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.
Slinky vampire warrior Selene (Kate Beckinsale) awakens after being cryogenically frozen into a world where her kind and lycans are being hunted to extinction by humans in Underworld: Awakening. Selene has a reinvigorated ferocity in this fourth Underworld film—the third starring Beckinsale—in which she discovers that she gave birth to a hybrid daughter during her induced slumber who is now in danger of becoming a lab rat. Underworld: Awakening is available on cable On Demand the same day as DVD and Blu-ray, but to see it in three dimensions as it was presented in theaters, you'll need to pick up the Blu-ray 3D.
Channing Tatum plays a man desperately trying to help his wife (Rachel McAdams) remember their romance after she is in an accident and forgets who he is in The Vow. This rather chaste love story for the date-movie crowd is based on a true story and available to stream on cable the same day as DVD and Blu-ray.
You can see Twilight vampire Robert Pattinson play an amoral journalist with a pulse in Bel Ami who seduces a series of wealthy mistresses, including Christina Ricci, Uma Thurman and Kristin Scott Thomas. Based on the 1885 French novel of the same name, Bel Ami isn't scheduled for a limited run in theaters until June 8, but you can rent it right now on 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.
As reported a couple of weeks ago on the VOD Report, all four services offer Underworld: Awakening for purchase and now offer the sequel for rent as well. Amazon, Vudu and iTunes all have The Vow available for rent or purchase and also let you peek at Bel Ami before it hits theaters for the premium price of $9.99 for the standard-definition version.
Liam Neeson guides a group of oil-rig roughnecks through the bleak Alaskan wilderness after their plane crashes and the survivors are hunted by a pack of hungry wolves in The Grey. The thriller doesn't arrive on DVD and Blu-ray until May 15, but you can download it to own—not rent—right now on all four services.
Kathleen Turner returns with her first leading role on-screen since Serial Mom in The Perfect Family, in which she plays a mother up for the Catholic Woman of the Year award who must face scrutiny for her lesbian daughter (Emily Deschanel), cheating married son (Jason Ritter) and recovering alcoholic husband (Michael McGrady). The family drama just opened in theaters, but you can also rent it right now 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.
Recent additions to Netflix's Watch Instantly library include Ridley Scott's Hannibal starring Anthony Hopkins and Julianne Moore, Tom Cruise in Top Gun, the Bill Murray comedy Groundhog Day, Guy Ritchie's Snatch, the 1992 thriller Sneakers starring Robert Redford and Dan Aykroyd, Robin Williams in the family flick Jumanji, the teen drama Cruel Intentions, the original The Karate Kid and Adam Sandler's Big Daddy.
Once a title appears on Netflix's Watch Instantly library, it doesn't stay there forever. Some movies and TV shows expiring this week include the BBC series Sherlock, The Third Man starring Orson Welles, My Man Godfrey starring Carole Lombard and William Powell, The Trial starring Welles with Anthony Perkins, and 1960's Little Shop of Horrors with Jack Nicholson.