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.
Colin Farrell sinks his fangs into the role of a dangerous vampire terrorizing a suburban Las Vegas neighborhood in the bloody fun remake of Fright Night. The R-rated comedy-horror starring Anton Yelchin, Toni Collette and Christopher Mintz-Plasse is also available to stream or own in 3D, but because so much of the movie takes place at night—like the title says—and details get lost in the dark, go with the 2D version.
David Fincher nails his riveting remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which features a breakout performance by Rooney Mara as punk hacker Lisbeth Salander and Daniel Craig as journalist Mikael Blomkvist. Fincher's American-language version opens in theaters on December 21, but you can stream or own the extended versions the Dragon Tattoo Trilogy today. Each movie in the trilogy—The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest—is split into two hour-and-a-half parts that are each available to download or rent.
In the Chinese drama A Beautiful Life, which is now available on cable the same day as disc, a young woman content with her career and affair moves to Beijing and falls in love with a local policeman.
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.
Of all the new releases listed above for cable On Demand, Fright Night (2D only) and the extended versions Dragon Tattoo Trilogy are available to stream on all the services except Blockbuster, while A Beautiful Life is only available on iTunes.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a reboot of the long-running Planet of the Apes franchise and features an Oscar-worthy performance by Andy Serkis as Caesar, a super-intelligent ape who leads his captive simian brothers to revolution and freedom from a supposed sanctuary. Fans will go ape for the most realistic effects in the entire series thanks to advances in motion-capture performances like that of Serkis. All four services have Rise of the Planet of the Apes available for download to own. If you want to rent it today, however, you'll have to seek out a brick-and-mortar Blockbuster or other rental shop that has the DVD or Blu-ray.
Po the Panda returns to team with the Furious Five and safeguard China's Valley of Peace in the animated sequel Kung Fu Panda 2, which is available to download to own on Vudu, Amazon and iTunes.
A 12-year-old girl tries to hold her family together against prejudice, disease and ignorance after she learns of a rumor that quickly spreads throughout her small South African village in Life Above All. The foreign drama is available to rent or own on all four services.
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.
Four tongue-in-cheek horror stories each from a different director comprise the anthology Chillerama, which only recently became available on disc and is already part of Netflix's streaming library.
A reformed bad boy returns to his former church and tries to atone for his sins by helping the congregation raise money in Church: The Movie, starring Darius McCrary and Joseph Phillips. If that sounds a little too Sunday school for you, check out all six episodes of Apparitions about a Catholic priest who uncovers a Satanic plot to end the world.
Did you know that they still make Power Rangers episodes? If so, your children might be all over the Christmas special Power Rangers Samurai: Christmas Together, Friends Forever in which the teens reflects on their first year together and get an unexpected lesson about holiday spirit.
Crack open a brew and drink in the Discovery Channel special How Beer Saved the World in which scientists and historians line up to explain how beer helped create math, poetry, pyramids, labor laws and modern medicine. And you thought it just gave you gas and tasted good with wings…