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How to rent movies from Google's Android Market

We give you the details, screenshots, and tips on how to start renting movies from Google's Android Market for playing on your PC, Xoom, and soon your Android smartphone.

Google Android Market movie rentals
Google's Android Market now lets you rent movies for as low as $1.99. Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Google announced today that its Android Market will now begin renting movies in the U.S. Although flicks start as low as $1.99, Google said, most of the "thousands" of titles listed rent for about $3.99 each. The news and onstage demo came from Google I/O in San Francisco this morning.

For now, you can watch these movies online and on Motorola Xoom tablets that run the latest Android 3.1 Honeycomb update. Soon, you'll also be able to watch movie rentals on your Android 2.2 Froyo and Android 2.3 Gingerbread phones. Google will roll out that capability in a few weeks. We couldn't resist trying out our first rental right away.

Step 1
Click the Movies tab running along the top of the navigation bar in the Android Market to see a list of the films you can rent.You'll be able to view information about the film, including the plot, cast, user ratings, and price. There's an element of social networking involved too, since you can Tweet your selection. Movie rentals are good for 30 days.

Details on renting Google Movies
Your movie rental is good for 30 days. Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Step 2
When you rent your movie, Google will confirm your purchase through Google Checkout, so you'll need to be signed in to your Google account and will have to link your payment type, like a credit card, to Google's Checkout service.

Google Movie rental checkout
You'll be able to watch movies online, on your Xoom tablet, and soon on your Android phone. Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Step 3
Google's Android Market will prompt you if you need to update or add information, and you're able to review your purchase again before you commit.

Google Movie checkout confirmation
Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Step 4
After paying, just press the Play button near the movie title in the Android Market to start watching online. Xoom users will be able to open the movie in an all-new app that will be available with the Android 3.1 Honeycomb update mentioned above. A similar app will land on smartphones in the coming weeks.

Play your movie
Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

I successfully rented and began playing "Inside Job" in the Firefox browser. This film is powered by online movie streaming service Crackle.

Google Movie playing Inside Job in the browser
Here's 'Inside Job' playing in the Firefox browser. Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET