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.
Robert Downey Jr. returns as the world's most kickass sleuth in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and meets his intellectual match in Professor Moriarty (Jared Evans), who wants to start a World War for his own financial benefit. Recruited by Holmes to help are Jude Law as Dr. Watson and Noomi Rapace as a gypsy fortune teller. Director Guy Ritchie's action mystery arrives on On Demand the same day as DVD and Blu-ray.
Nicolas Cage gets even loonier in his second outing as Johnny Blaze in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, in which he has a chance to free himself from the devil's curse by rescuing a young boy. This sort-of sequel/reboot directed by the guys that brought us Crank blazes onto On Demand the same day it comes out on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D.
Tyler Perry plays a corporate boss who has always done what is expected of him until his life is turned upside down by a chance meeting with a struggling single mother (Thandie Newton) who cleans his office building in Good Deeds. This implausible female rescue fantasy comes to cable the same day as disc.
Jason Segel plays a 30-year-old still living in his parents' basement and Ed Helms plays his brother struggling in a failing marriage in Jeff, Who Lives at Home. The indie comedy debuts on On Demand on June 15, which is four days before it is released on disc.
The foreign drama The Woman in the Fifth starring Ethan Hawke and Kristin Scott Thomas opens in theaters on June 15, but you can rent it on On Demand on the same day for a premium price.
Catherine Keener plays a conservative lawyer who takes her two teenagers to meet their estranged hippie grandmother (Jane Fonda) in Peace, Love & Misunderstanding. The indie dramedy doesn't have a set disc release date, but you don't have to wait to see it on cable.
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.
Amazon, Vudu and iTunes currently offer Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Ghost Rider: Sprit of Vengeance, Good Deeds and Jeff, Who Lives at Home for rent and/or purchase. Blockbuster offers the same except for the latter, but the only way to see The Woman in the Fifth and Peace, Love & Misunderstanding currently is on cable VOD.
This year's Best Picture Oscar winner, The Artist, follows a silent movie star as the advent of talkies threatens to silence his career. The acclaimed black-and-white movie won't be available on DVD or Blu-ray until June 26, but you can download it to own—not rent—right now on Amazon, Vudu and iTunes.
If you can't wait for Pixar's latest animated feature, Brave, fire up iTunes and head to the movies store and you'll find several free clips to watch, including one exclusive scene called "Summer Games."
In the political thriller Act of Vengeance, two top Turkish policeman work with the FBI and NYPD to recover a radical leader said to be a direct threat to the United States. The movie starring Gina Gershon, Robert Patrick and Danny Glover 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.
Netflix continues to beef up its summer offering by adding dozens of new titles this week to its Watch Instantly library. The most notable movies include Cary Grant in Charade, Children of a Lesser God, His Girl Friday, Behind the Lines, BloodRayne 2: Deliverance, Cougar Club, Fifty Pills, Telling Lies in America and several full seasons of the '90s TV show Highlander.
The movies expiring from Netflix this week probably won't spoil the party. Going bye-bye for the time being are The Life of Reilly, Playing Columbine, They Came Back, Visioneers, On a Clear Day as well as several seasons of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares.