Sky Store movie rentals open to all, also on YouView

The Sky Store online movie rental service is now open to non-subscribers, with new films such as Alpha Papa on offer for £3.49 a pop.

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Nick Hide
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Sky's opened the doors of its Sky Store online movie rental service to non-subscribers, with new-release streaming movies such as Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa on offer for the industry-standard £3.49 a pop.

You can shop at the Store through your Web browser, as long as you're in the UK or Ireland, or via the ludicrously cheap £10 Now TV box or your YouView box. Some smart TVs have an app available too, depending on the manufacturer.

However you watch, you'll have to sign up for a Sky ID from its website if you haven't got one already. Existing Sky subscribers can access the Sky Store from their Sky+HD box too.

Amazing must-see blockbusters such as, er, Man of Steel, um, The Lone Ranger and, oh dear, Hangover 3 are all £3.49. Bona fide classics like The Godfather, Forrest Gump and Top Gun -- all available on Netflix, I should point out -- are all £1.99, but some films are as little as 99p.

All pretty regular, as is the 48 hours you have to watch once you've started streaming and 30 days to start streaming after rental.

What's the resolution?

One thing that's missing is the option to pay extra for an HD stream. Sky doesn't state what resolution or frame rate its movies run at, but its Now TV box suffers from poor-quality streams.

"On the Sky+HD box you can download a selection of the Sky Store catalogue in HD," a company spokesperson told me. "On the Web, Now TV and Roku boxes we use adaptive bit rate technology to ensure the customer receives the best quality streaming experience their broadband speed can accommodate. Adaptive bit rate is not currently offered on the YouView platform, therefore we optimise streaming for the constant bit rate YouView standard."

The Sky Store is based on technology developed by Acetrax, the Swiss company bought by Sky earlier this year. Murdoch's mob closed Acetrax in June, annoying some loyal users.

The satellite broadcaster has rapidly increased its online presence, with its Now TV service offering subscriptions such as the £10 day pass to Sky Sports, and £9 for a month of Sky Movies.

Have you used any of Sky's online services? Do you think they're reasonably priced? What's the picture quality like? Unleash your inner critic in the comments, or over on our low-res Facebook page.

Update 2.30pm: Added comment from Sky on resolution and bit rate.