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.
There might be a Panem-style race to acquire a DVD or Blu-ray copy of The Hunger Games on Saturday, August 18 when the blockbuster adaptation of the book starring Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson about teens being forced to hunt other teens hits store shelves. Sure, you can fight it out in line with other Katniss Everdeen enthusiasts at midnight sales events, but if you just want to check it out as rental, you can do so on cable On Demand.
If you say you like action movies and don't check out the Indonesian import The Raid: Redemption, you're missing out on one of the most over-the-top, outrageous, kick-ass genre entries in decades. The movie about a special ops squad that storms a derelict building in Jakarta housing dangerous criminals arrives on cable On Demand the same day as DVD and Blu-ray.
In the British dramedy Tonight You're Mine, two feuding rock stars get handcuffed together for a day at a music festival where they are both scheduled to perform. The R-rated film starring Luke Treadaway and Natalia Tena comes to cable the same day as DVD.
The award-winning Australian film Red Dog starring Josh Lucas and Rachael Taylor is based on the true story of beloved dog who united a community while roaming the Australian Outback looking for his master. Red Dog won't bark up DVD for weeks, but you can rent it right now on cable On Demand.
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 as being available on cable, The Hunger Games, The Raid: Redemption and Tonight You're Mine are available on Amazon, Vudu and iTunes for rent and/or purchase, while Blockbuster offers only the latter two titles on its digital service.
Sacha Baron Cohen is back as Aladeen—the misogynistic, anti-Western leader of a small African country who is stripped of his power and forced to travel to New York to visit the UN—in The Dictator, which costars Anna Faris and Ben Kingsley. The outrageous comedy doesn't arrive on DVD and Blu-ray until August 21, but you can download the unrated version to own—not rent, yet—on Amazon, Vudu and iTunes, the latter of which also carries the theatrical version.
Battleship was one of the biggest bombs of the year—a bombastic aliens-vs.-Navy action picture starring Taylor Kitsch (star of John Carter and unluckiest actor in Hollywood), Rihanna, Alexander Skarsgard and Liam Neeson that is loosely based on the popular board game. You can't rent this bloated-budget beast until August 28, but you can sink some money and own it right now on all four services.
We're not sure how many Starship Troopers movies there are at this point, but the latest straight-to-video sequel, Starship Troopers: Invasion, is about two starships joining forces to stop a massive space-bug attack. You can buy—not rent—it now on Vudu and iTunes a few weeks before it invades DVD and Blu-ray.
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.
Netflix is on a roll this month. After adding dozens of titles to its Watch Instantly catalog earlier this month, Netflix keeps the momentum going this week by adding a bunch of new movies and TV shows, including J.J. Abrams' sci-fi hit Super 8, The Motorcycle Diaries, Glengarry Glen Ross, Brother to Brother, Enemies of the People, The Woods and Elijah Wood in Wilfred: Season 1.
There is not a whole lot to cry about that is leaving Netflix this week—unless you are an American Dad! fan. Five volumes of the Seth MacFarlane animated comedy are being retired this week from Watch Instantly, along with Night Train, Stargate SG-1: Season One, The Dry Land and Everyman's War.