rent movies online

Where to rent movies online: iTunes vs Amazon vs Vudu vs Netflix

There is no shortage of places to rent movies online.  They all offer similar selections of online movie rentals and purchases for about the same prices, but there are some important differences.  There are also a lot of ways to watch free movies online, so you may want to check before spending money to rent movies online.

Rent Movies Online

The various stores to rent movies online are competitive on price, quality, and selection.  They typically offer SD rentals for $4-5 and HD rentals for $5-6, and all offer huge libraries of new releases and classic movies, plus TV shows.  There are some differences worth noting though.

Where to rent movies online:  iTunes vs Amazon vs Vudu vs Netflix

  • Criteria explained:
    • device selection:  How many different portable devices, set top boxes, etc can you use the service with.
    • downloads:  Can you download movies to watch later without an internet connection?
    • discounts:  Are there frequent discounts or sales to find cheaper movies?
    • quality:  All of the services offer HD rentals, but how do they compare, and which offer surround sound?

The best place to rent movies online comes down to your preferred devices and specific use cases.  On several popular device, the native movie store tends to have the most functionality (iTunes Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android, Amazon for Kindle Fire, etc).  For example, the iPhone/iPad apps for Google Play Movies and Amazon Instant Video support video playback, but not purchases (although you can still purchase titles through a mobile web browser), and iTunes doesn’t support other mobile platforms at all.

If you’re a frequent traveler, or someone who needs to watch movies without an internet connection, you’re probably best off using whichever store supports downloads on your device of choice.

If you want the best possible video and sound quality for your home theatre you’re probably best off using VUDUicon on your Playstation/Xbox/Roku or other 1080p/7.1 supported device.  VUDU also functions as an Ultraviolet locker.

If you’re a bargain hunter, then you’ll need to check out VUDU, Amazon Instant Video, and iTunes frequently for deals.  If you sign up for a new VUDU account you can get 5 free HD movie purchases.  Remember, you can always purchase a discounted rental and then you have 30 days to begin watching it.

These are just the most popular and widely available places to rent movies online.  There are other viable options, such as YouTubeM-Go, CinemaNow, and Target Ticket.

When it comes to watching movies online, Netflix can’t be ignored.  Netflix doesn’t support rentals or purchases of individual titles, but does have a huge library of movies and TV shows for $8/mo.  Netflix is available on a ton of different devices, and new content is always being added.  They also are producing some very high quality original content.  If you plan to watch a lot of streaming content, can live without the newest releases, and don’t need to download movies to your PC or tablet, then Netflix may be the best choice for you.

Leave a Reply