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.
Disney's monster Martian gamble John Carter couldn't recoup its massive cost in theaters, but the sci-fi adventure based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom novels should find a new audience at home if for nothing more than its imaginative special effects. The movie, starring Taylor Kitsch as the titular clothing-challenged hero, is available to stream in 2D or 3D the same day as disc.
Ryan Reynolds plays the "housekeeper" of a government safe house who must protect the prisoner played by Denzel Washington from attack in the hit action flick Safe House, which is available on cable On Demand the same day as DVD and Blu-ray.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson takes his stepson (Josh Hutcherson) to the South Pacific to find the teen's grandfather (Michael Caine) and an upside-down world filled with strange creatures that Jules Verne wrote about in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. This sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth is available in 2D or 3D, the latter of which is best to enjoy the Rock bouncing fruit off his dancing pecs at the camera.
Act of Valor is an action film directed by Mike McCoy starring some real Navy SEALs that comes to cable On Demand the same day as disc.
The mean fish are back in the sequel Piranha 3DD and are attacking swimmers at a water park in which David Hasselhoff is working as a celebrity lifeguard. This outrageous, R-rated horror-comedy with plenty of boobs and blood just opened in theaters, but you can stream it right now in 2D or 3D on cable On Demand.
Danny Trejo was the wrong Mexican to mess with in Machete, so fans of that movie might want to check him out in Bad Ass, for which the tagline reads "They messed with the wrong senior citizen." This action film based on true events is available on cable 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.
Amazon, Vudu and iTunes also have all of the movies listed above on cable On Demand available to rent and/or download on their services except in 2D only, where applicable. Blockbuster currently offers Safe House, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and Bad Ass. You can also check out the first 10 minutes of Act of Valor for free on Vudu before you buy.
Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski bring together a diverse group of people to save a family of whales trapped by sea ice in Big Miracle. This family adventure based on a true story isn't beaching itself on disc until June 19, but you can download it to own—not rent—right now on all four services.
Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd play a stressed-out Manhattan couple that stumble upon the bizarre, idyllic community of Elysium populated by colorful characters with far-out ideas in Wanderlust. The comedy isn't available on disc until June 19, but you can download it to own—not rent—on all four services. In addition, Vudu also offers the Bizarro Cut—an alternate version of the film with different jokes in every scene—available as part of the purchase deal.
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.
There are some great titles beefing up Netflix's Watch Instantly catalog this week. If you're still on a superhero high from The Avengers, you'll get pumped knowing that Thor is landing June 9 to stream all you want. Other notable new titles this week include Johnny Depp in The Rum Diary, the Adult Swim comedy Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie, Mel Gibson in The Patriot, Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now Redux, the Christopher Guest comedy classic Best in Show, and Leonardo DiCaprio in What's Eating Gilbert Grape.
What Netflix giveth, it also taketh away. Expiring this week from its Watch Instantly catalog are Precious, Pi, Remote Control War, The Sicilian Girl, How to Cook Your Life, George Gently and Mademoiselle Chambon.