Cable On Demand
Cable offers VOD programming (same-day-as-disc releases, older titles and pre-theatrical exclusives) for rent, usually for 24- or 48-hour periods at prices from about $2.99 for older titles to $9.99 for new or exclusive releases. Since cable offers a direct connection from your cable provider, its VOD offerings are usually less prone to outside interference and can be streamed with surround sound and 3D when available.
George Clooney plays a man entrusted with acres of pristine Hawaiian land who must reconnect with his two young daughters and come to terms with his wife's infidelity after she falls into a coma in The Descendants, the drama by writer-director Alexander Payne that just won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. The acclaimed film featuring an uncharacteristically restrained performance by Clooney is now available on On Demand the same day as DVD and Blu-ray.
Michelle Williams was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in My Week With Marilyn, which is based on aspiring filmmaker Colin Clark's experience with the screen legend during the production of Laurence Olivier's film The Prince and the Showgirl in London.
The animated sequel Happy Feet Two features the voices of Robin Williams and Elijah Wood and is about a choreography-phobic young penguin who runs away and encounters the Mighty Sven—a penguin that can fly.
Sam Rosen plays a soldier who returns home on leave and tries to reconnect with his high school sweetheart in Stuck Between Stations, a romantic drama also starring Josh Hartnett that is available for streaming the same day as DVD.
Selma Blair plays an agoraphobic heiress who has spent two decades inside her posh penthouse pad until a neighbor is murdered and an investigating detective forces her to confront her fears in the thriller Columbus Circle.
Charlize Theron plays a delusional, unsympathetic author of young adult fiction who returns home and tries to reconnect with her now happily married high school sweetheart (Patrick Wilson) in the dark comedy Young Adult, directed by Jason Reitman and written by Diablo Cody.
These four services stream movies to your TV via computer, Blu-ray player, game console or other compatible connected device. Like cable VOD, they offer new titles for rent from about $3.99 to $6.99, but, unlike cable, they also offer the option of downloading the movie to own from about $14.99 to $19.99. Usually movies presented in HD cost a bit more than streaming a SD version.
All of the movies listed above on cable On Demand are also available to rent and/or own on Amazon, Vudu and iTunes. Blockbuster offers all of them except My Week With Marilyn and Young Adult, which the service only has available for rent on disc through the mail or in stores.
The titular ginger-haired boy reporter and his dog, Snowy, embark on adventure to find sunken treasure in Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin, a computer-animated adaptation of the classic comic strip. The animated feature is available to own—not rent—on Amazon, Vudu and iTunes.
A teen who has everything going for him—money, friends, the hottest girl in school—gets caught up in a depressing online abyss after an innocent kiss with a mate forces him to confront his emotions in the acclaimed Polish drama Suicide Room, which is now available on Amazon, Vudu and iTunes.
You can now see Michelle Williams in her Oscar-nominated role as Marilyn Monroe in My Week With Marilyn, but you can also see Robert Downey Jr. in his Oscar-nominated role as Charlie Chaplin in Chaplin, which can be streamed for only 99 cents on Vudu.
Netflix's all-you-can-stream buffet costs $7.99 per month and gives instant access to thousands of movies and television shows via a computer, Blu-ray player, game console or other compatible device. Don't depend on Netflix streaming for same-day-as-disc releases, however. Instead, Netflix offers catalog titles, vintage movies, indie flicks and TV episodes with unlimited access for one monthly price.
If you didn't get enough of Colin Hanks as a serial killer in the most recent season of Dexter, check him out as a married serial killer who wins the lottery in the quirky comedy Lucky, now available for streaming. Also new is Daniel Day-Lewis and Emily Watson in 1997's The Boxer and Nick Nolte in 1998's Affliction.
What Netflix giveth it also taketh away, though, despite what you might have assumed. Expiring from Netflix Watch Instantly by this Thursday are Escape From New York, Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, Swamp Thing, Murder By Decree, Intimacy, Zapped!, Buena Vista Social Club, Carnal Knowledge, The Baby's Room, Frayed, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Down From the Mountain, Summer's Moon and The Apartment.