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.
Sam Worthington plays an ex-cop who escapes from prison and plans to steal a $40 million diamond while proving his innocence in Man on a Ledge. This action thriller—available on On Demand the same day as DVD and Blu-ray—co-stars Elizabeth Banks as the disgraced negotiator who tries to talk Worthington in from his perch high atop New York's Roosevelt Hotel and Ed Harris as the corrupt businessman that framed him.
Wide-eyed Amanda Seyfried plays a young woman who takes it upon herself to hunt down a serial killer that she believes has kidnapped her younger sister in Gone. This PG-13 thriller is ready to stream on cable the same day as DVD and Blu-ray.
Coriolanus—the directorial debut of Ralph Fiennes—is an adaptation of Shakespeare's classic tragedy about honor and betrayal. Fiennes stars as the titular Roman general who is feared and revered, Gerard Butler plays his sworn enemy with whom Coriolanus joins forces, and Vanessa Redgrave plays Coriolanus's manipulative mother. This heavy-handed action movie for the drama crowd is available on On Demand the same day as disc.
Memorial Day has passed, but the spirit continues in Memorial Day the movie. Two generations and two war stories are tied together as 13-year-old Kyle convinces his grandfather (James Cromwell) to share his stories of being in soldier in World War II only for Kyle to grow up and find the same sort of experiences on the battlefield in Iraq. This unrated war drama co-starring John Cromwell and Jonathan Bennett is currently streaming 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.
The only service that currently offers for rent or purchase all of the movies listed above on cable On Demand is iTunes. Both Vudu and Blockbuster have Man on a Ledge and Gone, while Amazon has Coriolanus and Memorial Day.
Nicolas Cage doesn't ride again in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance on DVD and Blu-ray until June 12, but you can buy the movie right now for $14.99 on iTunes and Amazon. Vudu also offers the HD version for $22.99 as well as an exclusive bundle with a 20-minute behind-the-scenes featurette for the same price. What's more, Vudu has a free 10-minute preview of the sequel so you can check out if the movie will burn you like the first one before you buy.
A deadly conflict arises between a coven of witches and the vampires of Bon Temps, Louisiana that heats up True Blood: Season Four as Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) is torn between two vampire lovers: Bill (Stephen Moyer) and Eric (Alexander Skarsgard). The fifth season premieres on HBO June 10, but you can catch up with last year's episodes individually on Amazon and iTunes or download them all at once for $35.99 SD/$47.99 HD on Vudu. Since the Blu-ray set filled with extras and digital copies can be found on Amazon for only $34.99, it only makes sense to use these services to catch an episode you missed if you aren't going to buy the whole season.
Did you miss Sunday's "The Other Woman" episode of Mad Men on AMC? There's no need to sign up for cable to see what '60s ad man Donald Draper (Jon Hamm) is up to or wait for the discs to come out in several months. You can download "The Other Woman" and all the other episodes that have aired in season five for as little as $1.99 a pop on Amazon, Vudu and iTunes.
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.
It has been a slow few weeks as far as notable new titles are concerned on Netflix Watch Instantly, but the service is stepping it up this week as summer approaches. Debuting this week to stream as much as you like are Lost in Translation, The Mighty, The Cable Guy, Cutthroat Island, First Knight, Forever Young, An Ideal Husband, The Golden Child, Joe Kidd, Grumpier Old Men, Lethal Weapon, Leviathan, Michael Collins, Misery, 54, Rounders, Natural Born Killers, The Faculty, Shakespeare in Love, She's All That, Music of the Heart, Wild Wild West, Teaching Mrs. Tingle, The Patriot, The Cider House Rules, Best in Show, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Chain Reaction, a bunch of Friday the 13th flicks and much, much more.
Although June must be the month in which Netflix really beefs up its Watch Instantly options, that doesn't mean titles aren't being retired at the same time. Going bye-bye for the foreseeable future are Iron Monkey, The Fury, The Panic in Needle Park, Hello, Dolly!, Dazed and Confused, They Live, Edward Scissorhands, Backdraft, Bad News Bears (2005), The Fly (1986), Revenge of the Nerds, Internal Affairs and Johnny Dangerously.