeo than you might think. Read our comparison to learn all about it.



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