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.
This year's Best Picture Oscar winner, The Artist, finally comes to On Demand the same day as DVD and Blu-ray after being held for an unusually long time. The acclaimed comedy is set in 1927 when talkies threaten the career of silent film star George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), who is sparking up a romance with an extra dancer (Bérénice Bejo) about to get her big break in the biz.
21 Jump Street stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as two police academy buds that go undercover as high school students to bust a drug operation. This surprisingly hilarious bromance comedy based on the '80s TV show of the same name starring Johnny Depp comes to cable the same day as disc.
Whether or not you find Mirror Mirror the fairest Snow White interpretation of them all depends on how susceptible you are to Julia Roberts hamming it up as the insecure queen who schemes to marry a handsome prince (Armie Hammer) that only has eyes for Snow White (Lily Collins). The family-friendly flick can be streamed the same day as DVD and Blu-ray.
Sam Worthington returns as Perseus in the sequel Wrath of the Titans, in which the heroic demigod most rescue his father, Zeus (Liam Neeson), from the underworld before Ares (Edgar Ramirez) and Hades (Ralph Fiennes) drain Zeus's power to release the powerful Kronos and a legion of Titans. This fiery and chaotic sequel is more engaging than its predecessor, Clash of the Titans, and is available to stream in 2D or 3D on cable On Demand the same day it arrives on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D.
The acclaimed Belgian drama Bullhead is about a young cattle farmer approached by a shady veterinarian to make a deal with a beef trader, but the murder of federal officer and a secret from the farmer's past set off a chain of events with extensive consequences. The film, which was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, comes to On Demand the same day as DVD and Blu-ray.
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 six of the movies listed above as available on cable On Demand are also available to rent and/or download on Amazon, Vudu and iTunes. In addition, Vudu has a free 10-minute preview of Mirror Mirror that you can check out before you buy. It should also be noted that only the 2D version of Wrath of the Titans is available on Amazon, Vudu and iTunes. If you want an added dimension, you'll have to stream it on cable or own it on Blu-ray 3D.
If you haven't yet checked out Lisa Kudrow's hilarious series Web Therapy in which she plays an attention-seeking therapist who conducts brief five-minute sessions with patients via webcam, Vudu offers the first episode free of charge for everyone. The new season premieres on Showtime on July 2.
Paz Vega stars as a high-end hooker on the run from the government with evidence to a scandalous cover-up of a shocking crime in Cat Run. The sexy, R-rated comedy caper 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.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the third installment of Michael Bay's morphing-robots-from-space series starring Shia LaBeouf, can be streamed as many times as you want starting on June 30—just don’t expect Megan Fox to appear no matter how often you try. Other notable titles debuting this week on Netflix Watch Instantly include the Tommy Lee Jones detective drama In the Electric Mist, the Seann William Scott hockey-themed comedy Goon, the Korean monster movie Sector 7, the romantic comedy The Decoy Bride, and the controversial 1978 cult slasher flick I Spit on Your Grave.
The biggest titles going bye-bye by the end of June include Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island starring Leonardo DiCaprio, 1978's Convoy starring Kris Kristofferson, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead starring Ethan Hawke and Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Hustler starring Paul Newman, The Edge starring Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin, Serpico starring Al Pacino, and 1992's Bad Lieutenant with Harvey Keitel.