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.
Ridley Scott's thought-provoking prequel to Alien, Prometheus, has been available to download to own for several weeks on other VOD services, but now the sci-fi spectacle starring Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron and Michael Fassbender can be rented on cable On Demand (2D version only) the same day it arrives on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD.
Like Prometheus—and probably the only thing it has in common with that movie—the '80s-set musical Rock of Ages starring Tom Cruise has been available for purchase on other VOD services for weeks, but now the rental can be streamed on cable On Demand the same day it arrives on disc.
If you haven't yet cried "nevermore" about filmmakers putting real-life historical figures (think Abraham Lincoln; see below) into ludicrous situations, you might get onboard for the mystery thriller The Raven about a killer who is copying the details of Edgar Allan Poe's (John Cusack) macabre stories. The gothic tale follows the last days of Poe's life as he tries to help a detective crack the case and is available on cable On Demand the same day it scares itself up on DVD and Blu-ray.
If you're on Team Mitt, you'll want to check out the documentary 2016: Obama's America, which criticizes the policies of the current president of the United States. The movie, which opened to bigger box office than anyone expected, comes to cable On Demand on October 12—four days before disc.
The French war adventure Special Forces starring Diane Kruger and Djimon Honsou arrives on cable on October 12, the same day it premieres in theaters. Other movies debuting this week on cable On Demand before they even arrive in theaters are the crime thriller Hotel Noir with Rufus Sewell and Carla Gugino set in 1950s Los Angeles, and the comedy Price Check with Parker Posey and Eric Mabius.
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 movies listed above for cable On Demand, Prometheus, Rock of Ages and The Raven are available for rent or purchase on Amazon, Vudu and iTunes. Blockbuster currently only offers the former two titles.
The horror action picture Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter imagines that the 16th president of the United States led a double life as a fang basher when he wasn't busy, you know, emancipating the slaves. The visceral, not-so-historically-accurate film won't come to disc until October 23, but you can download it to own—not rent—right now on Vudu and iTunes.
If vampires or rewriting history are not your things, maybe you'd prefer to see Channing Tatum and his posse of ripped hunks as male strippers in the romantic dramedy Magic Mike. The man-meat movie doesn't take it all off for Blu-ray and DVD until October 23, but you can download it to own right now on Vudu and iTunes.
We're not sure why you'd want to see Adam Sandler as an obnoxious father trying to reconnect with the son (Adam Samberg) he never knew he had in That's My Boy, but the R-rated comedy is available a week before disc to purchase—not rent—on all four VOD 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.
The most notable titles added to Netflix's Watch Instantly streaming service this week include the self-explanatory Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview, the thriller Beyond the Black Rainbow about a telepathic teen who escapes the test facility in which she has spent her whole life, the cash-machine horror flick ATM, and season three of Glee.
It's somewhat odd that Netflix is choosing to retire the documentary The Party's Over, which had Philip Seymour Hoffman covering both the Democratic and Republican conventions in 2000, just before we all vote for the next president in a few weeks. Also going bye-bye this week are the '80s comedy Earth Girls Are Easy and the drama Tape starring Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman and Robert Sean Leonard.