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.
The backstory of sisters Katie and Krisi is explored in the found-footage fright show Paranormal Activity 3, a prequel to the previous two movies that is set in 1988 and helps explain why supernatural shenanigans seem to follow the siblings throughout their lives.
Transformers meets a Lifetime family drama in Real Steel, a futuristic story about a former boxer (Hugh Jackman) who now promotes matches between eight-foot-tall robots and builds an unlikely metal champion with the help of his estranged son.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a young man diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and Seth Rogen plays his best bud in 50/50—an inspiring and sporadically funny drama based on a true story about healing oneself.
Also inspired by actual events is The Whistleblower, which stars Rachel Weisz as Kathryn Bolkavac—a policewoman who risks everything to expose a child sex-slave/human-trafficking scandal involving U.S. military and United Nations personnel in post-war Bosnia.
An abusive father decides to abduct a feral woman and "civilize" her in front of his stunned family in The Woman—a controversial and extremely unsettling drama directed by Lucky McKee that is not for the faint of heart or politically correct.
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 that are available on cable On Demand are also available to rent or own on Vudu, Amazon and iTunes, while Blockbuster currently offers 50/50 and The Whistleblower on its On Demand. Vudu and iTunes also offer users the ability to download and own Paranormal Activity: The Chronology—all three PA films edited together and presented in chronological order for as little as $14.99 on Vudu for the standard-definition version. This digital exclusive is not yet available on DVD or Blu-ray.
You won't find the romantic comedy The Rebound starring Catherine Zeta-Jones on disc until February 7, but you can rent it right now on Vudu and Amazon.
Tennis ace Ally Marsh (Lindsey Shaw) twists her ankle and lands with a hot rookie in 16-Love, a teenage romantic comedy that is still playing in some theaters but can be streamed right now on Vudu and Blockbuster as well as cable On Demand.
The inspirational documentary Man on a Mission: Richard Garriott's Road to the Stars is about the titular son of an astronaut who built his fortune in the computer-game industry to fund his dream of a private space flight. You can still catch Man on a Mission in theaters, but you can also rent it from your couch on iTunes, Amazon and 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.
Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher play a couple that try to have sex without emotions mucking up their fleshy fun times in the rom-com No Strings Attached, now available to torment Demi Moore as she and Kutcher move towards divorce.
The Coen brothers' remake of the John Wayne classic Western True Grit earned 10 Oscar nominations and featured an unforgettable performance by Jeff Bridges as crusty U.S. Marshal "Rooster" Cogburn. The 2010 film is now available on Netflix Watch Instantly, which is sooner than a movie of this caliber is usually available.
Even if you're older than 13 and not into the sugary pop candy featured in Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, this documentary about the pop star's meteoric rise might have you thinking twice about the hard-working teenager that we now know did not impregnate that loony woman. Watch this movie and you'll realize why—he's simply too busy and surrounded by friends and family at all times.
The classic 1974 Mel Brooks parody Young Frankenstein starring Gene Wilder as Frederick Frankenstein, Marty Feldman as Igor, Peter Boyle as the monster and Madeline Kahn as Frankenstein's fiancée is now available for unlimited streaming.
Alan Arkin stars as an Air Force captain who tries to escape the atrocities of World War II by convincing his commanders that he's crazy in the 1970 black comedy Catch-22, co-starring Martin Sheen and Art Garfunkel.