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.
Steven Spielberg tugs at your heartstrings again with War Horse, a drama about a young man who gets separated from his beloved horse during World War I and their struggle to reunite against all odds. The old-fashioned Oscar-nominated tearjerker is available on cable the same day as DVD and Blu-ray.
Matt Damon stars as a recently widowed father of two who buys a new house and the ark's worth of animals that come with it in We Bought a Zoo. The dramedy directed by Cameron Crowe and co-starring Scarlett Johansson comes to cable the same day as DVD and Blu-ray as well as weeks before Netflix's mail service and Redbox.
In the romantic comedy A Little Bit of Heaven, Kate Hudson plays a woman with terminal cancer who accepts her diagnosis with dignity and humor. The movie co-starring Gael García Bernal, Kathy Bates and Whoopi Goldberg doesn't debut in U.S. theaters until May 4, but you can rent it right now on cable On Demand for a premium price.
Morgan Spurlock—the man who supersized himself for Supersize Me—returns with Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope. The new documentary about convention fans was made in collaboration with Stan Lee, Joss Whedon and AintItCool.com founder Harry Knowles and is available for rent on April 6 on cable On Demand—the same day it is released in theaters.
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.
Vudu has all four movies listed above on cable On Demand as well as a free 10-minute preview of A Little Bit of Heaven so you can take a peek before you rent. Both Amazon and iTunes offer War Horse, We Bought a Zoo and A Little Bit of Heaven while Blockbuster only has We Bought a Zoo and A Little Bit of Heaven available for streaming.
Mad Men Season 5 just premiered on AMC a little over a week ago, but you can already buy the first two episodes of the stellar Award-winning drama about a Manhattan advertising agency in the 1960s on Amazon, Vudu and iTunes.
Do you want a piece of Tom Cruise? If so, you'll want to jump on your couch for Vudu's Tom Cruise Collection promotion, which includes the first three Mission: Impossible movies, Days of Thunder, The Firm, Top Gun and Vanilla Sky. All of the movies are now available to download to own at half price.
An unwitting family man (Luke Wilson) crosses paths with a dangerous serial killer (Samuel L. Jackson) in Meeting Evil and ends up going on a joyride from hell. The suspenseful thriller hasn't even opened yet in theaters, but you can rent it right now on Amazon, Vudu and iTunes for $9.99.
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 addition to the Netflix Watch Instantly library this week is the beautifully animated Rango, which features the voice of Johnny Depp as the titular chameleon and recently won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. Also new this week is Ghostbusters, the unrated version of Dumb and Dumber and the FX boxing series Lights Out.
The addition of a 2012 Oscar winner and a fan favorite like Ghostbusters overshadows the films expiring from Netflix this week, including Around a Small Mountain, Apartment 1303, The Adventures of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids and 1973's The Three Musketeers starring Hollywood royalty like Oliver Reed, Richard Chamberlain, Christopher Lee, Charlton Heston and Faye Dunaway.